Ministering Angels

"They neither marry nor are given in marriage; but are appointed angels in heaven, which angels are ministering servants, to minister for those what are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory."

Friday, July 15, 2005

My week pretending to be "Mom"

By Melinda

Ew, just a second. The baby just spewed.

Okay, baby wiped up, toy rinsed off, spit-up sponged off my shorts, and carpet vigorously scrubbed with a burp cloth. I'm typing this with my 6-month-old niece on my lap, and my 3-year-old nephew asleep on the couch behind me. Baby has a fascination with whapping the keyboard with the toys I'm using to try and distract. Given her preference, she'd probably suck on the keyboard. My 7-year-old niece disappeared on her bike about an hour ago, last seen with a neighbor kid. I'm assuming she's fine, but I ought to go track her down in a minute, just to check.

I've been watching the munchkins every day this week while Mom and Dad work. Typically, dad is home with the kids and mom works full-time. This week, dad is out of town on a job, and mom can't get time off. I've tended them a lot, so this hasn't been entirely new. However, the constancy of it is new. Do you have any idea how much patience it takes to take care of kids all day every day? It's a whole different thing than just watching them for the evening - where you act as a jungle gym until you can put them to bed and then read until the folks get home. Nope, this has required a routine, discipline, and an attitude adjustment. The attitude adjustment is realizing that these kids are the reason I'm here; they're not just a distraction keeping me from reading my book or the Internet. Therefore, I can't think of them as an intrusion. Important paradigm shift.

I have discovered that 3-yr-olds actually go slower when encouraged to hurry up. It is best to give them instructions, then wait for them to process it and do it at their own speed. I think I understand more what God was thinking when he said that he "watched those things which [he] had ordered until they obeyed." Abraham 4:18. God did not tell them to hurry up. And really, does it matter if it takes 45 minutes to eat half a bowl of dry cereal and drink an inch of milk? I mean, that just means starting the get-dressed-stress that much earlier, so why rush things?

Hearing a scream of pain from the little boy who just took a headfirst dive down the cement steps into the garage is a good sound - because it means he didn't knock himself unconscious. Fortunately, popsicles can cure even a bump on the head. He prefers grape.

I have discovered that babies are amazingly cute in the morning, even if you would rather be sleeping. Nope, you just can't resent a happy giggly baby who falls over onto your face because you tried to sit her up next to you in bed with some toys while you caught a few extra winks. She has a round bottom, and not much experience with balance, so she tips over fairly often. She can also projectile vomit strained carrots clear over the edge of her high chair. It's too bad she's a Mormon; she could probably do amazing things with chewing tobacco, given the chance.

And even if the 7-year-old wakes up the baby from her nap after you told her repeatedly to be quiet, it's impossible to stay mad at her after she apologizes that she just made this "the worst day ever." Really, it wasn't that bad.

I think the most startling realization of the week was that taking care of kids isn't boring. Babysitting is boring because you're just biding time until the parents come home. But actually contributing to raising a child (enforcing the rules, supervising summer homework, quizzing the toddler on whether the ball is blue or red, planning lunch) isn't boring at all - it can be frustrating, rewarding, and just downright cute, but it just isn't boring.



at 7/16/2005 1:04 AM Blogger Dirk said...

Awsome post. While rolling with laughter I began to fondly recall the time when I was living with my brother and his family. He and his wife went on vacation and left me with the kids for two weeks. Yes me A 30 year old bachelor at the time, was left to care for four very active kids the oldest was 9, the youngest was five or six months old. My sister-in-laws family was amazed that I would even agree to it. But I'd been living with them for three months by then and was being seen as a second dad by the kids.

Add to that the opportunities I had "enjoyed" growing up taking care of my youngest brother and sister who are 9 years younger than I.

I wasn't overwhelmed, It was alot of work, and I greatly appreciated the kid's aunt who would come over occasionally and fix my nieces hair into hair styles that whould stay fairly well for a couple days. That was my one weakness, I had a hard time pulling her hair into a couple halfway decent pony tails.

Anyway, your post brought back rather fond memories of that time, and the fact that as crazy as those kids could be, it didn't faze me, and by the time I moved out, that youngest nephew would often choose me over his father (who often had to travel on business). Sadly shortly after I moved out I was deployed to Bosnia and when I came back he didn't recognize me anymore.

Oh and my sis-in-laws family still look in awe at me, A bachelor who could handle those four kids alone for two weeks.

at 7/16/2005 12:19 PM Blogger Andrea said...

Thanks for the insight, Melinda (and entertainment!). I just spent the night over at an old college friend's house to help out while her husband was out of town. It wasn't even 24 hours, but wow! It left me wondering if I could endure talking with a two year old all day, every day. I was just along for support, though, and I can see that the management position could be more interesting...

at 7/16/2005 6:26 PM Blogger Sarita said...

I myself am sitting here tending to my 3 year old niece. I've had her all day and her 6 year old sister for some time. It's funny. It can be stressful and tiring sometimes, but great as well. Sometimes i wonder how my sister does it, and then the precious moments come that makeit very evident why the diapers, curdeled sippies of milk hiding under furniture, and endless destruction is worth it.

at 7/18/2005 3:06 AM Anonymous Barb said...

Melinda, I am impressed with people who can care for children. I can entertain them but want others around to supervise. Sometimes, I have fantacies about being a mom. Then I have a reality check, and remember that carrying a granola in my pocket to work for lunch is about as much baggage as I can seriously stand. A sack or purse makes me far too nervous. I think such things are prerequistes when taking children places. I remember when my cousin and her husband came to his parent's new apartment for Easter. In addition to the normal necessities, they brought a high chair. That just amazed me. I have to admitt that I am amazed seeing people just taking children to the car at grocery stores. They seem so hard to keep track of. Well, it is a good thing most people do not see the world as I do or there would be negative population growth.


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