Far too many years ago, I worked as a live-in-nanny just outside of Atlanta, Georgia. It’s always bitter-sweet for me to look back on this time. Still, I think the children I watched there are three and seven, when in reality they are inching closer to pre-teens and teenagers with each passing day. It’s exciting to see them grow, but also sad because although I feel very connected to them still, I don’t get to see their daily growth anymore. If only I could be in many places at once! Whenever I look back on my time with this family, I can’t help but become overwhelmed with longing to see them! In the time I was their nanny, I became a member of their family; and not a single day goes by that I don’t see something, or hear something that triggers a memory from back then.
In particular, the three-year old and I grew very close over the course of the year I spent with them. She challenged me, and loved me, and played with me very single day I was there. She made me a better nanny and person. The influence she had over me continues to inspire me to live life to the fullest, as she always did.
One of our favorite things to do, aside from playing Uno for hours every day, was to play Clock. What, you haven’t played Clock before? Well then, let us teach you.
The first thing you do in the Game of Clock is to make the numbers 1 through 12 on scrap pieces of paper. Since, at her age, she was just learning to write, I would draw dots for each number and she would connect the dots to make the numbers. In this way, we were able to incorporate some autonomy in the game and she always felt very accomplished, thinking she was able to write her numbers.
Next, we would arrange the numbers in a line in numerical order. After which, we would put them in the shape of large clock on the floor. Then, she and I would read the numbers over a few times to get her comfortable. Now, this is the really exciting part! To actually play the game, she would lay in the middle and act as the hands of the clock. I would then yell out random times, allowing her the opportunity to arrange herself in the right direction, before offering help.
This game was fun for a lot of reasons. Mostly, it was fun because it was so hands on. She thrived on physical learning, so when she was able to be the hands on the clock, she really began soaking up the activity. It was always a rather funny, loud game. When I say that I “yelled out the time,” I mean that. I would yell the times in loud & crazy voices that always made her giggle. In this way, playing Clock incorporated many educational aspects without her knowledge.
Honestly, the best part of working with three-year-olds is that they are hungry for knowledge. They want to learn- they want to think they have done it all- they want to know more! If only we didn’t grow out of that as we got older.