The gift of a baby

“We can go to the park, or we can go to the Library, or we can go to the car-wash, or we can go to McDonald’s play place” I told the kids.
“McDonald's” They yelled and so we did.

Eevie had bought a dolly that a German neighbor lady had given her, a dolly with a pacifier and a hand made hooded red sweater.
Damon had brought his book, one with stickers of firemen, that he loved.

The fact that it was still hot outside may have had something to do with their decision, as McDonald's not only has fun snacks for kids, it also has a great indoor climbing structure…One they really missed during the past year when it was closed.
When we arrived, I ordered them their “treat” and off they went to play. There were several families there as well.

The kids immediately were having fun climbing in the structure and stopping to take a swig of their drink and a bite of their food. They each had a cookie as well and had chosen to put their “snacks” on the table across from me, closer to the play structure.

Eevie had shared her doll with a friend, and Damon was playing “family” with them when suddenly he burst into tears.
“Eevie, why is Damon crying” I asked.
“Because that boy ate his cookie” she responded.

Where is my cookie?

When Damon came out of the climbing structure, I called him to me and asked him if he would like to go buy another cookie. I gave him my card, and Eevie went with him to the front.
I was surprised that I had not noticed that another child, probably about eight years old, had taken the cookie and eaten most of it. I guess I had been too busy watching the kids playing and having fun.
When Damon returned, I suggested to him that he “share” his cookie with the boy, (the one that the boy had already eaten most of) and he agreed. He went up and put it in front of the kid on the table.
“Jeremiah, don’t eat other people’s cookies” suddenly the mom said from across the room at her table.
“It’s ok, we gave it to him” I said back with a smile.
“OH ok” said the mom, and went on to explain that her son could not “help” it.
I watched Jeremiah enjoying laying on the slide, enjoying the colors and the feel of it, and I understood.

When Eevie and Damon came back down from the climbing structure to get a drink, I explained to them, that there was no reason to get upset because the boy “could not help it” when he took the cookie. “He did not know any better” I said.
I explained how some kids might LOOK older, but that in their thinking, they do not think like older kids..they think more like babies. I said that we do not make fun of them and we are nice to them.
Eevie and Damon listened and then went back to their playing, completely fine with my explanation…and happy with a new cookie.

As the kids played, I noticed that the little girl holding Eevies doll, had never let it go or put it down, and she held it protectively like it was precious gold, the same way a real mommy holds her newborn infant.

It was so sweet to watch. Occasionally she would put a pacifier in the baby’s mouth and pat her hair. I told Eevie to make sure to introduce herself and so she said to the little girl that her name was Eevie and the little girl said her name was Emma. They happily kept on playing

Just then, another family came in, a man with a curly haired little girl. They sat at the table near me, and while this little girl was eating her fries, the man was telling her to finish eating, and she just looked at him smiling. She saw me looking at her and she flashed me the most dazzling, beautiful smile I think I have ever seen.
I went over to the man and tapped him on the shoulder and said “most kids do not get much eating done here, because they want to play…which is why Mcdonalds was smart to give the happy meals a carry “case” so we can bring it home for later”.
He laughed and agreed.

Go ahead and play “Piper” he said. So she did, precariously walking up the slide with her socked feet, showing much dexterity.
At that moment, Eevie came over for another swig of her drink.
“Eevie” I said, “that little girl Emma has not put the doll down even once, and if you want to, you can give her the doll to have forever”.
Eevie stood there a minute, undecided. “Well if I give her MY doll, then we can go buy another one right” she asked ?
“No I said, THAT doll is from Germany and I could not buy her, and her sweater is hand made, BUT you do have lots of other babies at home”.
So without another word, Eevie went over to Emma and offered her the doll to keep, with Emma’s mom protesting (because apparently Emma has a lot of toys and dolls of her own at home). But Emma happily accepted.

That mom, and the man with Piper, and I all got into friendly conversation as Piper joined in the game of “family” with the other kids.

As soon as Emma was told she could “have” the doll to keep, I noticed that she, for the first time, shared it with Piper.

It was a shining example for me, that children learn to do to others, the way that they are treated.

If little children are treated generously and with thoughtfulness and compassion, they will treat others generously and with thoughtfulness and compassion.
The sunlight streaming into the play-place, highlighted the glowing face of Piper, hugging the baby doll. It made me feel so happy to see.

I learned that Emma’s family loves to have pizza on Friday nights at a local place and we might run into them again.
I learned that Pipers mom is a nurse and this was her moms dad, caring for Piper so her mom could work.
Both families were interested and involved with their children and I loved meeting them.

It felt like Christmas. It was like seeing the miracle of what the “gift of a baby” brings, all over again.
We finally left, after Piper left, but not before she demonstrated to us, how she has proudly learned to tie her own shoes.

It was a fun time at McDonald's…and then we went to the library, AND the car wash. The kids love to watch the blue colored suds cover the windows but then all wash off.

A fun day with the family and our world…just like Christmas!

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Melissa Ann Howell Schier

HoustonWorkout on YouTube, mom of five, journalist and artist and conservative who values life.