Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Challenging vs. enjoyable

On occasion, Donovan will be licking his fingers one by one, following a meal or a snack or a treat or whatever is so delicious that it makes him lick his fingers, and say, without taking his eyes off those delicious fingers, "Fank you, Mom. I weely enjoyed that." You enjoyed that? ENJOYED? What are you, a 60-something woman from the 40s?

So it should have come as no surprise when I overheard him talking to Ainsleigh.
A: I had a leg ache last night. It hurt pretty bad. I got the heating pad and took care of it, though.
D: It hurt a lot?
A: Yeah.
D: Yeah, I had a leg ache a couple nights ago. It was really challenging.

Challenging? It should have come as no surprise to hear him use a word like that, and yet it did. I'm going to use the word "challenging" more often. Wait, is parenting supposed to go the OTHER way?

One challenging thing I do is lead music time for the kids ages 3-11 at church on Sundays. Occasionally I try to teach them things, like the difference between verses and a chorus. Or what some big words mean ("it means the same as good, but good doesn't rhyme" or "eternity means forever. try using that word with your friends at school - they'll be impressed."). I'm more of a...musical cowboy, as it were, just wrangling them into music and trying to keep their attention and introducing new songs and, above all, having FUN. There are about 100 kids, split into two groups, and it is a circus. Luckily, each class (of 6-10 kids) has a teacher, so it's not like I have to field crying or pushing or general squirreliness (I don't think that's a word). But I do get to pick on Donovan or Ainsleigh, or even Joel who teaches 5 year olds.

One thing I look forward to is how, let's call him Billy (to protect the innocent), Billy is feeling. Billy is a fabulous kid. He's 10 years old and has cerebral palsy. And the other kids? They love him. And I love them even more, just for that. And he loves them, going up to whoever answered or said a prayer or whatever and pats them on the back, saying, "Good job!" And he LOVES music. Sometimes it looks like he's totally checked out, but if I've asked a question, he'll perk right up with the answer. I love it.

Last week, though. Hmm. So there I was, standing at the front, moving and grooving as I am wont to do and there Billy is, kinda walking around as he is wont to do. He made his way up to me at the front and stood next to me, arm around my waist, and I nodded at his teacher that he was fine, and I kept going. Except that in a minute or two I glanced down and saw that he had buried his nose IN MY ARMPIT. Oh mercy. And the thing is - in that room, under those circumstances, that is the LAST place I'd advise anyone to go. He must have discovered that for himself because soon after, he peeled off and sat back down.

But I couldn't help but feel a smidge humiliated. UNTIL. His mom told me that a) he does that to everyone (I suppose it's his version of the handshake?), and b) it used to be worse.

She recounted a story of being at the grocery store when he was four or five, and he had wandered a little down the aisle. She noticed a rather large woman at the end of the aisle just as that woman dropped something and bent over to pick it up. Billy, like a homing pigeon, RAN to the woman, planted hands on either cheek, now laid wide for his appreciation, and stuck his nose IN HER BUM. I think we can all understand how my friend, his mom, was mortified. No, beyond mortified.

So he has graduated from bums to armpits (perhaps a product of him getting taller?) and I have been inducted into this weird club of the acceptable armpits (he returned this week for another drive-by sniff and a hug). These are the things that tip the scale from challenging to enjoyable.

A few things up this week, to be measured on that scale:
meeting with Ainsleigh's pediatrician
a friend's wedding
a traveling husband
a giant unknown
pie night (24 ladies and pies so far)


janine said...

he LOVES the smell of eric's deodorant and about 3 times each sunday comes and buries his head in eric's armpit and inhales like it's his last breath! it's become a bonding experience....sad i missed seeing yours last week though:)

laura said...

I want to get business cards with just my name and "Musical Cowboy" on them.

GWACK said...

I'm the music leader, too. And so are my two sisters. And so is Susan L. Everyone I know has this calling. It's great!