A day with children

He had always thought he was a failure with children. I was afraid I would spoil them or drown them to death. However, the former was more likely.

Then one day I got caught up in an outreach program where I was assigned to handle three children. The first time I found out I was mortified … er … almost panicky to be exact. I instantly envisioned little kids running around and dodging my every grasp, yanking at my clothes, and ruining my hair. My little sister gave me the phobia when she was four and I was nine. (If you read this, it will kill me).

However, the havoc the little ones could wreak weren’t really the problem. I was afraid they would hate me. What was he going to do with them? I was never good at babysitting and most people thought I was too serious and boring.

Still, I showed up at Family Park. A sense of responsibility made me. I could not resist. I just hoped the lessons I learned in the Educational Psychology classes I took in college would work.

When the banner was hung and the chairs were set up in the field, the children hopped inside. Children of different colors and sizes. I immediately saw two of them knocking over two chairs. I thought, wow, this would be an unforgettable day.

Soon the children lined up like cherubs as my colleagues and I handed them their name tags. I looked for my adopted sons Joely (six years old), Jeimes (four) and Beam (14).

As I was pacing back and forth, I saw this slim, tanned little girl with long hair and bangs staring at me. Suddenly, a small hand grabbed my shirt sleeve. It belonged to another girl with shoulder-length hair.

She pulled me closer as she accused a smiling plump boy of pushing her.

Somehow I got the boy to behave and pacified the girl with mere words, words that came out of nowhere. Then I asked them if they knew Joely and they pointed to the girl with the bangs.

Getting along with Joely was easy. She was sweet and gentle. He even gave his mineral water to another girl who was thirsty. He was so proud of her that he couldn’t bear not showing it, and it was easy to tell that she was happy. Although she seemed to want to get away from embarrassment at my open admiration, the blush on her cheeks couldn’t hide the fact that her eyes were dancing.

Unlike Joely, I had a pretty bad time with Jeimes. I had to keep an eye on him and make sure he didn’t escape, which I managed to do from time to time. Can’t blame him. It got hotter every minute. Other children were also concerned, and the demand for water increased rapidly. I had to go up and down the stage for the supply.

Then there was Beam, a tight-lipped loner. He was taller than me, with skin a shade darker than Joely’s. I kept encouraging him to join the games so he wouldn’t get bored and be another runaway Jeimes.

I was surprised to have fun with the sack race, even though my only role was to scream. And yes, there was the job of picking up one or two children at each stumble. I had to hold up their IDs and ID tags so they could move around freely and enjoy the game without being distracted.

I like to be rejected even at lunchtime. I thought that he would grow up as a man with his own mind. I told him to wander around and help me find Beam. Instead, he stayed still. Reverse psychology … of course! I finally beat the cute one.

Beam, on the other hand, lowered his head every time he spoke to her. Yet he was a gentleman. Helped carry boxes of Zesto and other things.

Suddenly I became everyone’s sister. The children took turns bringing me to their side. They snuggled close to me and didn’t even touch my hair! They would lean over to me and ask what grade I was in (kids don’t know much about high school and especially college).

I replied that I was already working. Joely looked surprised. To make sure he was telling the truth, he asked me if I had finished first grade, second grade … and so on. When another boy declared that I would be married soon, Joely confirmed it again with a sullen expression on his face. I couldn’t help but laugh. I was on Pluto in regards to marriage.

Then came Jollibee and the angels around me, who were watching my every word, turned into gangsters. I had to help my classmates keep the children at bay. They murdered the poor pet. It was a nightmare for Jollibee’s poor ass. It was only when he returned to his truck that the children finally became human. They asked me if Jollibee was a man and not really a large mutated bee that could dance. I looked at their expectant faces and responded to them in a way that they could understand, laugh and always remember. I told them that Jollibee was human too and that he could get hurt too. Kamo bay tabangag sumbag di ba mo mabun-og, I told them. If you were the one who was beaten to death, wouldn’t you be all black and blue? They laughed, but their faces softened in a new light.

In fact, I enjoyed being with the children. I got a lot of hugs. I have never felt so alive and so young in such a long time.

Before leaving, Joely asked if he would see me again. I said yes, if she would be a good girl and that, she promised me. She gave me a big hug even though she only managed to wrap her hands around my waist. But this she told me: Ate She, you are a very good person. I wish you were my sister.

Does a six year old lie? I was wondering. Why did I ever say that I hate children? Maybe it was because I was afraid of responsibilities and commitment, but I’m not nine years old anymore.

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