I am literally in love. With 14 of the cutest little moppets in the world...my grandson Dylan's preschool classmates. I wrote earlier that even tho Dylan and Cooper stayed home sick with mom and dad I still needed to fulfill my volunteering obligation within his classroom. When they found out Dylan was sick and I came anyway they could hardly believe it but I was raised to be a person of my word. If I say I'm going to be somewhere or do something, I'm there, I'm doing it.
It was a morning of endless entertainment. Of wiggly, giggly nonsense. It is so refreshing spending time with 14 little people whose innocence and unskewered way of observing life around them reminds me as an adult of how deeply enmeshed we become with the cares of daily survival as we age. Dear Hubby and I went out to dinner yesterday and as I told him my thoughts he said he believes Adam and Eve were probably the same way before Eve ate the apple, filled with that childlike wonder as they wandered thru the Garden and talked with God. It was that first bite that ruined it for them. Can any of us look back and remember that moment of the loss of innocence in our own lives? When we began to realize the world can be a pretty harsh place at times?
I've taken two of the more timid ones under my wing, Ruby and James. Ruby is Dylan's friend. He must see in her what I see, someone who needs a guardian angel. She's tiny and soft-spoken and fades in to the background. Dylan is so tall...47" at age 4...that he towers over the rest of the children. But he's a gentle giant, and he senses the vulnerability in others and reacts to it. James is a sweet-tempered little guy who is afraid to assert himself, hanging back instead of taking his turn when it should rightfully be his. Costa, Leo, James and I were playing with a set of tubes that make all kinds of tracks and obstacles for marbles to pass down when they're put together. James and I were the ones constructing it when Costa and Leo noticed what we were doing and came over and asked if they could play, too. I told them certainly they could, but to let James finish building the course...I told them he was a master builder and he was doing an amazing job! When the tower was finished, each boy grabbed some marbles and began sending them down the shutes. When the marbles came to the bottom cup, Leo and Costa reached in and grabbed them all, yelling, "My turn! My turn!" And James sat back on his haunches and watched without saying a word. As Leo and Costa stood up to send the marbles on their way again I said, "Hold on a sec, guys!" They both paused and looked at me. I said, "Let's count and see how many marbles you have in your hands." They both opened up their fists and I counted Leo's: 5. Then I counted Costa's: 4. I said, "Let's have James open his hand and count his marbles!" So they leaned over James. He opened his hand: empty. "Ok, now. James doesn't have any. How about you each give him one or two so he can play, too?" A moment of thoughtful deliberation, the little cogs turning in each head as they gazed at their marbles. Leo reacted first, then Costa, each giving him some of their marbles. And the smile James gave me as I told him, "Ok, James, since you built the tower it's only fair you go first this time" was payment enough for being there.
Later, James and Ava and I were playing in the kitchen area. There were little pots and pans, plastic dishes, and baskets full of plastic food items...meats and fruits, vegetables and bread. Desserts. We decided we were going to make chicken vegetable soup and barbecue so I'd hold up each food item and ask, "Does this go in soup?" or "Is this for the salad?" "Would we eat this at a barbecue?" Pretty soon we had a crowd around us again and everyone was figuring out what went where. Then we pretend-ate everything. Costa was there, too, and he handed me a cup and told me, "Here's your beer!" Uh-oh...not too appropriate, so I said, "How about root beer, Costa?" He shook his head and told me, "Whenever we have a barbecue we have lots of beer. I get to drink this much!" and he held up his fingers and measured a fraction of an inch with his thumb and forefinger. My parents used to do the same thing when I was little...they'd have a beer whenever they played cribbage and would let my brothers and me have a sip, so what could I say? I didn't make a big issue about it, just distracted him with a plastic ice cream cone. But hopefully he doesn't say that to anyone else...the world is a much different place than it was 50-odd years ago. Some other parent there might report his parents. Costa doesn't know what's right or wrong. He can't help it if his parents don't have much sense.
I enjoy watching Dylan when I'm volunteering there but it was also nice interacting without him, getting to really focus on all the other kids. I will never ever understand how adults don't find little children fascinating. I don't count it as drudge time. Usually it ends up being a learning time for me.