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Conversational Interview With Melissa Little


I'm not really sure how Melissa and I became friends. Beginnings are often abstract and fuzzy for me, and so that something that didn't exist before feels suddenly as if it always has. I do know it started mostly on her side, though. She beta read some of my books and fangirled over every line in such a flattering way that I couldn't help loving her. Then she became enthralled with some of my beliefs. After that, I would often see a message from her, "So what do you think about ..." and the question was of the nature that sometimes I'd have to think about it for a while before replying properly. 

Because of her abundance of questions, she asked if she might interview me for her blog. Of course, I said yes. But then she saw that I also love to interview people. "Why not do a double interview?" she suggested. 

I loved that idea. 
Here you can find part one of our double interview over at her blog. Some of it got quite deep and angsty, as we were talking about being children and how we wish to raise our children. But there are also a few places you may laugh. Overall, I think you'll enjoy it. 

You can find Melissa on Wattpad where she is very active as Nightwraith17. And on Instagram as MlLittleAuthor.

Also, make sure to check out her book, The Book of Secrets
Also on Amazon
I am currently reading it, and it's a lovely, unique fantasy so far that I've been adoring since line one. 

With formalities finished, I now present part two of our double interview. 
Keturah: Did you have much experience with kids before nannying? When did you start nannying/ babysitting?

Melissa: I did not have any experience with kids until my good friends’ mom had a baby boy in 2011. I absolutely fell in love. We were great pals until I moved away when he was three and a half. Soon after moving, I began babysitting for a four-year-old boy who lived down the street from me. There were also two young kids next door to me, and our houses are SUPER close together (almost townhouses) so I automatically developed a relationship with them just by sharing a space basically.

In 2017/2018 I nannied for a larger homeschool family and would help with the lessons. The kids were SUPER enjoyable, but it ended up being like your first Au Pair family. I also babysat a lot for a foster family who had a total of twenty-five kids in and out. That was a great experience.

In 2018 I began working in a daycare. I had a classroom of eighteen to twenty-four month-olds. The facility was run badly and broke DHR rules (I had too many kids on my own), but it taught me a lot about my capabilities, and I enjoyed the work. I worked there for five and a half hours every day.

I also did VBS and worked in the nursery at my previous churches, and now I teach first-grade Sunday School

Last March, one of the little girls in my class was pulled from the daycare and I began nannying her and her sister. I did that full-time (fifty hours a week) until October, and now I do it part-time.

Now please excuse me while I stop my dog from swallowing plastic.

I’m backπŸ˜‚

K: Haha. So, how old were you in 2011?

M: I was fifteen.

K: Nice!

M: I also babysit for a few families in my neighborhood when I have spare weekends. I babysat once for an eight-year-old girl with selective mutism, which is a psychological condition in which your brain literally prevents you from speaking. She was honestly an angel and we figured out how to communicate right away.

K: Ahh that must have been such a sweet experience

M: I guess there’s no point in asking about your experience with kids, given there was always a baby in your house.

K: Hahahaha well you could still ask about the experience. But as for the starting point/ age ... I don't remember a time where I didn't have a baby on my hip, tearing out my hair or leaking its

diaper all over me.

Hyperbole of course πŸ˜‰

M: Ah yes, our old pal, hyperbole. When did you start taking care of kids outside of your family?

K: My dream job was to be a babysitter. Don't ask me why; I was a crazy kid. But mom never would let leave the house alone. Finally, when I was eleven, my aunt asked me to babysit my cousin, a new baby. I did so at my house. I was so proud and happy and to this day he's one of my favorite cousins. I stayed up late at night with him, after he fell asleep and made $10, I think. Felt so rich.

Then I babysat a couple kids while the mom worked when I was seventeen. I had them often all day and made like $20 a day lol.

When I was eighteen I started babysitting three boys in our town, an older brother and twins. Those kids are my favorite. I had them three-five days a week and was paid a more fair wage. Plus it was my first time leaving the house to work alone, though often my mom still had me take a sibling with me. After that, I would occasionally babysit other neighbor kids, too. In recent years, I've often babysat this family and another family with a couple of my siblings all together, often having six-eight or more children.

It's hard to think that once mom would hardly let me cross the street alone to babysit another family, and here I am overseas taking care of children.

M: Is babysitting a job you want to continue in the future?

K: Absolutely not. I hate kids now. I even wrote a blog post on it. It doesn't make good money. I love the kids I've watched because I've bonded with most of them, but the only kids I want to invest in after this are my own kids.

M: What happened to make you hate kids? πŸ˜‚

K: I realized I couldn't get rich that way πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ and that it wasn't the only way to find independence πŸ˜‚ oh, and that most kids are brats and as the babysitter, you can't discipline by your methods.

How do you handle children? Are you a fun person, always playing? Are you on your phone? Are you strict? Or ...?

M: I love kids. I actually could go the route of teaching in a public school one day. I love it when I go with the girls I nanny to their school events. I love that atmosphere. I wouldn’t say I’m strict. A lot of parents these days are permissive. It’s now considered harmful to tell your child they’re being bossy. There is a fine line between being gentle and having no authority at all. My mom walked that line. I always ask myself, what would my mom do? Because she had so much patience and grace but set the expectation that we would obey her and be respectful. But she also listened to our side.

Sometimes I get on my phone in the afternoon when I’m just with the eight-year-old and she’s watching a Disney Channel movie. You can only stomach so many of those. But she loves when I show interest in what she enjoys; that seems to be her love language. So I typically watch whatever with her. I even learned to appreciate the Descendants trilogy, haha. I love playing with kids. I don’t mind making a mess. We do a lot of painting and sensory play and water play. It’s more important to bond and have fun than worry about a mess. We can always vacuum and mop.

I also love to take the kids places. We go to the river, we do the trampoline park and playgrounds. The feed store in town has baby chicks, turkeys, and ducklings in the spring and we always make that our free field trip.

K: I agree with what you say about being firm, yet hearing a child's side. My parents were very good that way, too.

And I love to watch movies with the boys I watch in the States mostly to make fun of stuff. Which makes them laugh, join in on the making fun of, or get annoyed and say, "That's not stupid," but still laugh.
M: Hahaha this girl is serious about her movies.

K: So are the boys. But I don't like movies, so I'm all about showing kids how to see through unrealism (is that a word?)

M: Haha sure it can be a word. I let them have their enjoyment. I remember being a kid and liking ridiculous stuff. They’ll grow out of it way too soon anyway.

K: I’d rather play in a sand pile, under a water hose, on the trampoline, or get them to help me clean. The oldest boy loves helping me clean and told me once, "I'm a mini-Keturah!" (Because I also clean houses)

M: Haha so cute!

K: I let them have their enjoyment too, I just add more depth to it lol

M: I love playing outside too. I was on the trampoline on Friday. And in the summer (which lasts like eight months here) I love getting a plastic pool. I also have a slip-n-slide at my house for when kids come over.

K: I'm so jealous! We have like two months of summer in Montana

M: I honestly would not survive. I’ve been here too long. πŸ˜‚

K: Often we're cooped inside. So we play games, with toys, or watch movies. A few times I've done projects like tye dying and making silly putty. And of course, I don't always make fun of their movies and often I just tune out the cartoons and knit or embroider ... Which lead me to teach the boys a bit of both.

M: This would make a gigantic mess but I really want to make rainbow rice with the kids πŸ˜‚

K: Ahhh I believe kids should make messes. Then learn to clean them up πŸ˜‰

M: Besides kid-related jobs, what else have you done? I’ve done several other things.

K: I'm a full-time house cleaner, with another girl who also works with me. When I was fifteen I worked for an Amish lady at her greenhouse selling plants, but for free. I occasionally work for another greenhouse now and have worked with a lady who caretakes vacation homes. When I was younger, I often helped people with yard work and odds chores with my siblings. We were happy to get $5 for a day’s labor πŸ˜‚ Now I clean five days (sometimes six days) a week, eight-ten hours a day. I started my cleaning business when I was sixteen, but it's really picked up these last three or so years.

M: Oh I bet the greenhouse is fun.

K: I've also done some boot designing. And I've custom sewed, embroidered, and knitted, including bridal wear.

M: I love gardening.

K: It can be rewarding, for sure. What other jobs do you do?

M: I didn’t work in high school or early college besides pet sitting and odd jobs and volunteering at the humane society. I wish I’d been on a payroll sooner, but oh well. Technically my first job began when I was 18 when my mom opened a pet sitting and dog walking business. This kept us all EXTREMELY busy, like a full-time job. The business lasted about three years before we had to close it down due to my mom’s health issues (which are now resolved). I still pet-sit for a few of our old customers but not anything close to like what it used to be. We’d have ten or more dogs at once.

Within that time I worked at a library for over a year, which was great fun and inspired my book that got published.

Now, I still nanny for the family I’ve been with for a year (only after school now), I am an Usborne consultant, and I write for Kid Lit Exchange as a volunteer. Hopefully, once I graduate in June my life will look totally different. I’m eager to get back to the workforce.

Oh, and I worked at a retirement home for one day. πŸ˜‚

K: Wow you're busy! My younger sister does a lot of pet sitting. I used to do that somewhat along with house sitting. But as she likes animals better than me, I let her take over.

Retirement home sounds so fun! I'm sure you hear a lot of fun stories from people. Can you share a favorite?

M: Well I only worked there for literally one day. I quit after one day πŸ˜‚

K: I missed the one day lol Why did you quit? Horror story instead of a fun story?

M: They were totally unwilling to work with my class schedule. I was going to work in the kitchen. They hired me saying they’d work with my hours but they didn’t.

K: Ah too bad

M: I decided I’m much better with kids than the opposite end of the spectrum, anyway.

K: To be honest, I like old people better πŸ˜‚ I love talking to them. But I like talking to kids, too.

Old people are just so interesting. But then so are the kids I've watched. I've learned a lot from kids and old people I suppose πŸ˜‚

M: Yes elderly are interesting if their minds are sharp.

K: Very true

M: I get road raged by old men a LOT so I don’t feel so affectionate πŸ˜‚

K: Hahaha. I love muttering "stupid idiot" under my breath quite violently whenever I get road raged. Closest I ever come to cursing and my mom thinks it's awful

M: I’m pen pals with an 87-year-old lady in Texas who hikes and runs 5Ks.

K: Whoa!!! Now that's goals

M: What do you hope to be doing in, say, five years from now?

K: I'm afraid I'm bad at looking ahead timeline-wise. I have goals ... But they aren’t set in years. I'll be nearly thirty in five years. I do hope to be published before I'm thirty, and I’d love to be positively involved in politics in a way that's doing large-scale good, whether through journalism or as a governor or who knows. If I have kids, that will slow some of that down as I plan to homeschool and give them my full attention. Otherwise, I'll keep pursuing the path and purpose I currently have: to live life fully and to write about it so that others might, too.

M: So you’d like to be governor?

K: Maybe πŸ˜‚ Or a lawyer. But I also don't want to get drug into a political system of corruption. So I'm not sure about that.

M: Wow what a huge responsibility. I love women in politics. I’m all for that. I’d like a woman president. Just not AOC πŸ˜‚ Law school is hard.

K: I don't want a woman president. I want a godly president. Sadly, I don't know any men or women that fit that bill. My ultimate dream is to marry a man and to make him president.

M: That’s a big goal too. Wait how could you make your husband president? πŸ˜‚

K: I mean encourage him toward that, and support him and help him pursue that. They say behind every great man is a woman. I want to be that woman πŸ˜‚

M: When I was little I wanted to live in the White House. I was so jealous of Obama’s two daughters when he got elected πŸ˜‚ I had a kid’s book about the White House and was bug-eyed.

K: I actually never wanted to live in the White House. I just want to serve the USA. But to be honest, I'd really love to clean the White House.

It's a housecleaner ultimate dream.

M: I need a small house. I hate cleaning. πŸ˜‚

K: Haha. How many books have you written?

M: That’s hard because I only consider three “books” and the rest are unpublishable stories.

I have the one that’s published, the one coming out in August, and hopefully, the third one will come out someday.

K: Oh wow! But that's still amazing. Do you have a heart to WHY you write that connects all your stories in some way?

M: The stories are actually a trilogy. So they are connected.

K: Hahaha. Well, then a reason in general to WHY you write

M: It’s different for everything.

K: Such a nice answer ;b Very informative πŸ˜‚

M: I write my short stories for fun. I write my blog on Wattpad because that’s where I have friends who care about my life and my thoughts. I wrote my first book because I had so much anxiety I needed to process. I wrote my third book as a response to what was happening to the children in Syria and the things I saw on TV.

K: Oh wow. That escalated nicely

M: I was typing. You didn’t wait long enough πŸ˜‚

K: So, do you consider it important to be involved and informed with the happenings around us and beyond?

M: Yes I do. Because the world is our home. We all share a home.

K: I love you πŸ˜‚πŸ’– Do you feel that you're alone in this sentiment? Or do you think many feel as you do?

M: I feel connected to people around the world because we’re all loved by God. I care about what happens to them. I do think many people feel the same way I do. I see a lot of good in humanity

There is a lot of division but that is on the surface.

K: Interesting perspective. Have you heard of Candace Owens?

M: No I haven’t.

K: She sees a lot of good as you do, and often gives me hope. I can be too cynical sometimes, as I see a lot of bad and know too many apathetic people, sadly many of them Christians.

She has am AMAZING podcast. I don't agree with all her views, but her podcasts leave me inspired

M: To be honest, I don’t think a soul in this world had a better perspective than Mister Rogers. I try to think like he did. I’m naturally inclined to think kind of like that, anyway, but he inspires me even more.

K: But I find it encouraging to have contemporaries to be inspired by, too. Otherwise, I get to feeling depressed. That all the good people are dead and of the past.

M: But their spirit never leaves. You can take it upon yourself to carry their spirit.

K: Do you mean that literally?

M: I mean it like the good you do outlives what you do. People will do good because you did well.

K: And yes, I suppose I want to find those who carry the spirit of good ideals so that I feel it's not dead.

M: Also I’ve only listened to one podcast in my entire life. My ADHD can’t do them πŸ˜‚ I need visuals.

K: Oh wow. Well, she has videos too;) I just find the podcast easier to listen to while I clean.

M: I can’t even watch a Ted Talk. I love TedEds. Five minutes long and animated. That makes sense while cleaning. I could probably do podcasts while cleaning.

I did do an audiobook once while working out and sewing.

K: Oh wow. I'm addicted to podcasts and audiobooks. It might be the real reason I love cleaning houses.

M: Haha it’s a good way to multitask. You can enjoy a book while making money.

K: And yes I listen to them while I sew too. Exactly. I say, theoretically, I'm getting paid to go to college. No degree, no debt, but a brain and money all the same.

M: Have you ever seen the free courses offered by Hillsdale? You can take so many courses for free.

K: Noooo

M: I tried once but I had too much schoolwork on top of it.

K: I'll have to look into those once I'm home

M: I think you’d like Hillsdale. Rush Limbaugh promotes them. It promotes thinking and freedom.

[here I accidentally call Melissa on FB messenger, a blunder I make a couple times a day to many people]

K: That was an accident πŸ˜‚ I'll certainly look into them

M: How did you first start writing as a child? Do you remember the day you started?

K: Nope. I've always written. Though... actually maybe it was in one of my early school books. I think I wrote a story on one of the founding fathers. And then I wrote and illustrated my own stories. And then in my early teens, I wrote trash fiction and angsty but gorgeous poetry. And then when I was sixteen I buckled down and wrote my masterpieces and practices alike: all my dozens of short stories and handfuls of novels and novellas.

M: I relate so hard to trash fiction.

K: Haha

M: I used to make my characters curse and then I’d censor it in case my mom ever saw it.

K: Hahaha. It was just trash because it had no purpose. Aside from exploration. But nothing so drastic as cursing πŸ˜‚

M: Mine had no purpose either. Extremely loose plots.

K: Yes. So loose. Is there a country you want to visit?

M: I’d like to go to Africa.

K: Oh, me too! Especially Egypt

M: It’s weird to me that Egypt is in Africa. They seem like two different places.

K: Once I had an argument with someone about it. They were so shocked it was hilarious. Yes, I mean it's all so close but feels like different parts of the world

M: Oh, I agree. I mean look at South Korea/North Korea. Two different worlds.

K: True. But isn't this the story of the whole world including in the States? Montana and Missouri are such different places

M: I realized the other day I might never leave the country in my life and that I would be okay with that. I’d be okay with a simple life.

K: Leaving the country has made me appreciate simple life more.

M: People in Europe live with much less excess than people in America and I really respect that.

K: Well, I'm not sure about that. It depends on family to family, to be honest. I've seen more food waste in Germany than I have around the people I grew up with. And my family also re-used a lot more. Plus, second-hand stores really aren't a thing here. Europe prides itself on recycling and showering less and using less water overall. But I'd say we each have our own values and levels of excess. I value cleanliness and believe water ought to be used. And I love thrift stores. But we can definitely do with more recycling in the States.

Not to say Germans are dirty. But they do get paranoid about using water.

And my first Au Pair family would get upset with me for cleaning too much or washing dishes too often because it wasted water, they said.

That may have been a bit of a rant haha.

M: That’s true. I grew up in a middle class if not slightly upper-middle-class area. So I saw a lot of waste and excess. I wasn’t specifically meaning water, I meant material things and food.

K: Class matters, for sure. And city life versus country life. I think country people tend to waste less when they work for it. Also, I never fully understood the term first world problems until coming to Germany. The Things they obsess over are so trivial and hilarious.

M: It’s funny how culture is so different.

K: Yes! Overall I love it and find it fascinating!

M: Okay I’m just gonna ask you what I genuinely want to know since I can’t think of a nice interview question

K: Ok haha. Thanks for being honest πŸ˜‚

M: We talked about women in politics, so what would you think of a woman who chose not to get married? And what would you think of a woman who wanted to adopt a child while single?

You know how my author name is M. L. Little.

I’m Melissa Loaded questions Little

K: I think choosing to not get married is presumptuous. Unless you're doing it for religious reasons like to be a nun, most women who choose mot to marry are doing so out of a feministic/ selfish spirit of "I do not want to be tied to another human, but follow my OWN dreams". Some women say they are following God's calling. But that's like how I believed I could only write or be a wife. God doesn't give us a dream that excludes loving (after all, it’s the greatest commandment). I think it's perfectly acceptable and even recommended to live life fully single and content. I think it's equally dangerous to "husband-hunt". But to say “I will not marry” is closing doors to possibilities, and we should never do that, except for in VERY rare circumstances.

M: Makes perfect sense

K: As for being single and adopting.

Normally I think it's not wise. A child NEEDS two parents; a father and a mother. And there are many other ways single women can serve and care for children without becoming their mother. But again, there are rare exceptions. Such as the woman who finds the baby on her doorstep, or in a dumpster. Or maybe her best friend died and her five children are orphaned and the mother specifically asked that her friend care for the children and not let them be separated into foster homes. A woman is to love those children that God placed in her arms, whether she has a husband or not. Imperfect situations often require less than perfect solutions. But good can still grow from that.

M: But a single woman really shouldn’t become a foster parent? In your opinion?

K: I wouldn't advise it. Fostering is a bit different as you aren't actually adopting, but loving children for a time. But yes, normally I think it's most ideal for a child to have both parents. Of course, this is only my personal opinion. And again, I do know of stories of women who were able to raise broken children alone. But statistically, children are more successful with a father and a mother.

K: Let's say you live to be 110 years old, on your deathbed, what do you hope your last memory will be?

M: Eating all the junk food I want because I’m 110

K: Haha I meant the best memory. What will you be relishing as you end your life and say, "Goodbye and hello”. Or hope to be relishing. Looking over your life, and seeing that ONE time.

M: I’ll be relishing the memory of my 110th birthday, when I gave up the healthy lifestyle that enabled me to live to 110, yelled “HAHA SUCKERS I MADE IT,” and ate a gallon of Bluebell ice cream with a spoon. What a day it will be.

K: Haha. You're hilarious.

M: Applause for our interview skills

K: Yes πŸ˜‚ and for making such a beautiful question into something so flippant πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Well, thanks for having such a fun idea! I'm now off to bed

P.S.

[but then we made some jokes with stickers and gifs, of Princess Bride and blue cows. And so there was one last quetsion]

M: Do you have a favorite movie?

K: Mickey Mouse or Pooh Bear. Or Batman. Or Newsies. Or Green Fried Tomatoes.

M: Oh, I’ve never seen Fried Green Tomatoes, even though the author of the book is from Alabama

K: Oh, you should. Hilarious.

M: I want to see it and also Steel Magnolias

K: I haven't seen that. Now I'm going to bed πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Comments

  1. Great interview. Haha, I found it very interesting!! :)

    astordetective.blogspot.com

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