"My Kids"

"A child's life is like a piece of paper on which every person leaves a mark."-- Robert A. Heinlein

"He who teaches children learns more than they do" -- German Proverb

"Every child is born a genius."-- R. Buckminster Fuller

I have wanted to write this for a long while, but actually finding the time this time of year is nearly impossible. I have had the privilege of working in many wonderful establishments. I have created and kept strong friendships from each place that I’ve worked. All of these experiences special in some shape or form.

It is quite amusing, however, to see where God puts you. I envisioned myself making a cool million or so while directing and producing TV and film. While this medium still entices me, it does not hold the same love luster feeling it once did.

I sort of scrambled here and there for my niche – my very own something. Well, I believe that I have found that with a humble and giving family. Whether you call me a “nanny”, “babysitter”, “caretaker”, etc… the journey that I’m on now is rich and deep and awe inspiring. I cannot tell you the joy that the entire Scalf family has brought into my life. I have learned so much from Dave and Amy on how to be humble Christians and better people. I have had the privilege in sharing triumphs and failures with them…plus they allow me to LOVE on their kids like they were my own. I’m so indebted to them for their love and confidence and loving friendship – fellowship.

Shall I talk about the kids… Sophie (pictured above) reminds me so much of myself. An older gentleman (Mr. Earl Glover) used to call me “Little Mama” at church. I see this in Sophie. She is soon to be eight going on 28. She adores using her imagination. I truly believe that she will be a prolific writer someday. She loves to make up stories and to draw. She can be a little sassy at times. My favorite moments are when she comes home from school and leans into me or snuggles with me. I love that loving thoughtful spirit in her. She is an affection giver, a sensitive soul. I cannot wait to see what her journey entails.

One of my favorite times with her, and I know I’ve shared this before is when her brother Aiden was not using any patience. I say, “Patience is virtue ALL of the time!” I begin to say, “Aiden, patience…” and without skipping a beat she say, “…is a virtue!” Her laugh, if a spark, could ignite a wildfire…we both laughed while little brother stared in disgust.

I also enjoyed a story Amy shared with me. Sophie was having a rough day, got into it with her Great-Grandmother, etc… She told her Mom later that day, “Ms. Melissa said I was just emotional today.”…LOL! Aiden (what can I say about this picture. This was and overnighter I did for Amy and Dave. We are getting ready to finger paint. I told Aiden that if he got finger paint on his white shirt his Mom would kill me…surprisingly he kept it clean, even though he smashed all his colors together and got it up each arm!) is my little philosopher. I know that his wisdom is going to outshine mine, so usually I’m quite and pay attention when I’m around Aiden. He can have a bit of a temper, but even that comes from a very earnest place. He is never malicious; there is a practical reason for everything he does. We are going to be standing back in awe some day of this brilliant man God is creating.

I have shared so many wonderful stories about him. It is so difficult to choose.

I had him home a couple days when he wasn’t feeling well. He was a delight. He knows how much his sister “H” loves Dora. She was at school one of these days and he said, “Ms. Alissa I wish “H” was here.” I said, “yeah Aiden, why?” He responded, “Because Dora is on.”

I also remember he, “W”, and myself listening to the “Flushed Away” soundtrack he found online…he also has a laugh that will turn you inside out. We were laughing and dancing, and may I just say that “W” & Aiden have more rhythm in their short little years than I will ever possess in my 29…

One of my favorites was the overnighter…he went to take a bath (normally he takes a shower, but he wanted to take a bath)…I had just bought them new shampoo. In walks Aiden after his bath, PJs plastered to his skin. He comes up to me and goes, “Ms. Alissa smell my hair.” As I reach to smell his hair I noticed that it is platted to his head. I touch it and it is full of soap. I say, “Aiden, your head is covered in soap, why didn’t you wash it out?” His response was, “Well see, Ms. Alissa, I don’t know how to wash the soap out, see!” I said, “Come on I’ll dump water over your head.” He giggled at that. At first I had the water too cold and then too hot, but eventually we got the soap out. Then, after drying his head, he says, “Okay Ms. Alissa, smell my hair now.”
“Oh Aiden, it smells wonderful.”
“You want to know what I did.”
“What did you do?”
“I put both shampoos together,” he says this with a look of triumph.
“That was very smart, Aiden.”
“Thanks.” “H” (her face and name can’t be given for protection, one day soon I’ll be able too though). She is the little girl that Aiden has a death grip on. We went on a hay ride and to a corn maze. Aiden made it a point to protect her…

“H” and I had a few go arounds in the beginning. I wasn’t sure how things were going to shape up. In the end, however, I love this child more than you will ever know. I love her heart. I love her spirit. She loves to be praised. She is truly one of the biggest helpers when you lose something, she knows where everything is. She can be sneaky and definitely has a temper, but I love her honesty.

I had taken her out to JK CafĂ© for her birthday. I also had “W” and “S” in toe. I was a little nervous. This could all go badly. However, she was my big girl that day. She helped me by holding “W” hand and staying right with me. She also ate really well that day too.

That same day there were three young and very attractive guys sitting at the table next to us. She just stared at them and flirted with them. They said “hi”, she said “hi” back. These young men were getting a kick out of it. I even said, “H, are you flirting with those boys.” She just grinned. They ended up leaving at the same time we did. Before getting in the van, she proceeds to put one hand on her hip and wave her hand and say, “Bye guys, Bye guys (in her 4 year old voice)” I told Amy, to watch out.

There was one day she threw a WWIII fit. I proceeded to put her on her bed and close the door. Before to long she had gotten off her bed threw herself in the hallway and was howling and screaming. I told her, “H, I’m not going to look at you or talk to you until you have calmed down.” A few minutes go by and it is quiet. I say nothing. A little time goes by and I hear a large sigh followed by, “O’tay I ‘talmed down now.”

Just here recently I had told her to give a toy “W”. It wasn’t fair of me at all. “H” had it first, but I was so tired of hearing “W” crying. “H” gave me some attitude when I asked her something and I said, “Okay Ms. Attitude.” She said, “I sorry Ms. Alissa but I too mad at you right now.” Oh the wisdom of a four year old. “W” (this picture was taken after “W” proceeded to take the full diaper bag, open it up and hand me first the diapers, wipes, bottles, etc… I sat them all on the counter. Now I believe that as long as they are not placing their self in danger I’m going to let them use their creativity. So all the stuff in the diaper bag is now on the table or the toys from that box are dumped on the floor and the box is now used as a helmet, that’s cool…I digress. After handing me all the things in the diaper bag he proceeds to take the now empty bag, place it on the back of the fire truck and ride around with it. He knew from that very first diaper he gave me what he wanted to do with it. Oh the joy of an almost 2 year old.) is the light and heartbeat of the family. He may be a little speech delayed, but mentally he packs a punch. Everyone who sees him says that he reminds them of a little man. With his glasses he absolutely is. He loves things in their place. One day he came and straightened the end table in the living room. He knows that when you are in bed you are supposed to cover up. I threw him on the bed one day and left to grab the laundry in the hall I came back he was covered up, head against the pillow, watching TV. He is all boy. He loves to throw, hit, play, and once again, that darn laugh…those darn mischievous faces…oh boy…are we in trouble.

The boy loves baths. He does what I like to call the surfer move. He lies down in the tub and pulls his belly back and forth along the tub bottom. His little fanny is in the air and he is laughing all the way.

There are so many stories I could keep you here all day. One day I hear a low “uhhhhhh” coming from the back room. I go back to their bedroom and call for “W”, but don’t see him. I look in the closet, he isn’t their. This scares me. Then I see two little feet sticking out from underneath his low lying crib. “W, what are you doing under there?” I get down and peer under his crib. There he is pacifier in his mouth. He had gone in after it and gotten stuck. He wasn’t scared he just needed help.

That same day I’m using the bathroom when I hear a LOT of jabber coming from outside the bathroom door. I open the door and I see “W” pointing down the hall towards the kitchen and he is just a jabbering. I said, “Alright, show me.” I follow him to where his brother “S” is dumping all the cat food in the cat water. “W” stands over him, finger pointed down and wagging at him, all the while looking at me and jabbering…as if to say, “Ms. Melissa look what he is doing.” (May I mention that shortly after this “W” started putting the cat food in the cat water…he learned something from his younger brother.)

I love when he gives kisses. I love how he eats like a little man. I love when he is snuggly. Even when he feels crappy he still has a happy spirit. “S” my little dumplin’ boy (he is the one in the walker). This one was also a challenge. When he first came to the home he was truly inconsolable. His tummy hurt him and he struggled. Go forward many months to a soon to be 1 year old. He still has his moments, but watching this little one grow, crawl, pull up, cut teeth and develop a little personality has been one of the biggest blessings of my life. I love how before he goes into another room he peeks his head out of the room he is in and takes a look around. I love the faces he makes. I love his vocal jabber. I love his snuggly loves.

I remember the first time he clapped. I heard both the boys talking in their room. I go in to get them up from their nap and there is “W” and “S” sitting up in their beds just a clapping. As “S” taught “W” how to play in the cat food, so “W” taught “S” to clap. “W” and “S” are going to be best of friends and true sparring buddies.

He loves to explore everything. I fear that I will have two walkers after the first of the year. One doesn’t care if you tell him “no” and the other one doesn’t understand the meaning of the word…oh boy!!!

Just today he stood at the gate and for the first time when Amy left he cried for her. I was broken hearted, but I also thought how utterly sweet. (It also could have had a lot to do with her being up with him all night.)

He likes to help me with the dishes. I’ll place the utensils basket up on the counter so he doesn’t get near the knives, but he will play with the cups and plates I put in there.

He cries when you leave a room because he doesn’t want to be left alone, and his smile could light up the universe. He is always happy to see you, and would often be content with one simple chew toy sitting on the couch watching TV with you.

These kids have helped to shape my life in ways that I could never ever imagine. This job is challenging, fun, exciting every single day. You never know what’s going to happen. I have the privilege of getting the boys out to see my Mom. I get to shop, do clothes, take care of the house as well as take care of the kids. It isn’t a job to me. It is a joy. As my friend Jill said, “you just go play all day don’t you.” I do. I really really do…

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