So I told myself I was going to blog more, be more consistent. HA. See, I'm doing that thing where I think too much again. It's so fun. :p And I told some people about my blog. And stalkers have come out of hiding. So now I am so very aware that people, like real, live, breathing, honest-to-God people, are actually reading the things I come up with. If my life was a cartoon, this is the point where I'd start sweating profusely. Enjoy that image! All that to say, it's taking me longer to write things because I'm doing that darn thinking thing. Must. stop.
Anywhozzle, you know what makes blogs great? Children. Mommy blogs are all the rage because they are essentially stories and pictures of cute kids and hilarious happenings. The closest thing I have to that is stories - oh, the stories - of things that happen when I babysit. Sometimes pastors' children are involved (those are the best tales). Like last night. There is this little boy at church, I think about 3 or 4, going on 13. I called him "little" to his face once and he proceeded to scream, "I'm not LITTLE!" at me for five minutes straight. His idea of a good time is fake shooting people, stomping, throwing things and generally being manly. He likes to do everything himself. He prefers to be in charge. He's all about playing in the dirt. He also has the most tender heart.
He and his two friends were playing some bad robot game. They were robots and they were bad. I'm not really sure what role I adopted in this fantasy world of theirs, but it involved me having superpowers (which I am totally on board with) and guarding my "castle," (aka the storytime circle in the nursery) which was magical and rendered all other superpowers (from unwanted visitors) useless. It was a pretty awesome deal, really.
So anyway, these boys are blasting their imaginary lasers, whipping out their made-up swords, shooting their finger-guns and otherwise using every ounce of their pretend arsenal to take me down. I'm fake fighting back (which really consisted of me talking back and taunting them with the fact that their powers were useless in my castle, ha ha HA!) but they were relentless so I decide to let them win this round. I shrank back and pretended to "die," and collapsed, limp in my chair. After a few seconds, I can feel them poking me to see if I'm really dead. I let the charade go on for just a little bit more when I feel a small arm reach across my shoulder. I open one eye to peek at what's unfolding and Little Man is gently cradling me, his cheek resting on top of my head, with a very concerned expression on his face.
And we all say, "Ahhhwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!" now. Then I leapt up, proclaimed myself the Tickle Monster and they all went running for their lives.
It was a fun evening.
There were a couple of times where the kids (who were all about 3 or 4 and up. I think the oldest was probably 5 or 6) were trying to tell me something but I couldn't understand them. I had told Little Man a long time ago that he needed to look at me when he talks. He forgets. Then there's another boy who I often have to tell him - like every time I see him - that he has to look up and at me when he has something to say. He forgets.
I haven't done a great job trying to teach these younger ones about hearing loss. What I've done in the past has been pretty simple. Get down on their level, look them in the eye. Often, I'll lift my hair and let them see my hearing aids. I use age appropriate language to help them understand that my ears don't work like theirs do, so I need them to look at me when they talk. But they're kids... they forget or they just don't really know what I'm talking about. Which is understandable. They're not used to the idea that someone can't hear. And they only see me once a week, maaaaybe twice a week at most. So even though I have a lot of fun babysitting, sometimes watching younger children (old enough to talk, but just barely out of toddler-hood) can be an interesting experience when I can't understand them. Most of the time, I eventually figure out what they want and believe me, kids find a way to make themselves understood! But I would like to be more consistent with educating them, too. I think it's good for them to learn about hearing loss and disability (in age-appropriate ways, of course) - the sooner they're exposed to things like that, the more comfortable they'll be around people who just need a little extra help sometimes.
I should probably also be involving the parents more. Not just educating them, but asking them to help me educate their children. Things parents teach go a lot farther than anything I can say. I remember a few years ago, my cousin and her family visited for Christmas. Her son was probably 6 or 7 at the time. I could tell that she had taken the time to explain to him ahead of time how to communicate with me, because when I saw them, he was very comfortable facing me and speaking clearly. He was also so proud to show me some sign language he had learned! ;) We bonded. It was great. And I was really thankful that I didn't have to start from scratch teaching him about communicating with me - we were free to have fun and be silly because all the learnin' was out of the way. ;)
So all that to say... boys are so fun.