Since I am now living on the other side of the world to my family and most of my friends this blog is about things I enjoy, things I notice, people I meet, people I miss, history, planning for the future, love and life in general! I guess it's about whatever pops into my head which I want to share with my friends and family... and who knows? I might make some more friends along the way!

09 May, 2009

evaluations & realisations...

When I was nearing the end of my 12 month contract working as a nanny at Pear Tree Farm, it became apparent that it was going to be time to move on. For one thing, neither of the wonderful kids I looked after really needed a full time nanny, and for another thing I was starting to realise how much I missed working with pre-school age children.

Don't get me wrong! The kids I nannied there were terrific! I learned a lot from both of them, as well as from my own experiences along the way - and I know we will stay in touch and remain friends! There is something, however, to be said for the privilege of working with small people who are busy exploring the world on such a basic level, finding their own place in the family, the local community and eventually the world! They are seeing things as if for the first time on a daily basis, and learning from every experience with a mind that is hungry for more, more, more information and more ways to work out who they are in relationship to the things, people and events that shape their lives!

Just having a simple meal can be a huge experience for a child under 12 months! The smell, look, texture and taste are all carefully considered and evaluated by the growing infant, and their tastes can appear to be fickle as they decide one day they prefer the slippery texture and smooth taste of avocado to banana, and the next day they cannot get enough of the apple you offer them in preference for their previous choice. Their expression of hunger, tiredness, thirst or just their desire to be cuddled and reassured are surprisingly simple and to the outsider very similar, but to someone who is with a toddler or an infant on a regular basis these expressions are as complex and varied as those of any adult.

The ability to look at ones surroundings and daily tasks that must be completed, and find challenges and learning opportunities for the young child is something that comes with experience and a creative mind. I was raised by a mother who was trained in Early Childhood Development, and worked as a kindergarten/pre-school teacher for many years. I am also the eldest of 3 children - both my sisters have their own children and I am very blessed to have been a big part of their lives!

So, when the time came to move on and seek new opportunities I knew it was with these younger little people that I was called to work! Many children had been in my life in this year! The two adolescents I cared for had a baby half-brother born during this time and I was so privileged to visit him on the day he was born, and to babysit him from time to time. At 10 months old he is thriving and developing at an amazing rate! No matter how often you watch a baby grow you are never less surprised by the incredible rate of progress they display! I was also able to spend some time with cousins who live in Kent, and their 3 year old daughter and 9 month old son provided more joy for me and another opportunity to flex my 'preschool' muscle with animated story telling, feeding, singing and lots of imagination! The management of a 3 year old who is attempting to negotiate and shape her environment by one means or another is very different to a baby who is still learning to communicate his desires on a basic level.

Then there is precious Elly! My friends daughter who is now 7 1/2 months old, and who is delightful! I have loved every minute spent in her company, from the chuckles and toothless grins to the exploration of baby-led weaning, to the night time crying sessions (I swear they last all night, but somehow we get some sleep still!) to the snuggles & sleep times, she is a joy to watch as she grows and explores and observes her world!

I am so excited about what the future holds for me! I might have been a little unfortunate in not getting a job or two which looked promising, but I know that the right job is out there and possibly just around the corner! I have been interviewing and enjoying the process, and have more interviews to come! Whichever family I feel I am supposed to be with (who, of course, feel they want me to join them, too!) will have the same ups and downs as any family! Their children will need to feel safe, supported, nurtured and guided through their most formative years with love, patience, vision and creativity! Those are the skills I am really looking forward to tapping into again!

I will definitely look forward to sharing my experiences with friends and family and my insights with my online community of friends, but I also know I shall learn just as much about myself as I do about any infant or toddler, preschooler or young child in my care!

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