and realize that it’s your biography.
“When we took [our 10-month old] to a birthday party this weekend, a 2-yr old head-butted her.”
Me: “When I was volunteering with a 3-yr old, he kept head-butting me, too–maybe it’s like a thing?”
Him: “Wait, how were you at head-level?”
Me: “Oh, no–he kept head-butting me in the crotch.”
Him & The Director: “…..”
Me: “Yeah, things got uncomfortable.”
When 3-yr old Rocco, one of the kids you’re volunteering with, repeatedly head-butts you in the crotch. And then he adds pushing you down into a chair via said crotch head-butting, and keeps his head in your crotch once you’re in a seated position. Things got uncomfortably intimate.
At other times, though, Rocco was NOT a fan of mine and wanted nothing to do with me. For example, I started to notice that he didn’t like to share. So I decided to teach him to share. My method was this: every time he pushed 2-yr old Ariel out of the way when she tried to play with whatever he was playing with, I told him to share. This quickly proved ineffective. So then I thought, ‘fine, if you’re not going to share with defenseless Ariel, you’re gonna share with me, because I can and will fight back.’ So I took an Elmo toy and gave him a matching one, and then encouraged him to share and play with me. He immediately tried wrenching the toy out of my hand, so I just held strong, telling him, “Rocco, you’re not going to get it from me, I’m stronger than you. I can be here all day,” and, “Rocco, you’re being kind of rude.” He then moved on to punching and hitting me, and telling me to “shut up” and “go away.” But still, I refused to budge.
But then, the tables miraculously turned. Ariel came back, and while Rocco still wasn’t really openly sharing with her, she’s the one who hit and/or bit him when she didn’t get her way. I kind of admired her balls and on the inside was secretly like, “you go girl! The bite is a nice move.” But in an effort to remain impartial, I told her to stop and commended Rocco on his surprising show of self-restraint in choosing not to fight back.
The best moment, though, was when a 4-yr old named Vanity just dropped trou and peed in the middle of the courtyard we were playing in. I was so proud of her–why should only males be allowed to pee in public? Leading the charge in the next wave of feminism.
Today I volunteered with special needs youth doing sports, art, activities, etc. I was paired with two brothers–we’ll give them pseudonyms and call the 15-yr old Victor and the 11-yr old Carlos–and here are some of the conversations we had and some of the things they said:
1. Me: They didn’t give me a name tag. Oh well.
Victor: I’ll call you Robin. You look like a Robin.
Me: Thank you, Victor. I’m going to take that as a compliment.
2. Me: Where do you want to go to college, Victor?
Victor: Somewhere that will give me help in the medical field.
Me: What do you want to do in the medical field?
Victor: I want to be a general surgeon because they make $125,000 a year.
Me: But you’d also be saving lives.
Victor: I guess. I may be a cosmetic surgeon.
Me: Victorrrrrrr noooooooo
3. Carlos: We have a cat, and when I go to sleep he humps me.
Me: yeah, my dog humps me too. It embarrasses my mom.
4. [as we are playing basketball and I am getting embarrassingly winded and sweaty]:
Me: Do you guys like the Lakers?
Victor: We like the Clippers. The Lakers have a brand but don’t have heart.
Me: YASSSSS VICTOR YASSSSSS
5. Victor: I just feel so lethargic right now
Me: Me too, Victor. Me. Too.
6. Me: Do you guys have other siblings?
Victor: No, thankfully.
Carlos: Miscarriages, actually.
7. [as we are playing soccer]:
Victor: Alex, you need to work on your aim.
8. Victor: Did you see Frozen?
Me: Unfortunately, Victor, yes–yes I did.
Victor: They made a short film based on it. Everyone’s not over the “Frozen fever” yet. But you can only see it if you see Cinderella.
Me: Ohhh I see what they’re doing there.
Victor: Yep, self-promoting.
9. Carlos [as he’s drawing with crayons]: Sometimes I imagine people as crayons, but bigger. Because when you take the wrapper off the crayon it’s naked.
Me: That is… correct.
10. Victor: Do you know South Park?
Me: Yes, it’s a funny show.
Victor: But not for Carlos. He’s not allowed to watch it. Because of the vulgarity.
Carlos: Do you know Kenny?
Me: As in, ‘who killed Kenny’?
Carlos: Yeah, do you know what he says at the beginning of the show?
Carlos: I shouldn’t say it here. I would never.
Me: Ok, it’s good you know when and where not to say things. I don’t.
11. Carlos: Restaurants always take too long. Especially the fancy ones. Because they want to perfect their food.
Me: I know! Like, I don’t care what it looks like, I just want to shove it in my face!
12. Carlos: I’m literally the worst speller. Like, in school, I try to spell and think to myself, “I’m not doing my best work here.”
13. Victor [re: his drawing, pictured below]: I call it, “Boredom”
Carlos: It looks like Picasso.
Me: Do you like Picasso?
Carlos: I like Van Gogh better.
Me: How about you, Victor?
Victor: I don’t view art.
14. [At the end of each session, we ask the kids what they did today that they are proud of]:
Me: Victor, what did you do today that you’re proud of?
Victor: Hang out with you.
Me: HEY-O can I get a high five and fist bump for that?!
15. Victor [to me]: Here’s an origami flower for you to keep.
Me: Awww thank you, Victor–this is the first flower I’ve gotten and probably will get in a long time.