I am very much single and with no children of my own. Hence, baby-sitting can be very daunting and taxing. Especially if you are not the type of person who is around children often. However, at the same time, it can be a very enlightening and an extremely fun experience. Here are some of wonderful things I learnt whilst baby-sitting my 6 year old neighbor.
1. The same nursery rhymes that I learnt as child never went away. From the “I’m a little tea-pot, short and stout” to “Georgie Porgie, pudding and pie..” They stayed the same. Whereas I only knew the English version of the songs, my little one knows it in Afrikaans, English, Zulu and, I suspect, some weird language that she invented. And, like I used to wonder at that age, “Why did Georgie Porgie kiss the girls and why did they cry,” that answer still remains: Georgie is mean and kissing a boy is, like, totally gross!
2. The Macarena song has stuck through time. The dance too! I know this version:
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria Macarena
Que tu cuerpo es pa' darle alegria y cosa buena
Dale a tu cuerpo alegria, Macarena
She knows this:
1 Macarena, 2 Macarena, 3 Macarena
4 Macarena, 5 Macarena, 6 Macarena
7 Macarena, 8 Macarena, 9 Macarena
Same tune, same moves, slightly different lyrics!
3. Fantasy and imaginative play are important to this child. And I learned that these are the building blocks of children’s intellectual and creative ability. When you have had a hard day at work and you need to escape, taken to a faraway place, just engage with a child and ask him or her what’s on his or her mind. The stories you will hear! Forever entertaining and sometimes, slightly weird. Okay..most times! A simple leaking tap can become a “waterfall where we need to jump on the boat and sail away before we get swept away by the flood and become mermaids.” It’s wonderful! Or better yet… you know you will get an amazing story when it starts like this “There is a girl in my class…her name is Patrick” (spoiler alert: Story will definately be identical to an episode of Spongebob Squarepants)
4. Stacking playing cards and building towers has and will remain fun through time (I hope). And the best part of it is taking a deep breath and blowing down the tower afterwards. I used to do this with my sister when we were small. It’s amazing and refreshing to know that, with all the video games out there, the television etc, children can still do this and have fun.
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