On Monday we returned to the babyhouse and found the older age groups (about 3-4 year olds) playing outside.
LB slightly awkwardly started
throwing a ball, but soon descended into being an exciting 10 year old, pushing them wildly around on the cars and bikes. They have moved the old ride on cars and bikes outside now that we have supplied some new ones for the gym indoors.
He had the most amazing time entertaining some of the more active kids whilst I got stuck intomaking sand castles in the sandpit. Splitting my time between about 8 children gathered around it, all calling
"Mama, Mama!" inviting me to admire their efforts, was tough but I was determined that each child would get their share. I have no idea how these women manage, it is an impossible task. I guess they don't manage to give each child enough individual
attention, try though they do, to judge from the random fierce hugs I got tightly about my knees.
LB was reluctantly dragged away when the children went in for tea - they lined up carefully and
left holding hands as they've been taught. He beamed at me -
"They love me! And I didn't even have any presents!"
An interesting lesson
for him - the priceless gift of attention that we all take so much for granted at times. And yes, they did love him, I don't think they generally have people coming to play with them with the wild abandon that a 10 year old has. At least this 10
Cars were pushed at breakneck speed; balls thrown so high some disappeared behind the lean-to roof and had to be rescued; and then the crowning glory - in the last 10 minutes LB
got his phone out and showed them "Head football". With a rapt audience, his natural (previously undiscovered) leadership skills were clearly demonstrated as he lined up a row of 4 year olds, explaining to them in a language they didn't understand -
"Now, one at a time, two minutes each and if you snatch, the phone goes away."
Amazingly it worked, though I did notice that one of the older boys who he had a
bit of a soft spot for did sneak in an extra go here and there.
When they went in, we walked around to see the Kazakh-speaking group who on the whole were very slightly younger. With a little
encouragement from the carers we were treated to an little impromptu concert outside in the sun. The concert consisted of some kind of nursery rhyme (with approximately 372 verses - I think it must have been the kazakh equivalent of "There were 372 green
bottles hanging on the wall") by one of the older girls; a fantastic cute russian boy, who rather reminded me of Grant Mitchell, did a wonderful blokey kind of dance and song; then they all very solemnly put their hands on their hearts and sang the national
anthem. In squeaky little soft 3 year old voices. Well I say all, but there was this one 2 or 3 year old girl who ran around madly behind the solemn singing, windmilling her arms around gleefully with a carer in hot (and fruitless) pursuit.
I found it reassuring and touching somehow. I'm the mother of the child who marched across the length of the nursery hall after the nativity play whilst the the nursery manger was doing her (admittedly rather long) thank
you speech and announced as clear as a bell -
"I'm bored now, Miss."
I have no doubts that if he had still been at the babyhouse at 2 or 3 he would
be the one windmilling his arms in joy when he shouldn't be.
At this point I hatched a plan and explained to the carers that I would pick one child and Daniel would pick one child and if they would just oblige and
turn their backs for 5 minutes, I'd stuff one under each arm and leg it.
Dinara translated and they all laughed merrily. Bugger - they don't think I'm serious.
Back to the drawing board.