DUN DUN DUUUUUUUUUUUUH!!!
maybe that tune doesn't play in your head when you hear that day, unfortunately it does for me.
Every Tuesday I make myself an humble servant before the Lord, offering myself to be used as a disposable person for a handful of children less that one whole hand old (this equates to under the age of 5). The possibilities are endless as to the different variations of children I may be left to entertain, it's like whataburger, where there is 23423452390578 million different ways to have your burger made, only this time with children... figuratively speaking.
Yesterday was not really different from any other, I had my normal babes, the ones who I'm used to and have trained, or at least tried to train. And then I had one surprise child! So, 2 two-year-old boys, and Zoey.
For one, I have nothing to humor these children with. They get their kicks out of pulling electrical wires out of the wall, opening up filing cabinets and pulling things out of them, opening up 'magical' closet doors and trying to take apart the jumbled mess of what's inside, going into the 'man den' (as I like to call it) and throwing all equiptment and machinery (computer and photography related) like they are small tiny pebbles.
Not to mention the physical pain inflicted on me. My skin being clawed off by untrimmed 9 month old fingers. CD's being jammed into my head. Being pushed literally. And emotionally being pushed off of a figurative cliff, which actually was for the first time was literally represented by the route via stairwell to the downstairs.
There were also large tripods thrown small distances. And digital cameras flung past the kiddy gate located at the top of the stairs all the way down. ALL THE WAY.
This is one of those things that seems easier to handle than it really is. Sit the children down, entertain them with a video of choice, hand them their own snacks, and be done.
Oh contrare. First of all, sitting still to watch a video ain't happenin'. There are way too many distractions in this craft room converted guest bedroom converted kiddy play area, with lots of odds and ends being currently stored there. So there is now way on God's green earth that these little precious angels will deny the desire to open up every openable thing and pull things out, throw them, etc etc etc. Therefore that rules out having them watch a show. I could try to take out as much of the interfering paraphanelia as possible, however, I'd have to shut the door to the room at that point, and this is when their hidden clausterphobia comes out. Apparently its physically impossible for them to be in an enclosed room without being suddenly magnetized to the door chanting "MOOOOOOMMMMY" and trying with their fat little baby hands to open the door by pulling the knob instead of twisting it. That is, until they grow weary of this and simply begin to pound on the door with their fists. This may take place either with me also being contained in the room, or located outside the room while changing Zoey's diaper.
Then again, I could try the opposite. I could shut the door to that room and leave them to play in the Playstation 3 converted media room converted death trap of small stair case, converted 'man den'. But hopefully you can use your conductive reasoning skills to figure out that this scenario also fails with the location of so many technological equiptment, small stairs, and the kiddy gate.
The kiddy gate evokes a similar reaction for small children as a shut door. They suddenly become magnetized to it. They insert their small feet inbetween the spindles of the gate and hoist themselves to stand on top of the first bar, hanging onto the gate for dear life, as well as boosting their heads above the top of the gate as to be able to see directly down the staircase. awesome. just awesome. At this point they spot their moms, and thus begins the familiar "MOOMMMMY" chant.
I can try to distract them with food or juice. But then, only one child brings a snack and the other wants what he has. This wealthy snack-haver insists that sharing isn't the happy way and instead throws a fit. I can try to force sharing, but frankly, I wouldn't want to share my pretzels with the other brat I'm locked up with who is making my life miserable by getting us moved from room to room either.
Point in case, all of these scenarios happened yesterday. And it was enough to... well I can't think of a good explanation.... IT WAS JUST ENOUGH.
So, I put Zoey downstairs, hoping that the intrigue of her exersaucer and the women gathered talking would be enough to appease her and encourage her to silently play, without the possible dangers of having her head slammed open with a flying tripod, or her small body replacing the digital camera as the random artifact to be thrown down the stairs. Of course, Zoey did not want to comply with this idea. Either she couldn't handle being down there, or the women were giving her attention which lead to her wondering why they wanted to wave at her and talk to her, but not get her out of her exersaucer so she could preform tricks involving knocking over full cups of coffee and stealing people's writing utensils from them.
Ashley later asked me if it was that I just couldn't handle all three of them, and so that's why I chose to place Zoey downstairs. Here's the real answer, hopefully it isn't too blunt. Frankly, I care about Zoey's safety and wellbeing, so I made the decision to try to take her out of harms way. And being as how even when only two kids were up there when Zoey was down and objects were STILL continually being thrown even under my supervision, I'd say I made the right choice. There's also the dilemma that I can't really scream 'no' at the children because their mother's would hear and automatically assume I was being too harsh, even though the gash on my head from where the CD was catapulted may be gushing blood.
DISCLAIMER: if you happen to be one of the fantastic women who attend this Bible Study, please do not feel alarmed nor have pity on me. Just keep worshipping our Lord, and maybe insert me permanently on the prayer list. I want to serve you in this way and provide a time for you to come together, I'd just like to do it with all body part intact, this may or may not include sanity. Deal?
Anyone have any suggestions? Any legal suggestions?
The last time I ever ran a fever was when I was 12 years old. I was at a summer camp with my church, and I woke up that morning, knowing I was sick. Now, most normal twelve year olds would just suck it up and go have fun and play at the beach right? Apparently, not me. I was bedridden the entire day. I don’t even know how we knew I had a fever, but it was a blazing one. I don’t think we had a thermometer until later, but whatever.
As I slept the day away, I was hardly aware of everything going on. The six other girls sharing our room came in and out, changing clothes, throwing their bags down, showering, etc. And I just laid there in my own private infirmary.
Counselors took turns watching me. I remember awaking one time to one just sitting there with her feet up reading a magazine. I tried to force out a smile at her, to thank her, but it probably looked more like, ‘I’m about to pass out and throw up’.
Finally, someone suggested taking me to the clinic there. Genius idea right? Well our leader decided that was not necessary. Me being you know, twelve, didn’t argue. I just laid there doing nothing. But inside I was begging for a doctor. I was miserable, 8 hours from my Mom, and had no one to take real care of me. Basically they all told me to just suck it up after that first day.
We went to the cafeteria the next morning, and I could hardly walk, I kept blacking out, and I was unaware of everything. I couldn’t really hear people talking because my ears were just full of sickness.
I tried to tell the person in charge of our cabin that I really didn’t think I could participate in the activities, and she told me I had to.
You know why I remember this so vividly? Its not because the pain was so bad. Or because I was so scared. Or upset that I was missing out on so much. It was because no one ever listened to me.
They wouldn’t take me to the doctor. They wouldn’t let me rest. They were forcing me to do things, when I felt miserable. And there was no way for me to convey to them what was happening.
That night we had a worship service and the whole time I was sitting there I was pretty much certain it was my last day of life. At the invitation, I even went up and prayed with someone there about me being sick. I’m not typically the type to take up to the altar unless something is heavy on my heart, but I went up there to pray about me feeling sick. It’s sort of like praying for your cat. It seems silly to everyone else but makes perfect sense to you.
Anyway, I finally arrived home a few days later. I promise you I have never been happier than THAT day.
Being ignored and forgotten was the scariest time of my life.
And sometimes, I still feel like that. And it scares the bejeebies out of me.