This summer, I’m working at a day care with the school age kids. That doesn’t preclude me from coming into contact with the littler kids, it just limits the amount of time I have with them. I don’t force myself on the kids or coach them at all. I let them know I’m there and step in if needed, but otherwise it’s up to them. I work child care the same way I worked retail. You need me, I’ll be right over there.
Sadly, some of these kids have lives that should already be Movie of the Week on the Lifetime Network. One of them is Sarah. I won’t go into her specific issues, but she has a few. She’s the most gorgeous little girl. About 2, blond, gray eyes, she looks like a little doll. No, she really looks like a little doll. For the first 2 weeks I knew her, I never saw an expression on her face unless she was crying. I nicknamed her Sarah Smile as more of a plea than anything else. Not that she didn’t glom onto me immediately. The broken birds are always attracted to me first. I can tell how screwed up a kid’s background is by how fast they become attached to me. Sarah had me with in the first hour. Staring at me solemnly all the while.
When I arrived at the day care, the kids were still eating breakfast. Sarah didn’t pay any attention to my presence. We usually accumulate kids in one room for a while, until enough arrive to split them into age groups. I had dashed up to my room for something and was standing at the bottom of the stairs as the 18 mo-3 year group was headed to their room. Sarah, following dutifully in the middle of the group, noticed me standing there, broke out of the group in a beeline for me, grabbed both my hands and beamed up at me.
She smiled! On her own! Without any encouragement for anyone!