I am the youngest of four, and so I have always loved babies and children – since I never had any little siblings. When I was ten, I started as a mother’s helper for a young mother my family knew. (I was usually home alone during the day, and she needed an extra hand, so it worked out perfectly.) At the time she had 3 children ages 4, 3, and 15 months, and was pregnant. Every day during the summer I went to her house and helped her with housework and laundry, but mostly was a big sister to her children. I played with them so she could get some work done, read them books, got them up from naps, took them to the bathroom, changed diapers, helped prepare lunch… I absolutely loved it. I was basically just another extra set of hands around the house. The mother taught me lots of things about caring for children. I spent the next four summers with her family. In that time she had two more children. (Now she has 8) Her family became like family to me, and I love her children like they are my own brothers and sisters. That was probably the biggest hands-on childcare experience for me. When I was 12, I began regularly working in my church nursery with the 1-3 year olds, and I did that on and off for 5 years. I have also helped out with various children’s programs. I was a regular babysitter for a family in my community for about 6 or 7 months. They were a family with 5 children, ranging from 3 years old to 10. The youngest little girl was physically disabled, and the two boys in the middle had mild autism. Occasionally I would watch all five children for long periods of time, although my main job was usually only with the littlest one. Other than that, I help out with children when I can. At 14 I got my “babysitting license” where I learned all the safety precautions for babies and learned infant CPR. (It was been YEARS so I can’t guarantee that I remember everything, but nonetheless I was certified.) These are some of my main experiences with children.