I don’t know if I want to be a mother. Most girls really want to, but I’m not so sure. I am pretty ambitious, and sometimes (though I would never admit it to a mother) raising a child doesn’t seem challenging enough for me. I mean, if it is difficult, then why can everyone do it?
These thoughts came to the forefront of my brain when we arrived at the Coalition for the Homeless in Orlando.We toured thebuilding and then led a jewelry making class for the mothers and kids of the shelter. Somehow, two other friends and I were summoned to the on-site daycare center.
If you want an insight into my personality, I am pretty patient with caring for children, although sometimes I get mildly annoyed when they beg to play board games I know they won’t understand and then I will have to clean up. Whenever I am with children, I am always so impressed by they are just little sponges who soak up everything. When I was very little, I remember sitting with my dad as he watched a scary movie because he thought I was too young to remember or understand any of it. I mean, who remembers much below the age of three?
While we worked, I tried to gain insight into these children’s lives outside of the Coalition’s daycare. For me, I have to try to understand why a child’s personality was formed that to be able to be patient and pardon them for the selfish, childish things that they do. Two of the girls were the same age–three–but had completely different personalities. The one that required more of my patience was unskilled at conveying what she wanted. The other girl could talk to us and answer our questions, but the first girl would not even show stimulation when I, or anyone, tried to talk to her. She spoke a little, but it was mostly indiscernible as she spoke to the toys she would play with.
While we were pretending to feed her baby doll, she suddenly started getting really flustered and angry and ripping off the baby’s clothes while screaming, “No pee clothes! No pee clothes!” She then proceeded with the play kitchen spatula to spank the baby as hard as she could while still screaming. I tried telling her that we do not treat babies that way, and eventually she calmed down.
I remember this part of caring for the children most vividly because it made me stop and think. Children really are sponges, and when they are so young everything they do or even say they are just repeating from something they saw or experienced. I realized that this little girl had most likely experienced many things that she did not deserve, and that shook me.
A majority of people love helping and playing with kids more than adults. Maybe it is because they are cute, and they don’t judge conversation so harshly. For me though, I always underestimate the importance of helping a person when they are a child. Sometimes, it is almost as they don’t count as people in my mind because they don’t have mature conversations. I tend to think, like my dad would when we watched television, that they won’t remember much that happens when they are little, so it won’t affect who they become. After helping out with the children at the coalition, I realize that is completely wrong. Sure, I don’t remember being three, but when I was four I did. And similarly, when I was five, I sure remember what happened to me when I was four, and that affected my own personality. And now, raising a child doesn’t seem so easy anymore.