27 March, 2016

old time movies

My parents had an 8mm video camera when they were dating, so I was documented in black and white from birth .  It wasn’t easy to sneak up on us when we were kids, inconspicuous shots were not an option, unless we were outside.  Inside, the camera required two huge lights (as a child, they seemed like stadium lights) which were turned on, WHOOSH and then mom saying “pretend I’m not here”.  Well, we did the best we could trying to commence doing whatever we ever were doing while sweating and squinting pretending the camera and it’s heat projecting spot lights were not there.

Of course this was “back in the day” where you had to get your video reels developed, so it wasn’t until weeks later that we would  fire up the ole’ reel player and see what pictures emerged.

Sometimes the whole film was white, sun exposure, or dark, when the stadium lights weren’t used. And sometimes mom and dad viewed surprise footage when one of us kids got a hold of the camera when they were gone; usually on Thursday's bowling night. They could usually figure out who the videographer was…when the 3 other siblings were on the receiving end of the camera. 

These memories came rushing back the other day when I downloaded the photos on my (now defunct) camera to my computer.  I had the same thoughts as my parents so many years ago…

”I don’t remember taking that photo(video)”

“hmmm, where was I”

 “when was this” 

“Why would I take that?”

With 41 kids it’s not always easy to figure out who was taking the photos…but with the now common selfie,  the moment of truth arrived:

Mr. Saoun, may you never change.

02 March, 2016

Nap Time

The little ones have their nap in the preschool.  There are 7 of them that still need that extra re-charging each day or by the time 5:00 rolls around it's known as "Cry Time".  Tired whiny little bodies trying to keep going when they are spent and they vocalize it with the international language of sobbing.

My basic routine is to give the key to whichever child asks first and they run off to open the room.  So roughly around 12:30 I go into the room and have everyone don blankets and pillows and lay down.  On an exceptional day, The oldest napper at the ripe old age of 6, Rortana becomes the mother hen and has everyone already laying down and the DVD started.  On an average day, they have their blankets/pillows and are mucking around being silly on the floor.

On occasion, I walk into the room to find crying, toys out, and little voices trying desperately to explain themselves or tattle on someone.  My reactions to the different variations of nap time depend upon my mood and their previous behavior.

 I usually go in and out of the room as I do little chores; thrown in a load of laundry, go back and see if they are sleeping, check on kids doing homework, go back and see if they are sleeping, answer a summon from another room, go back, etc.  On quiet days, I take my book in with me and sit while they finally settle their bodies and commence sleeping.

Today, I had everyone down by 12:00, a rarity. and instead of the usual "life on this planet or universe" DVD, which can put anyone to sleep with it's monotone narration, I put in a Baby Einstein video with it's soothing classical music background.  I walked out with my usual chorus "I will go and I will come back" and went to hang up the boy's wet clean clothes.  When 'coming back' to the preschool, I could hear their loud voices.  My pace quickened and my steps became a little more firm as I put on my authoritative mommy face.  As I sneaked up to the window (as I am apt to do), ready to tell them all to lay down and be quiet, I heard an unfamiliar nap-time sound.

The kids weren't horsing around, nor crying, nor being rambunctious.  All were laying down with their heads turned and were talking to the TV.  

"No ducks 2."
"No 2 ducks blue," as 2 little blue ducks appeared on the screen. 

Then, "Flower 3."
"No 3 flowers."
"Yellow flowers," as 3 little yellow flowers marched across the screen.  

I walked in and continued to hear them call out objects, numbers and colors accurately as images appeared.

Some got more vocal as I walked in, letting me know (in case I didn't already) that they were smart.  I sat with them through the DVD after confirming that they did not have to be quiet; that they could finish the first session.  The next one to come up was a bit more boring so they started to drift off.

Such sweet little faces showing all of their innocence and nothing of their very individual personalities. 

Without Wat Opot, I can't imagine what their lives would be like, for some, there's no way of knowing if they would still have been alive.I have taken care of children since the age of 11 (when I was still a child myself and was allowed to start babysitting close to home).

It's so nice to know children can still make my heart skip a beat and be the cause of love to flow through my body and into my soul.  People have commented similar to "oh, you have given up so much to be with these kids".  How could they know that the things I have "given up" are the very things I will never ever miss again and being here and having these children in my life is the most wonderful thing I could ever have gained.