My Head is Full of Children
Posted September 8, 2011on:
A number of years ago, before I had children of my own, I saw a t-shirt with an image created by artist Kiki Suarez entitled “My Head is Full of Children.” The image never quite left me. You see, I’ve always recognized that young children are, well, important. I’ve heard it said that “children are the future,” and, while I can’t disagree with the sentiment, I would suggest instead that “children are our present.” What they do and experience NOW, everyday, is valuable, and meaningful, and often breathtaking.
When I was in elementary school, I was a member of 4-H (what can I say, I grew up in the Great Plains). One of my most memorable 4-H activities was the Child Development project. I still have the book and will be happy to bring it to Kindermusik class to share it with you if you’re interested. For this project, I borrowed a neighbor child or two and made play-dough with them, hammered together a small balance beam using left-over lumber I found in my dad’s stash, and I spent some time really observing and learning about how those young neighbors processed the world. And it stuck. Children have always fascinated me — their perspectives on things, the constant, almost palpable, rapid-fire myelination of their neurons, and their raw and frank honesty.
My pre-mothering career included child-care and a stint as a preschool teacher, before I went on to work as an advocate in Domestic Violence/Rape Crisis programs both in Nebraska and Connecticut. In all, I was drawn to the young ones–their experience and interaction with their world. And just when I thought children could not possibly be more fascinating, I had one of my own. Then another. Then another.
I haven’t yet quite found the words to describe what it is like to bear the responsibility for the rearing of a child. Oh, it’s serious business, even while being horrendously tedious, aggravating, humiliating, and when it often spirals, unexpectedly, miserably, out of control. But child-rearing is also a joyful task, one that can fill you with an almost unbearable sweetness and satisfaction. How do you describe the love of a parent for a child? If you’ve figured it out, please comment below so we all can print it out and tack it to the fridge and point and say “There. That’s it. That’s exactly how it is.” while we endlessly empty and load the dishwasher and wipe people and household items clean and stay up too late working and even later watching that beautiful child, breathing in sleep, impossibly stretched long and tall while supine, growing before we know it.
This is why it is such a privilege to share in my Kindermusik families’ lives. To be a small part of the joy that is the everyday moments of these beautiful children. To teach parents and grandparents and nannies and friends songs, singing, music, to show you how to bounce your baby into infectious giggles, to pull your toddler around on a towel so that you and your child’s lives with a beach towel in the room will never be the same, to encourage you to try rocking him this way, or her that way, to be a part of that. It is my great privilege and honor.
Thank you for sharing your children. With me, and with the world. What you are doing matters. Not just down the line, but right this minute. There is nothing more important than having your head full of children.
*Many thanks to artist Kiki Suarez, who so graciously responded to my request to share her art here. I invite you to explore her stirring and brilliant work on her blog: http://www.kikitheartist.blogspot.com/
and her gallery: http://www.kikitheartist.com/-/kikitheartist/galleryindex.asp
or anywhere else you can find her.