Yesterday afternoon Kai and I went to the pool to lounge.
At least I wanted to lounge. After a day of waking earlly, kayaking and hiking, I was ready to read my book on a beach towel and snooze.
But she was bored. "It's no fun to hang out in the pool with no other kids to hang with."
Hah! I thought. I hope this makes you appreciate your siblings! But I said nothing. I slid down the 75 foot waterslide with her once, but that clearly wasn't enough. And frankly, even as I tried to float with her, she clearly found me BORING.
So I gave up, found a beach chair under an umbrella and read my book then napped.
When I awoke and realized she hadn't come to badger me about boredom for at least 45 minutes, I went to investigate--hoping she didn't drown or something since I'm supposed to watch my kid under 16 at all times. But give me a break, I've forced this kid to join swim team the past 4 months. She can swim.
When I found her in a pool, she had found a friend.
A four year old friend.
|Obviously not the same girl, but you get the idea|
I found a seat next to the little girl's parents, who were thrilled to read and rest because a random teenager had taken their job of ensuring their daughter's safety from them. They worried that their daughter was bossing Kai around too much, but I said that she loved little kids. She especially loves being loved by little kids.
The two of them played for another 45 minutes, Kai checking in on me periodically to point out how funny it was that this little girl clearly thought Kai was just the right peer for her.
Later, when Kai asked me what other fact of life I could share with her I said, "I think you learned your fact of life yourself today--in fact, I think you taught it to me."
"It makes you way happier to bless a little kid than sit around like a bored teenager. Making the effort to be kind made you look happier than any other part of the day."
I'm so happy that she's kind to little kids--it's a character quality I really admire, and one I don't naturally exhibit which is why I admire it so much. But I've seen how an older kid's welcome and attention would fill my kids lives and faces with joy, and how an older kid's disdain would deflate them like a popped balloon. When those incidences have happened, both good and bad, I've tried to point out to my kids how much they can bless younger ones by being kind and attentive. And when parents come to me to tell me how great my kids have been with their young ones, there's almost nothing that makes me feel more proud.
To be honest, it's also very reassuring that my 13 year old was completely oblivious to those 2 buff boys in the hot tub two nights ago but had eyes to see a 4 year old who wanted to play.