Join me in my daily walk through the joys and struggles of parenthood. Share a word of encouragement or be encouraged. Cry a little, laugh a lot, but know it is all in divine order.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fun Friday – Caring for other people’s children

When cousins get together
At the first sign of warm weather, the kids are ready to venture outside in search of active things to do. On a recent summer like day, I took my son and a friend go cart racing. As I watched them race around the track, I was reminded of our visit to the same course five years ago.
On that day five years ago, I agreed to watch my young nieces for a week. This meant I would have four kids between the ages of six years and 12 years in my charge. For me that was a small army. Here’s the story…
Do you remember the nursery rhyme, “There was an old woman who lived in a shoe? She had so many children she didn’t know what to do! So she gave them some broth without any bread, and she whipped them and sent them to bed.”
Well, I had to care for two additional children, my nieces, for almost a week (wouldn’t that mean forever in dog years?). I didn’t know what I would do to entertain them. After all they think of me as the “fun” aunt. No pressure. Just one of the things we do for our BFF (best friend forever).
Unlike the old woman in the shoe, I didn’t spank the kids and send them to bed. I took them go cart racing, which also included putt putt golf. Did I mention that these were girls who are not as rough and tumble as my boys?
I rode the go carts with my six year old niece because she did not meet the height requirements to ride alone. As our go cart whipped around curves and bounced over small bumps, my niece squealed with excitement. “This is AWESOME.”  I held her knee with one hand to keep her from flying out of the car as I thought, does my liability insurance cover this? I should have called Geico.
The round of putt putt golf was just as exciting as the go carts. My niece played more like Venus and Serena Williams rather than Tiger Woods. She lifted the golf club in preparation to swing it like a tennis racquet. Stopped in the nick of time we were spared any injuries.
Caring for someone else’s children requires making adjustments. Will they eat the same foods as my children? Do they have food allergies, what movies are they allowed to watch? How can one manage these additional responsibilities? It helps to ask the parents of the children you’re watching. Of course the information they give you should be considered a guideline.
My nieces didn’t eat much of the foods their mom said were their favorites. However, they did drink plenty of liquids. Are four juice boxes too much for a six year old? I thought so, but she had them before I was aware of the final count.
Caring for other people’s children can be a challenge, but the way we approach the task can make all the difference in the world. I have learned that the best tools for this job are a sense of humor, flexibility, and patience.
Cousins again...a few years later
What has been your experience when caring other people’s children?

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