You chuckled and watched them for a bit before talking to the mum.
“We’ll be done by 12pm. You’re welcome to stay if you like?”
“Oh… it’s ok, I’ll go and then come back, she seems happy so it’s fine,” she said before sneaking away.
As she left, the next lady turned up with 18 month old twin boys.
They had no trouble leaving their mum and ran over as soon as they saw the volleyball cart and sent balls flying everywhere as they fought over a ball to have each.
“Uh… energetic, aren’t they?” you said to the mum.
“If someone just did away with me right now, it would end all my pain and suffering,” she said in a tired voice.
“Uh… ok, you go and rest, and I’ll keep them entertained for 2 hours so you can have a break,” you said sympathetically to her, “just quickly… before you go, what are their names?”
“The one in the blue shirt is Goro and the one in the red shirt is Kyo,” she said, “if not, they’ll answer to each other’s names so don’t worry.”
“Oh… right,” you said looking to where your cart had been upturned and balls were rolling everywhere while the twin boys wrestled over one ball in particular.
You were about to say something to the mum but she had already left so you turned back to your small team.
“1… Mio, 2… Koemi, 3 and 4… Goro, Kyo, and 5…”
Just then a loud voice called happily.
“VollEE ball, mummy!”
You looked, and there was this little girl who ran through the door larger than life and jumped from the verandah and down onto the ground.
“Hi!” she announced loudly to your daughter, “I’m Emi!”
“Wowowbow!” Koemi replied happily, showing off her volleyball.
“Emi loves vollEE Ball too!”
“Emi! Wait, sweetheart,” her mum called as she dragged herself through the doors with bags falling off her arms and her ponytail pulled to one side with bits sticking out everywhere.
“Oh… hi” you greeted her, “Emi has already introduced herself to the others,” you chuckled and helped the lady with her bags.
“Ok. I have her water, food, emergency contact numbers, change of clothes and some extra things in case you need them. She eats at 10:30am and starts with the strawberries in her pink container first. Then she can have a banana but make sure she peels it open with 4 sections otherwise it’s uneven and it might fall out of her hand…” The lady continued on with her very rigid schedule and tedious rituals, and then, after you managed to calm her down, she left her bags, and headed off.
“Ok….” You sighed, turning around to see what the kids were doing.
They were running everywhere.
Goro and Kyo- the twin boys -were chasing each other with the balls and trying to throw them at each other.
Mio and your girl were carrying the volleyballs around while looking at the flowers along the garden fence.
And Emi was trying to punt the ball over the volleyball net.
“Hmmm,” you hummed out loud, “well… the others seem to be happy so I’ll work with Emi now and then once I have her set up and practicing I’ll call the other kids into line.”
And so you headed over to Emi.
“Hey!” you said brightly, “do you want me to throw the ball to you and you receive?”
“What’s that?” she asked curiously.
“I’ll show you,” you said happily, “hold your arms like this ok?”
You crouched in front of her and gently pulled her arms together so that you could show her the correct way to receive a volleyball and then got the small sized volleyball and gently booped it on her arms.
“Ok?” You asked her.
“Again!” she said brightly.
So you dropped to your knees and held the ball a little higher and dropped it directly onto her outstretched arms.
“Ok?” you asked, “don’t let the ball fall through! That’s it!”
“Again! Again!” Emi giggled.
“Me? Goro!” One of the 18 month old twins asked with conviction as he marched over and stood between Emi and you and presented his ball to you for you to do the same to him.
“Ok, Goro, just a second, I’m just showing Emi how to receive.”
“GORO!” he demanded, shoving the ball into your chest- as you were still kneeling on the ground.
“Ok, wait!” you said sharply.
“Kyo turn,” little Kyo said, running over and pressing the ball into your arm.
“Mummy? Play?” Koemi asked as she, with Mio toddling behind her, walked over to see what was going on.
“Ok! Everyone line up!” you called, “line… get in a, no, Mio, not over there, we’re lining up now so I can— Emi, please don’t hit Goro with the ball. Koemi, sweetheart, let’s stand you next to Kyo— Goro! No! We don’t hit each other…”
The place had fallen apart, and you clutched to your hands to your head and silently screamed as the kids melted down around you.
Just then Mr Totoru called out from the verandah.
“Watermelon!” he called invitingly, “come and get some!”
The kids all stopped immediately and turned and ran towards him, letting you catch your breath for 2 seconds.
“Oh my god,” you thought with distress as you looked at the time and saw it was 10:45am already, “I suck at this, we hardly got anything done?!”
The look on your face must have said it all and Mr Totoru waited until all the kids were eating happily then walked over to you.
You’ve taken on a lot,” he said knowingly.
“I thought things would be going a lot differently,” you said sadly as you looked at the ground.
“I think this has been a raving success,” he said kindly, “the first few lessons will just be introductory, the kids are getting used to you and you’re getting used to them, so give yourself some graces.”
“Thanks,” you said sadly.
“They’ll get much better… they’re only little remember.”
You nodded and looked up at them all munching on their watermelon and sighed.
“You’re halfway through the lesson already,” he added, “only a little longer to go and you’ll be done.”
“Thank you, you don’t need to be helping me like this, I’m sorry to have interrupted your day.”
“You must be pulling my leg,” he said with surprise, “it’s lovely to hear the happy sounds of children playing volleyball in my yard, this is a blessing.”
You smiled at him and then turned your attention back on the kids.
“I can do this, I’ll have them training well in no time!”