Well, to give you the short answer, they're 2 months, 2 years, 2 years, 3 years, 3 years, 5 years, almost 6, 7, and 9 years old. But don't worry; they're not all from the same family.
I actually work with four families on a regular basis. Some of them more often than others. Confused yet? Don't worry. It's about to get a lot more ridiculous.
For the purposes of this blog, just in case I want to refer to them later, I'm going to give all these kids names. But since they're not my kids, and I want to protect their privacy, I won't be using their real names.
So the Cannon family has three kids. I work for them Monday through Thursday mornings.
Caleb is three. He loves trains, swings, making friends at the park, playing pretend, and helping take care of his little brother. He's usually very obedient. He calls me Hi-hee.
Miles is two. He loves to throw things, run around, play in the sand, splash in puddles, and eat snacks. He makes the best facial expressions. He's not much of a cuddler, but if he's nervous or tired, he clings to me and I love it. I call him Bug or Buggy most of the time. He calls me Hi-hee, like his brother, or Dedee or sometimes Ma.
Kate is two months old and she's very cute. Right now she stays home with her mom while I take her brothers to the park. Someday I'll start taking care of her too. Maybe by then I'll know her personality better.
The Denkers have two kids. I watch them on Wednesday afternoons.
Miranda is five. She is an artist. She would happily paint all day every day if I let her. She's in kindergarten. She's taking ballet. She loves nature and collecting things. She's a little bit mischievous and likes to be in charge. She likes to make gifts for people. Half the time I leave their house with something Miranda has made for me.
Tyson is two. He likes airplanes, going to the park, and reading books. He will eat almost anything. Sometimes out of nowhere he just says, "Heidi, I love you." I love him too.
The Jensens also have two kids. I watch them all day on Fridays.
Jack will be six in a couple of weeks. Hands down, he is the coolest kindergartener I've ever known. This kid has a mohawk and likes to ride skateboards at the skate park with the teenagers. He is super into Legos and will play them by himself for hours. But when it comes time to clean up, he's a professional at dragging his feet.
Emma is three and she is so adorable. She has curly blonde hair that she sometimes lets me braid. It helps when I let her watch a little TV while I'm doing it. She loves to look at books, even though she can't read. She also likes puzzles, "playing" the piano, and talking. A lot of talking. Like all day long. :)
Then there are the Park girls. I watch them every other Tuesday night.
Samantha is nine. She's obsessed with dragons. Sometimes she pretends she is a dragon. She likes to write and tell stories. And she gives great writing advice, which I am happy to take.
Nicola is seven. She's a total girly girl. We're reading The Penderwicks together and we're both loving it. I've read it before, but it's more fun when you get to read it out loud. Nicola is also very lovey and gives great hugs.
Both Park girls call me Miss Heidi.
Altogether that's nine kids. Five girls, four boys. And each one is my favorite, depending on the day.
Sometimes I wonder what it will be like when I have my own kids (assuming that ever happens). I wonder how I'll feel about my kids and whether or not it will be very different from the way I feel about these kids I have now. I know that I love all the kids I take care of, and I can only imagine that love will be intensified when I'm a parent.
I also know that I've always wanted a big family. I'm the oldest of seven and over the years my ideal number of kids I'd like to have has ranged from 4 to 14, though typically I opt for no more than eight. But the longer I go without getting married, the less likely it is that I'll get to have that kind of family, biologically speaking. So right now I'm extra grateful that I get to be a part of these kids lives, even if it's only temporary and even if I'm not a parent to them. I like that I'm spending this time of my life being a pseudo parent because this is how I remember my mom. She was young when she had me: 24, I think? My mom had five kids by the time she was 30. I didn't want to waste my twenties stuck in an office, not being with kids while I have the energy to have fun with them, just because I happen to be single.
Oh, and speaking of being single... Now might be an appropriate time to announce to you, my blogging audience, that I have recently acquired a boyfriend. Yep. And it's all his fault that I haven't posted in so long. But we're really happy, and that's all I'm going to say about it.