For any of you that may not know, I recently got a job at an awesome daycare in Austin. I work in the second nursery with the six to twelve month olds, and it’s seriously the most amazing thing I’ve ever done. The other day, a dad said “I know it’s kind of rude to ask, but how old are you?” I answered that I was 22. He stared at me for a minute and asked “How do you do it? This job with kids that have endless needs all day long?” My simple answer was that I love kids, and I’ve always been a nurturer. But honestly, there’s so much more to ‘how I do it’.
I do it because these children are so innocent. They don’t know that pulling hair isn’t nice or pinching the back of my arms while I bounce them to sleep leaves bruises that I find the next morning. They’re just there to crawl around and be adorable. Oh, and eat a lot of food. That’s what they do best.
I do it because it’s amazing to watch them grow. Just today, one of our babies stood unassisted for the first time. I was so incredibly proud, and he’s not even my child. He knew he did something awesome too, because I’ve never seen him smile so big.
I do it because when I see children that have grown up and moved from the nursery into the toddler room, they still get excited and reach out for a hug when they see their ‘old’ teachers. I do it because I get to watch them grow, even when they outgrow the nursery. The bond and relationship doesn’t end when a child moves up to the next room, and that’s something I love.
I do it because we get to watch their personalities blossom. Babies go from being quite and relaxed to being very outspoken with the biggest spunk. We get to watch them learn how to express themselves through movements and sounds. We watch as they start to respond to music, or develop a love for a certain toy. We watch as two children have a ‘conversation’ of babbles back and forth, followed up with uncontrollable belly laughs. We literally get to watch them become their own individuals every single day.
I do it because even though there are cries that feel overwhelming, children that fight their nap time no matter what we do, the tumbles as they begin to be mobile, frustration as 5 of out of our 8 are crying for one reason or another, there is always the other side. The peaceful side. The eyelids that flutter as they close when a child drifts to sleep. There’s sleepy-eyed cuddles in the rocking chair as someone wakes up from a rest. There’s hugs and kisses as they learn what those mean and what they express. It’s the smiles you get just for simply waving at them or bopping their nose. It’s the love that you can feel with these children, even if they are not yours. It’s a special bond that you develop with each and every one that can never be replaced, no matter how many children came and go through your room.
Above all that, I do it because these infants teach me something new every day. They teach me that my patience can stretch much farther than I ever thought. They teach me that my love for them is truly endless. They teach me how I can be better for them, and teach me how to care for their individual needs. They teach me new things every day and they don’t even realize it. We’re both learning together as we go; we love, we learn, we laugh, we cry, and we do it all together. And it’s an incredibly beautiful thing.