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Previous Challenge Entry
Topic: Reward (09/27/04)

TITLE: This is a Reward? You Bet!
By Glenda Lagerstedt


High on a hillside over looking the city sits an old brick building. Across the valley where the city nestles is another hill and beyond that another valley. Five mornings a week I leave my home in that other valley and drive over the hill and right up to old brick building I just told you about. I have a reward on my mind.

My reward for making this trip is not a paycheck even though that is a welcome part of the benefits package offered.

I play…um, I mean work… in the infant room of the childcare center on the ground floor.

Just getting in can be a challenge. Wobbly short people gather at the door and grin a welcome, blissfully innocent of the concept that their bodies must move before the door can be opened. Sometimes it can take the assistance of helpful (though amused) staff to gain access to the reward room.

Once inside, the rewards begin in earnest. I lay on the floor and balance one of my wobbly buddies on my tummy. He decides to stand up. Not many of my friends can get away with stomping on my chest and drooling but this one can! Strange how such a socially awkward situation can feel like a reward, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

Turns at the changing table are a given; of course. “Is she just wet?” asks the Keeper of the Charts, pen poised in midair above the cherub’s daily sheet. “Not exactly,” I reply dryly as I begin a cleaning process from the neck down. This is a reward? Well, it is when the tiny culprit smiles and gurgles and sparkles like she has just given her caregiver a wonderful gift and she is ever so pleased with herself.

Not all diaper changes are created equal. Tinier innocents are easy; they lay still, the job is soon done. But in time they grow bigger and become more interested in room activities than in basic hygiene. ‘Who cares about the mobile or the music any more? Who listens to the nice lady or takes comfort in the distractions she offers? Toss the book; toss the rattle…the farther the better. Twist. Turn. Sit up, roll over, wear ‘em out.’ (I am sure this is what they are counseling each other when we think they are saying ‘Mama,’ ‘Dada,’ or ‘up’.) The reward here? Hey, this has got to use calories and firm up muscles, right? I’m going for well-sculptured biceps.

Tummy-aches happen. Soothing words, a dozen different positions, hum a tune, and walk the floor. Rock and rock and rock some more. (Hey, sounds like I have done this so many times that I have become poetic about it.) Suddenly there is a burp too big to have come out of that tiny body. A reward for the caregiver and for baby, too!

Way too soon I will be old. (The uneducated might claim I am already old.) All that aside, though…. If my Lord doesn’t choose to keep my body strong and able, it is my prayer that I can still be well enough to rock babies. I joke to friends that if my health fails, instead of going into a nursing home I want to be shipped to Romania so I can live out my time rocking them in one of those orphanages I’ve read about. That probably won’t happen. But I will consider it a great reward if I can rock some babies somewhere… right up till the time I leave for my Final Reward.

Member Comments
Member Date
Corinne Smelker 10/04/04
Oh, I love the out of the box thinking that you have here! Love the descriptions of the "wobblies"!
Lynda Lee Schab 10/04/04
Loved it! Love the title, love the word-play, love the humor.
What a blessing you are! Those "wobblies" are getting a great big reward too! :-)
Excellent entry!
Lucian Thompson10/04/04
Glenda, What a way to go! Rocking babies has got to be a real joy. I love it when they lie on your shoulder and grip you with those precious little clutching hands. Well done!
L.M. Lee10/06/04
what a sweet story! I'm so glad God gives us all different kinds of loves. I think babies are cool, but I'm so awkward around them...give me a room full of teenages! I can handle those wobbling bodies! ha!
Teresa Lee Rainey10/06/04
Oh Glenda!! I agree with Cori here, this is great out-of-the-box thinking and a wonderful article! Babies are so precious. Makes me want to go out and find me one to rock! That is a great reward.
Joanne Malley10/07/04
What a sweet article! Yes, babies (and children) often leave us with many rewards we are sometimes blinded to. They remind us that rewards can be found at unexpected times.
Phyllis Inniss10/09/04
Glenda, this is so beautiful. When you can find humour in the activities you love and enjoy doing, that in itself a great reward. I enjoyed your article tremendously. BLessings.