chalked hippopotamus

Most of you know I watch children for a living. I call myself a nanny because I think it sounds better than "I babysit every day for five hours". For the past two years I have been nannying for the same family. The eldest's name is Lauren, and she has a shirt with a hippopotamus on it.

This hippopotamus lives in a hot air balloon and spends most of his time counting the clouds. One, two, three. Same age as Lauren. Yesterday, Lauren greeted me at the door bubbling over with excitement about how she had found a baby spider in the playroom and she needed me to come see it. As soon as that thrilling adventure was over, she informed me that she had received chalk over the weekend. Lauren can't tell time yet, but she knows her numbers. She knows that her baby sister Caroline goes to sleep at 3:00, and that we do not go outside until Caroline is asleep. When the first number on the digital clock is a 3, Caroline must immediately be put to sleep, so that we can begin our grown up adventuring.

Caroline was in bed by 3:01, and Lauren and I put on our shoes, sandals without socks (that makes Lauren happy because "my feet can breathe better when they aren't wearing their hippo socks."), and headed out to their monstrous driveway. First we were just doodling. Me drawing hearts, her drawing squares, which she named "My buttercream roses". Quite imaginative, really. But I decided we needed to do something more significant. I started to chalk Lauren's hippopotamus.

I chalked it, and Lauren helped to make the patterns on the balloon. When we were finished it wasn't personal enough. "Miss Amanda, can you write 'Lauren' up by this hippopotamus? L-A-U-R-E-N. Right up here." We would hate for someone to think that this hippopotamus belongs to Caroline. I understood, and so I wrote L-A-U-R-E-N big enough to see out the window of a passing airplane. When I finished, we colored them in. I drew hearts inside of each letter and she connected the hearts with lines. It was quite charming really. I know this is a seemingly insignificant story, but Lauren said, "I liked this day." and sometimes it's the insignificant stories that mean the most in the end.

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