As many of you know, while we are in Berlin, I am a nanny for half of my week. I have also returned to school for a Masters just for fun but to earn a little extra cash, I nanny. I work with up to six families on a weekly basis but only with two families consistently every week. I work with a 6 month old two days a week and a newly birthdayed 1 year old. I have been with the one year old since she was just a few months old.
The one year old has always had more difficulty in soothing herself when upset. It seems as though sometimes she has emotions that are just bigger than her own little being and she really doesn’t know what to do with them. Her parents and I then just encourage her to feel her feelings and we are there for her through them. Sometimes there isn’t much else we can do and we all think that it’s not always the best thing to just distract her from her emotions, it rarely soothes her and just upsets her more.
The last few times that I have taken care of the little one she has taken to climbing into my lap and asking for cuddles while she cries. She doesn’t want anything but cuddles and a secure lap that she knows in order to have her emotions. Once she has been crying for a bit, I do try to ask her if she needs anything like a snack, a drink of water, a book or a song. She is a sucker for a good version of “The Wheels on the Bus” or “Twinkle Twinkle.” Yesterday as she was crying I asked if I should sing her favorite star song. She perked up. I started singing with hand motions of course…
Twinkle, Twinkle, little star….
At this point, little one has not stopped crying but has looked up as well with her big eyes. She reaches out her hands and starts clapping (also a new fav activity when she has done something great like standing or wants to celebrate). While clapping, little one lets out a great big wail as she continues to sob, big alligator tears and a downturned mouth. The whole picture continues on…me singing away, the clapping not slowing and big tears flowing, all of the emotions at once. While she wants to celebrate her favorite song, the emotions that are coming are just still too much.
I had to chuckle. I shouldn’t and yet it struck me. The image has stayed with me all day. Little one on my lap full of all of the woes and joys in one great big emotive being.
I think I know how this feels. I think there are times when I want to wail at what is happening in the world (like Warren dropping out) and clapping at the beauty of the world (like these amazing little beings figuring out the world…another kiddo showed me the washing machine spinning as a great wonder yesterday too). All wrapped in one. All complex. All emoting. All existing in one. Leave it to a one year old to give me a glimpse into our universe and humankind. 😉