I mentioned in my last post about my inexperience with children, so you might see the irony in my being asked to serve as a nursery worker at the church we used to attend in another city about 30 miles away. After they assured me that there would always be another nursery worker in there with me, I agreed.
I must have had a temporary memory lapse about another time I served in a church nursery, when an 18-month-old little girl cried so hard that she wet all over me. And I don't mean with tears.
Anyway, things were going along pretty well for my periodic nursery assignments. My co-laborers seemed always willing to do the dirty work (if you know what I mean), and my duties pretty much consisted of keeping the little ones from hurting themselves or each other. (We had some very active children in the nursery. It seemed like 50 or so; but it was, in reality, only about a half-dozen.)
We had one little boy who was usually pretty quiet. He would sit and watch the goings on of the others, as if mesmerized, but rarely participated in the action. One day, he came over and stood beside my chair, not saying a word, just standing there.
I said, "J, do you want me to get you a toy?"
J shook his head no.
"Do you want to sit on my lap?"
Another head shake.
"Do you want a cracker?"
I thought I was onto something with that one, but J again shook his head.
"Do you have to go to the bathroom?"
Bingo! A nod in the affirmative.
"Do you need help?"
Oh dear. Don't show fear. They sense fear, you know.
It's not necessary to get specific about this experience. Suffice it to say that there was more involved than just pointing the child at the toilet. My co-laborer that day was a 15-year-old girl who, fortunately, knew much more about taking care of children than I did. With her counsel, J and I managed to get the bathroom emergency handled, if not efficiently, at least adequately.
Later, when I told his mother that J had initiated me into a new experience, she had a good laugh and told me that J was perfectly capable of going potty all by himself and never asks for help at home.
The little turkey.