Today I became a two year old. I sat on the floor, played with puzzles, sang "popcorn popping" complete with big hand motions, giggled and cried, spilled my water, and wrapped up dollies in blankets and cradled them.
Yesterday evening, the primary president called to ask if I would be willing and able to substitute in nursery today. All because I foolishly signed my name on the primary substitute list in a misplaced fit of charity after a particularly guilt-inducing relief society lesson. I need to learn to resist that spirit of obedience.
So she called, and because I have compassion for Primary Presidents everywhere, I said yes. And then hung up the phone and I groaned. Because of all the classes I might agree to substitute, nursery is my least favorite.
I'll let you in on a little secret. Little kids are not my favorite. I liked my own kids well enough because the laws of nature dictated that it should be so. Other people's kids are harder for me as a general rule. One on one is not bad. But when there are a bunch of them crammed into a small room and none of them know me and half of them are scared of me and at least one is crying because his mommy left him, it's a very hard thing for me.
So today I when I entered the room, as expected, one little boy was already in tears, his arms firmly wrapped around his daddy's leg. Another little girl looked very distressed as her mommy said goodbye and left. I groaned inwardly. I didn't want to be there, and I really hate dealing with crying children who don't know me and refuse to be comforted. But I decided to try. What else could I do?
And it worked. I put on a bright happy face, got down on the floor and played with those two to distract them from their worries while the other nursery worker played with the other four kids. I had to work hard and be really silly to keep them entertained, but by the time the music leader came in to sing, we were friends. We sang about snowmen and popcorn and prophets, and then we had snacks and I spilled my water and the kids laughed and then helped me clean up the mess. They shared their snacks with me and we colored pictures and I took them to the potty and we played with toys and then put them away and played ring around the rosie until their parents came to pick them up.
A miracle occurred within me during those two hours. I started it feeling tired and selfish and out of sorts. By the end I felt happy and carefree and I had six new two-year old friends. I had genuinely had a great time and was a little sad that it was over.
So I was thinking: If I can fake it until I make it with 2 year olds, can I do that in other areas of my life? What is the difference between creating myself in the image I wish to be and being a big fat fake? Can I use this tool and still be real and genuine?
What do you all think?