In our house, everybody contributes. Lira empties the trash can, Zana straightens the shoes and Dave does whatever I tell him to. So when I heard there was a job opening for a baby I just knew Lorik had to apply. It’s a teaching job with tough qualifications. The applicant must have been born this past summer, and…. um, well that may have been the only qualification. Whew- nailed it! During the interview we learned more: Lorik would come to the school once a month until his first birthday and teach empathy to 4th graders. It’s an anti-bullying program developed in Canada that has gained popularity in New Zealand, Ireland and parts of the U.S.
According to the Roots of Empathy website, kids who take part in the program are “kinder, more cooperative, and more inclusive of others, and are less aggressive and less likely to bully others.” I wasn’t really sure how a baby could make all of that happen, but if anyone can do it Lorik can. Have you seen that face??
On his first day, Lorik didn’t nap all morning and I was pretty sure we were going to get fired when he had a meltdown in front of the class. I put him in the Ergo and did a few laps around the school so he could sleep for a quick 15 minutes. He was groggy but perked up right away when we walked into the classroom serenaded by the class with a welcome song. Each student smiled, said hello and touched his toes. He smiled back, quietly taking it all in.
The instructor who runs the program asked the kids for their observations “he’s calm, he’s happy.” They talked about how they could tell what he was feeling. “He’s making cooing sounds, he’s smiling.” Then we put him on his tummy and the kids sang “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” He instantly put his head down ready for a nap and I asked for volunteers to come home with me and sing him to sleep on demand.
The instructor decided that was enough of a good thing so she flipped him over and started “rowing” his legs. She calls it rowing, I call it bicycle kicks. Tomato/To-mah-to, it’s really just a recipe for a very loud fart. The class giggled and commented on how loud it was. He takes after his father, so you can only imagine.
Lorik was then propped up to face the class again as we talked about his height, weight and how many hours he (doesn’t) sleep at night. I’m still not sure how this whole thing works, but I will say that I have never in the history of ever seen a bunch of 4th graders speak so softly and sweetly for that long.
When I brought Lorik back to pick up his sisters at school later, it was like I’d walked in with One Direction. “OMG It’s Baby Lorik! I know Baby Lorik! Can I say hi to Baby Lorik! What’s he doing? Is he sleeping? Is he happy? Is he farting?” Lorik, in true celebrity fashion, just stared through his “babiators” without giving them the satisfaction that he even noticed them.