Tick Tock

By Rachel Vallette

Teen Intern 2014/15

Paid Staff 2015/16, 2016/17

“Baby Room” Family ESL Program


Tick Tock Tick Tock

We are all trying to soak in the last few minutes of calm before the door opens and chaos begins. I am laying on the floor looking at the fluorescent lights. The room is set up, clean and ready to go.  That is the last time we will see the floor for the night.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

There is a knock at the door and they all come flooding in. Children already crying, some ready to run and others still resting their eyes from the car ride.  A mom passes me her child, her baby and I can see the fear in her eyes. The fear of leaving her child with someone she doesn’t know and who does not speak her language. I start to bounce and won’t stop until I hand the baby back to his mom in three long hours. I hear a crash and whip my head around. The other kids have already gone and emptied the baskets of toys.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

I look at the clock and it’s only seven. There is screaming in my ear. I have to make two bottles, get tissues, and read a book, all while bouncing. Non stop bouncing. The next two hours  I am moving nonstop but time moves very slowly. Throughout the night I barely sit down. I run from child to child trying to care for their every need.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Four bottles made,  nine diapers changed,  five tears wiped,  ten books read, and many songs sung.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

The floor is no longer in sight.  Toys are spread out everywhere. As I walk to the next child still holding the first in my arms bouncing for his comfort, I trip on yet another block. There are cheerios on the floor after falling out of little hands. It’s loud, it’s crazy, and I love it.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

Parents are starting to come back from class. One mom opens the door and the children all start to cry. We move as fast as we can getting each child back to their mother and telling mom about the night. There are many smiles and everyone is happy.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

The night is over. All the babies are gone. It is now time to clean, and we all move as fast as we can. In no time at all the room is clean and the lights are off. We close the door to a now quiet room. It will be waiting for us for another night.

Tick Tock Tick Tock

My job is the best part of my week. It’s crazy and it’s loud but the people are amazing. I have learned so much being there. I admire these mothers who know little English and have never left their baby. They are handing over their prize possession to me, so they can go to class and learn English and have a better life. It is the best feeling.  At the end of the year I get to see these moms who now know English.  We now have a relationship and a community. The smiles on the faces at the end of the night will always have an imprint on my heart.

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