Maybe I'm a still a bit starry-eyed about parenting, but I don't understand how someone could not find raising kids fulfilling. OK, granted, I don't come home each day thinking to myself, "my goodness, what a pleasant and fulfilling day I just had." There are plenty of days where I feel guilty that we watched too much TV in a given day, or that I only fed them processed food (because it's the only food my employer buys ... but that's another story), or irritated that the baby wouldn't stop crying or wouldn't take a nap. But one of my favorite things, aside from raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, is progress! Tracking the progress of children is infinitely more interesting and cool (not to mention much cuter) than tracking the progress of say, a science project. Although I suppose children are a science project in their own right.
I have been at this job four months now. That might not sound like very long--probably because it isn't--but in my time with my employer, I have noticed a difference in the babies. Of course, they are still spoiled when I'm not around, so they thrown tantrums sometimes when they don't get what they want, but this happens a lot less than it used to. After a week of being strict about time-outs when Grady doesn't listen, he has pretty much learned to listen. At least as well as a two year-old can be expected to listen.
I talk to the kids all the time. Using regular words in a regular voice. I think partially because of that, Jake has gone from almost completely non-verbal to a real little talker. He can tell me when he wants to go outside, eat, go to the park, get out of his crib or high chair; he says please and thank you; he says "help me" when he needs something (which is adorable, incidentally). He can identify all sorts of animals and knows the names of everybody in his family, including the dog. Grady, on the other hand, has learned to count to three (when I arrived he couldn't count at all) and expanded his vocabulary quite impressively. He repeats what I say with often hilarious results.
A few examples: the other day the cleaners were mopping the hardwood floor in the kitchen, so I decided to take the babies upstairs to get out of their way. As we were walking up the stairs, Grady was dawdling. So I said, "Hey, Grady, pick up the pace." He looked up at me with an eager-to -please expression, said questioningly, "Pace?" and then squatted on the floor and started picking up lint from the carpet. Having never heard that idiom, of course he assumed that pace was a concrete object, and I wanted him to pick it up. I almost died laughing.
Second example: the other day the babies were crying after a brief audience with Mother. She had stopped by and then left quickly, which always upsets them. Jake stopped crying first and was sitting in my lap while were watching Grady cry by the door. So I said to Jake (keep in mind that he is only one), "Jake, Grady is sad. What can we do to make him feel better?"
Jake (very distinctly): Cookie.
Me: Should we give Grady a cookie?
So we went to the cookie jar and got one cookie out. I gave it to Jake, and instead of eating it (which let's face it, even a lot of adults would do), he took it over and gave it to his brother. Who immediately stopped crying.
I would have signed up for fifty years of motherhood that day if anyone had given me the option.
Guess I still need someone to father my children, though. Bummer.