I love watching how kids interact. At certain ages and stages a lot of their communication is nonverbal we have a few kids in our toddler class that are between the ages of 12-18 months. While most of the time this age hasn't reached the stage of really playing with other kids, they will usually play well along side other children, separate and in their own little world.
While playing outside this afternoon, while enjoying the last bits of summer weather, I watched as 3 of these children played their own version of a peek-a-boo game around the plastic play house. One child would stand outside the window as the other too would stand inside. The insiders would push out the shutters to see the child on the outside. The child on the outside would attempt to close them and toddle around to the door and peek in without tipping over with excitement and anticipation of the other's responses. The 2 on the inside would giggle with joy as they peered out the door, then race back to pop the sutters back out. They continued this game for quite some time, as their din of laughter, giggles and shrieks rose to keep up with the game, only to be abruptly haulted when the one child noticed his parent arrived.
And as I watched the joy in this simply nonverbal game it brought back memories of the many simple I played with the children in the streets of Peru. Two girls stand out at first thought. Neither of their names I ever heard. The first was a small maybe 5 year old girl, that came and sat on my lap after our drama. The only people who came forward for the net call were the children, and it was my groups turn to stay with that group. In my broken Spanish I would always ask some simple questions to the kids to break the ice. This group was a little unusually quite. This one girl came and sat on my lap though. I had camo paint around only one eye (this was my drama makeup for the part I played) and the little girl began to touch the paint. When she realized it was like makeup and would come off she started to spread it. This brought a little smile over her face. Then she touched my lip and tried to reapply it like lipstick. This made her burst out into giggles, along with the other children watching her. Afterwards my group leader looked at me, laughed and said lets try and not let every group of kids today play in your face paint. I had it all over my face, nothing resembling I started with.
The second little girl was a street vendor and maybe 7 or 8 years old. I had run into this little girl on 2 different occasions in the same spot. She pleaded with me the second time to buy a fake rose, I told her I had no money, but decided to make some small talk with her and the conversation changed quickly. She was no longer a little girl desperate to sell these flowers, but someone actually cared enough to stop and have a conversation with her. She light up. And we sat down and she sat real close then moved onto my lap. We started to laugh and I tickled her a bit, and then she really had a beautiful smile. I was with a group and we were wandering around a shopping area and she followed me for quite some time. But too quickly it was time for me to go. She gave me the biggest hug and smile, and as she turned I think it was only then she remembered why she was there. Her mission was suppose to be selling something, the same thing I'm sure she did day in and day out, but for the short Tim she got to enjoy being a kid, smiling, laughing and having a fun time.
While I may not know their names or ever see those beautiful girls again, they wrote on my hearts with their joy, and they will not soon be forgotten.