Nope, I'm not a teacher! I'm a mom. Or, I should say, I try to be a mom to my boys. Naturally, with between 26 to 50 boys over the years, it's a little impossible to really be a mom to that many boys. But that is what God has put on my heart for these darling little boys that He has entrusted to my care.
Those of you who read this blog who are moms will then be able to identify with me when I say how difficult it is to answer the follow-up question - "So, what do you do all day?"
Here's my attempt to answer that question:
1. Provide peanut butter and milk powder for Paulo and the other boys with special nutrition needs.
2. Give Lucas his cup of fortified water - which takes about 20 minutes! Lots of chatting and cuddles are involved.
4. Greet Shondino with a big hug after school (the first of about 100 more hugs thru the day!)
5. Look at Pedro's schoolwork (and all the other boys thrusting their worksheets into my hands!).
6. Have a long, involved conversation with Aurelio about where his underwear is (thrown away because of embarrassment due to an accident instead of brought home to clean). The first of about 35 other conversations about naughty behavior.
7. Talk with Afonso about why he is angry with Gasper (he took his car) and how he can make other choices besides hitting.
9. Choose Elidio and Armandinho to set up the chairs and tables for the Afternoon Program.
10. Prepare for the Afternoon program. Do the Afternoon Program.
11. Give the skateboard to Zequito with Room 3 playing in the garden.
12. Put a band aid on Narciso's wound (one of about 10 band aids I will put on thru the day).
13. Take Shelton to the clinic to check on his skin fungus (one of many trips to the clinic during the week).
14. Ask Lito to help Armandino learn how to write his name (one of many efforts to help my boys write their names as well as learning to read and write).
16. Look for ways to encourage Alfiado, the new boy, to join in with the other boys rather than stay off on the sidelines.
17. Invite Dioniso in to help me sharpen pencils when he is having trouble regulating his mood with his friends.
18. Inflate a soccer ball for Salamao (one of at least five a day!).
19. Have a chat with Estevao about why he cannot A. ask visitors for money, B. take toys from other boys, C. stay out a half hour past shower time or any of another 50 things I routinely have to confront him on. (By the way, he is delightful as well, just naughty - a lot!).
21. Call the head educator over to deal with Salamone's out of control behavior, when he doesn't respond to me or any of the Tias.
22. Tell Jerome he is one of the cutest boys I've ever seen (one of about 100 comments like this I will make thru the day!).
23. Marvel at God's transformative power in Antonio's life after digging tens and tens of little wormy eggs out of his fingers and toes when he first arrived, malnourished and neglected (one of about 100 times a day I will marvel at what God is able to do).
25. Ask Joao' not to mess up my "very carefully arranged" ponytail, (one of about 100 times a day I will have to ask HIM to stop that!).
26. Have a heart to heart with Marcos or Manito or Chico or any of about 50 boys who used to live in the dorm but have moved up but still stop in regularly to touch base.
27. Throw a party for Zecca to send him off with lots of love and prayer as he is reunited with his family.
28. Give Joao Macamo the extra food for Lucas and Domingos that they get every lunch and dinner to help put some weight on their tiny bodies.
29. Cuddle with Domingos, my blind and developmentally delayed boy who loves him some snuggling!
30. Kiss Jose' goodnight (the last of about 100 kisses thru the day!).
Thrown into the mix: plan monthly birthday parties, shop for the extra food I give out 3-5 times a week in the dorm, pop some popcorn for the Friday night movie, give out the candy on a birthday, attend staff meetings and church services galore, take kids off the center for a walk to the market or to play in the park, clothes handouts, shoe handouts, present arranging for Christmas and birthdays, "physical therapy" sorts of interactions for Lucas and Domingos, conversations with Tias about how to handle some situation . . .
The list could go on and on but I think you get the idea - I do Mom stuff!
And that wraps up this week's "More Info Mondays!"