When Ruthie was just two months old, Bryan and I coordinated a babysitting co-op with friends. Every other week we would go on a date and have free babysitting, and on the opposite weeks it would be our turn to babysit. Various families have been a part of this co-op in the past, but for the last two years (at least) we’ve been trading with the same family, so our kids have grown very attached to each other. No more fussing at goodbyes, no more anxiety at bedtime – every Saturday is like a slumber party now, and we are literally pushed out the door by our kids.
One of the things I have loved about their time playing together, is the way their children influence ours. My children influence other children in the ways mothers whisper about when they hear you are invited to the same party. But these kids? They encourage my children to explore their imagination.
I walked into the room one night to find Ruthie and Olivia buried under a pile of blankets, then watched them dramatically stretch out from under the pile as they ‘hatched’ like chicks coming out of an egg. This moment was the first seed planted in our eventual decision to cut ourselves off from 642 HD channels, as Olivia and her siblings don’t watch conventional t.v., but enjoy a variety of videos from the library that teach them new and interesting things. My daughter previously had no idea where baby birds came from, and suddenly she was hatching like one – learning in community.
On another occasion this summer, during a daytime play date over lunch, I walked into Olivia’s room to find them performing ‘puppet’ shows for each other. It was beautiful and silly and creative, and it made me jealous that I am not a child anymore. I am so glad we don’t have cable anymore (shut up, Bryan), because I am looking forward to more moments like these: