Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I Hope These Kids Give My Heart Back

At some point I’ve probably talked about my second job, the one where I work in a nursery two-to-three days a week.  I should point out that this is the kind of nursery where there are small humans, not small-to-medium sized plants.  I have no skills with plants, no matter how much I’d like to have a backyard of begonias and salvia, my two favoritest flowering plants in the whole entire universe.  This is the kind of place where some pleasant and notso pleasant Christian families come to drop off their kids while they participate in a small group discussion about Keeping The Faith, George Michael style or Keeping The Faith, God style.  They don’t really talk about anything related to George Michael, though. 

Sometimes I think that, as a parent, if someone offered me free childcare for four hours at a time, even if those four hours involved listening to the musical stylings of a really bad musical director or possibly even absorbing the grating drone of a pompous Billy Graham-esque church leader, I’D TAKE THAT TICKET AND FUCKING SMILE.  Thankfully the musical director isn’t that bad and the church leaders have yet to display any signs of Grahamness so the parents are probably okay with getting their weekly doses of Jesus, all while their smiling, drooling children play in the yellow basement nursery, a place so far away from the actual church-y area that the chances of a parent having to hear “But Mommy, why?” one more damn time are quite slim.

Because I am not a teacher and have firmly put my foot down about caring/instructing for small humans over the age of three, my only real job in that yellow basement is to keep the babies and toddlers relatively happy.  Be that changing diapers, wiping snotty noses and/or drooly chins, placing bottles in mouths, sippie cups in hand or bouncing two 7 month old baby girls on my knee in a desperate attempt to get them to stop. fucking. crying. that is my job and truth be told I don’t remember what my life was like before I spent 16-20 hours a week caring for these kids.

In two months I’ll have been working there a year and my god people, the changes these kids can go through in a year are utterly astounding.  I’ve watched one girl, undeniably my favorite, morph from the precious toddler so stricken by the fact that Mommy had abandoned her to the Evil Nursery Workers she would whimper and cry for hours on end, clutching my neck for fear that I might have to put her down, into the chest-constricting angel she is now.  Please note that I honed my mad baby skills by changing rancid liquid poop diapers and feeding 5-month old babies all while this kid had The World’s Strongest Death Grip around my neck.  She will turn two in July and already, already! she can count to ten and sing her ABC’s and holy cow, the shapes and colors!  She knows them all! When she says triangle she puts the emphasis on the last syllable and tilts her delicate china doll face a little back as if the force of that last syllable was too much to say with her chin in the normal position.  And in the cutest mispronunciation of a color I have ever heard she says “eeyorange,” a mix of the name “Eeyore” from Winnie the Pooh and “orange.”  And when she says our names, ‘our’ being the girls who share the yellow nursery dungeon-esque space with me, she makes every single one of us melt.  Every time she says my name she pitches her body a little bit forward and nods her head in one quick yet obscenely cute bob as if to affirm that she has, in fact, said the right name and that we should probably give her a cookie and maybe a juice box because she’s a wee bit parched.

The clincher came Sunday night, a time when I usually walk away so tired and worn out from 8 hours of corralling and diaper changing and time-out placing that the only thing I can think about is getting home to wash my face and plop in front of the couch for Grey’s Anatomy.  One family was late picking up their wee ones so I was one of the last cars left in the parking lot.  As I was walking out to my car one of the little boys, Micah, jumped out of his dad’s arms and ran towards me with the kind of innocent and guileless and infectious grin that only children can have.  He stopped about a foot away so I crouched down onto the hard black asphalt and smiled back. He ambled the last few steps over and placed his tiny chubby hand on the side of my face, uttering the three words that officially broke my heart in two:

“Bye Bye, Ribbit.”          


PJ said...

That is SO STINKIN CUTE! 2 of my friend's kids (different friends, different kids) call me Ham. I think it's hysterical.

As per your last post, whenever i email someone with the name Chris I ALWAYS type Christ. I can't write my friend Deena and ask how her husband is, I don't know why but I can't type his name. It's always, How's Christ? Since you work in a Christian nursery, you might find that slightly amusing.

Or not.

Texas Roxy said...

I totally just cried at work. OH my god. I've never given myself to children and I cna't figure out how. Everything I say to them I wonder if it will stick with them for life, influence their future decisions...make them a bum or a corporate monkey.
I just think too much.


the belligerent intellectual said...

$20 says this post causes at least two women readers to poke a hole in the condom the next time they have sex with their boyfriend. AT LEAST two.

rob said...

Christ...that shit made my uterus ache.

Carl from L.A. said...

I have two kids - yes that's them in the picture. They are cute, adorable, but they also took up all the time and energy my wife and I have. Raising them take a lot of work, time and money.

I love them to death.

What I can't stand are people who have kids but don't raise them. They don't spend time with them. They abuse them. They ignore them. Maybe the kids cramp their lifestyles. But for me, there is no other alternative than putting in 110% for them. Even if it means commuting 180 miles a day to work just so that they can live in a big house wearing new clothes.

I melt when my son (and my daughter soon) calls me Daddy.

Coyote Mike said...

Kids may be cute, but I still don't want any for myself.

And I agree with the belligerant thingie that many girls will be condom tampering because of this.

janestarr said...

That is by far the cutest post I've read all day, except for that whole stop.fucking.crying part, but kids can certainly be delicious. My nephew is 6 and utterly a reckless, noisy boy, but he is also so adorable as he holds on to his father's neck and curls up in his lap. Awww, I just want to pinch him! I am going to be that crazy aunt that always gives him those unpleasant tugs at his adorable little cheeks, yep that's me.

Drunken Chud said...

“Bye Bye, Ribbit.”

gold i tells ya. gold!

Jenni said...

So wonderfully sweet that I am now in sugar shock. But lovin it.