The Right Way

I’ve always been jealous of people that are good with children.  I’ve never been the kind of natural that some are like my mother who can put a screaming, sick baby to sleep in minutes or my mother-in-law who, having been a preschool teacher for decades, speaks this strange kid language…really…I’m totally serious.  I can’t walk up to any kid and have a meaningful conversation about their life.  I never had some child open up to me about the weird imaginary world that they happen to be drifting into while I walked by.

But I admire those who can.  I think it must be some sort of unspoken sense that children have.

I’ll never forget my brother Karl telling me a story about a little girl that went to the camp where he was working.  She was about four at the time and was sitting all alone by herself.  Karl came up and sat down next to her and asked her what she was doing.

“I’m waiting for my train.”

“Oh…where to?”

“Paris.” she said with a dreamy expression

The same girl came up to me the same day and found the biggest, most painful hormonal zit on my face and pinch until I screamed.  Alas.

As much as I am not a natural with kids I can tell when people have it all wrong.

One of my biggest pet-peeves is seeing a grown up approach a kid and immediately start tickling or rolling them around or saying, “HEY Kid!” and shouting in their face.

That why I was so happy when I found these pictures.

My nephew Jack and Andrew last year

My nephew Jack and Andrew last year

Jack was going through a stage of  not wanting to be touched or approached by anyone but Andrea, his mother.  Understandable.

So while my mom, Andrea and I talked about something I don’t remember Andrew and Jack started playing…well…in a manner of speaking.

Jack doesn't need much to keep him happy.

Jack doesn't need much to keep him happy.

The passed leaves back and forth.

And crinkled them.

And ripped them.

It's weird how they sit the same...

It's weird how they sit the same...

I’ve always admired this about Andrew and it’s the reason I think he is going to be such a good dad.

He came into the family as a complete stranger.  He had never met my nephews and had never held and infant.

He could have assumed that he was supposed to try and be best friends with the boys and get them all crazy so he would look good…but he didn’t.

He let them come to him, on their terms and did what they wanted.

So they crinkle leaves and pass them back and forth. They didn’t talk. They didn’t even laugh but it was right.

I was so happy to discover these pictures because…well…who wouldn’t?

In other parts of my world: Does anyone else feel like handling bread dough is strikingly similar to paper mache? Bleh. I’m just glad it doesn’t taste like paper mache.


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