When my girls were little, I didn’t work outside the home, but I did bowl quite a bit. At that time, the bowling alleys had a nursery for the children of the bowlers. It certainly made it easier to bowl if they didn’t have to find a babysitter or watch their children when they are trying to bowl. Needless to say, since I bowled quite a bit, my girls got used to those nurseries…eventually. There were a few rough moments in the early years, however. My younger daughter, Amy started going to the nursery when she was two years old, and since she was pretty little and walking, the other children thought she was a walking baby doll. They wanted to carry her around, and Amy…well, she didn’t like that one bit!! When I heard her screaming at the top of her lungs, I assumed that she had gotten hurt, so I went running to the nursery. When I got there and saw Amy calmly playing with the toys, I asked the nursery attendant what had happened, because I knew it was Amy that screamed. The attendant said, “Oh she’s ok…one of the other children just tried to pick her up!” That’s just not a good idea with a child who wants to be thought of as being as big as any other kid, and some of those kids who tried to pick her up were younger and yet bigger than she was, so she simply didn’t appreciate that at all. To my knowledge, that never happened again, but then would you try that twice if the cute little walking baby doll practically bit your head off? I think not!!
My oldest daughter, Corrie never had the problem that Amy did, because she wasn’t as short as Amy, and she started going to the nurseries at three instead of two. By this time, having been a mother a while, I had ways to rewarding the girls for good behavior. I’m sure some people would not agree with my methods, but I could take the girls to the store without them asking for everything in sight, simply by telling them that if they didn’t ask for anything while we shopped, they could have a candy bar when we were done. The same method was used in the nursery…if you stay until I’m done, you get a candy bar. One day as I was getting my things together, and my girls were the last ones in the nursery, the attendant brought them out to me. They were always excited when bowling was over, knowing that their candy bar was coming. This particular time, Corrie was very excited about her candy bar, and when she got to my bowling area, she immediately said, “Mommy, can I have $6.00 for a candy bar?” Well, I lost it!! I said, “Boy, that had better be one huge candy bar for $6.00.” Laughing the entire time!! Of course, the girls got their candy bars, and the good news is…I didn’t have to spend $6.00 for them.
I was talking to my niece, Chelsea after church the other day, and she mentioned that on the previous Sunday, when her daughter, Aurora simply would not settle down, she took her back to the nursery to play. That went ok, and the next week, they asked Chelsea to bring her back again. When she did, Aurora was so excited that she practically jumped out of her mother’s arms to get into the room. Chelsea said she just about cried.
I was reminded of Amy, when she went to pre-school. She was so ready…just like Aurora. Being the second child, Aurora has watched her brother get to go and play with the neighbor kids, and other assorted cousins, while she is stuck in her mother’s arms, a highchair, stroller, or other such item of…confinement. Like most children with older siblings, this matter frustrates Aurora, and there seems to be no solution…just a life of total unfairness, in which she wonders if she will ever be big!!
So, when she finally found a place where she could go and play with the other kids, and nobody says she can’t, she was delighted. Maybe there was hope for a good life after all!! Aurora was taking no chances. Chelsea brought her back to the nursery, and she knew that Mommy was going to leave and let her stay…just like the big kids get to do. Aurora was the most excited little girl in the world.
So, as soon as she got there, she was off…hoping that her Mommy wouldn’t make her leave just yet. Chelsea, on the other hand, got to stand there feeling just a little bit lonely. Her baby was growing up so quickly. I’m quite sure she was feeling just like I did that day so long ago now…like her baby was going to be all grown up and off on her own, before she hardly had time to blink, and she didn’t like that feeling one little bit.
Children grow up so fast, and once they are grown, we look back on those past years, and wish we could go back somehow, or stop time all together. Unfortunately, time simply will not be stopped. It passes without concern for our feelings. Today is our Independent Aurora’s first birthday. Happy birthday precious baby girl!! We love you so much!! Don’t grow up too quickly, ok!!
When you are small, and you don’t have much prospect of getting very big, you have 2 choices. You can take the teasing and even bullying that kids can dish out, or you can learn to take care of yourself. As an adult who is only 4’11” tall, you can imagine how little Amy was as a little girl. But don’t let her small size fool you, because if necessary, you will find that there is a tiger living inside that small frame. Of course, like all tiger cubs, Amy’s prowess developed slowly. She first began by making sure that her big sister, Corrie knew who was the tougher of the two. Now Corrie was bigger, and 11 months older, but that didn’t matter. When Corrie was about 3, she came out of the bedroom the girls shared, crying. I asked what was wrong. She said through her tears, “Amy hit me!!” Now, coming from a family of five girls who fought plenty, I couldn’t see much sense in coming between them in their fight, so I told Corrie to “Hit her back!!” That brought immediate shrieks of terror as Corrie yelled, “NOOOOOOOO!!!” Now, I don’t know if Corrie was afraid she would hurt her little sister, or just plain afraid of her little sister, but she never would hit her back. It was probably just as well that Corrie didn’t hit Amy, because through the years, they have always been good friends. They never did fight very much. I guess that it is pretty hard to fight alone, so when your sister won’t hit you back, the fight is…well, over!
Now the same thing did not apply to other children who got on Amy’s bad side. When Amy was just about 2 years old, and about the same time as Corrie’s little mishap with her, the girls began going into the nursery at the bowling alley, while I bowled on a league. One day as I was bowling, I heard this blood curdling scream coming from the nursery. It was a scream that I quickly recognized as my youngest daughter. I ran up to the nursery to see what was going on in there. I asked the nursery attendant what had happened…concern showing on my face, I’m quite sure. She quickly reassured me that everything was just fine…now. Then she explained that one of the other children in the nursery had decided that Amy was like a little toy doll or something, and tried to pick her up. Well, after that scream, that child…and all the others knew that you could play with that toy doll, but do not pick her up…ever!!!
The years have flown by, and that little tiger cub is all grown up…though still not tall. There is one thing that I can say about Amy, and that is…she can take care of herself. She’s not a fighter or a bully. In fact, she really never was…even when she needed to defend herself. She is simply a force to be reckoned with. So, during her teen years, while I won’t lie and say I never worried, I did know that she was pretty capable of taking care of herself, and it really was the other guy who might want to watch out. Amy is a gentle spirit that is quiet and kind. She looks for friends, not enemies. She looks for the best in people, and that is a trait that maybe more of us should have…me included.