I arrived to little voices chanting, “Da-nelle, Da-nelle, look we got!” Please don’t be another puppy, I thought. And boy was I ever happy to see a large broken box instead of an animal laying in the middle of the living room. Boss Mom looked at me and smiled, “I knew you’d like that.” And she was right. I really did like it! And I couldn’t wait to get started on turning it into something great!
We tossed around a few ideas: a sled, a dog, a person. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to meet their requests. So, we settled on a movie theater and I was imagining something epic! I was in charge of the cutting. They were in charge of the decorating. And when it was all done, we set it up, and they were interested for two minutes. Humf. That was not what I had planned at all. Refusing to give up on the great box, I tried Plan B. This time, I simply turned it around and put their play kitchen behind it. And voila, like that, The magic happened. As an adult I was thinking, this side isn’t even decorated, how can you like it better? But kids don’t see things like that. They see in things in an entirely different dimension. Soon, they forgot that it was a box at all. In their minds they saw a cafe in France where only the finest food was served. And even though je t’aime parler le francais avec les enfants, I was quickly ousted from the game as the four kids took over. There was no need for me, even with my fantastic french skills, to be involved in this activity. There was wall built between child and adult that I couldn’t break, no matter how hard I tried to be silly. This was an experience they wanted to share with their brothers and sisters alone. Like the dinosaur I once knew, this box transported the kids from reality. And so I sat down and watched and smiled: this is what childhood is about. It isn’t about things, but who we play those things WITH. And it won’t always be like this around here. We are all growing up so quickly. So I let them relish in one another. I let them forget about their chores and their homework. I let them play. I let them be kids. And I didn’t interrupt them. Nannying for a large family is beautiful. I don’t know how else to put it. I love my days here. They couldn’t get rid of me if they tried.