It’s Not All Mary Poppins


Not too long ago, someone asked me about my turnover. It seemed that I had a lot of children coming and going. Well, right now it seems I do!

Normally, children stay for three years: from their entry to daycare at a year, to the fall they start junior kindergarten, at age three-four. I’ve had a couple of kids skip JK and stay with me till junior kindergarten, so happy were their parents with my services.

Last summer, when a space came empty, I filled it with a three-year-old, a highly unusual occurrence, given that kids this age have generally been happily ensconced in daycare for a couple of years already. Taking on that three-year-old in addition to the two three-year-olds I already had, meant I’d have a three-kid turnover this fall. That’s the nature of the business, sometimes.

Being well-prepared, I filled those three spaces: Katie would take one by coming on full-time instead of the occasional day here and there; and interviews over the past couple of months have given me Timmy, to whom you’ve all been introduced, and Malaika, whom you have yet to meet.

So I’m good for the fall, right? My enrollment was Katie, three in the fall; Zach, three and a half by then; Nigel (upgraded from “baby”), 21 months, and Timmy and Malaika, both a year old.


Katie’s parents bailed, as you know. Two days later, Zach’s parents told me that they have arranged a combination of part-time and at-home work so they can be with him before he heads off to school in a year. I can’t fault that thinking! Zach is a lucky boy!

But does it put me in a bind? Yup. While I though I was full, I turned away a couple of interviews. Now we’re awfully close to the fall, as far as these things go, and I cannot survive on the income from three children. It’s worse than that, really: because they give a month’s deposit on signing which is applied to the last month of care, my income in August will be from two children only, even though I will have four in care. *Sigh*.

(Update: since writing that paragraph, I got a call from someone who wants to send their child for July and August. A step in the right direction.)

What it all boils down to is that when all those spaces are filled, I will have Nigel, at 21 months, and, most likely, FOUR one-year-olds. Four. I’ve done it before, I can do it now, but it’s a LOT OF WORK. The lifting, the tending, the tears, the diapers. In three months or so, when we’ve all gelled as a unit, they will be a lovely little playgroup for each other, but those first three months? Phew…

You may not be hearing from me quite so much.

Or you may be hearing from me even more – HELP!

Wish me luck!

June 5, 2006 - Posted by | daycare, the dark side


  1. Wow Mary. That will certainly be a handful. I’m sending you virtual wine and coffee to help you get through it.

    As far as Mia’s parents go, I just don’t understand. Maybe a work situation changed, or a boss became inflexible. Who knows.

    I can’t wait to hear how these new babes all get on. You’re right that they’ll form a fun playgroup for eachother. Eventually. How wonderful for THEM! πŸ˜‰

    Comment by Andie D. | June 5, 2006 | Reply

  2. Good luck Mary!!!! Right now my daughter’s day-care-ista has 1 3 yr old, 2 2 year olds, 1 1 year old, and 2 under the age of 1. She is my hero and you are too!!! Its a hamdful but the kids benefit so much from “growing up with” their buddies at day care!

    Comment by So-Called Supermom | June 5, 2006 | Reply

  3. Oh my goodness. Four one-year-olds. Yowza. Well, at least you won’t ever have to worry about heading to the gym for a workout, since you clearly get plenty of exercise all day long, every day. The lifting, my god, the lifting.

    I hope you fill up all of your spaces…what a stressful situation.

    Comment by Kristen | June 5, 2006 | Reply

  4. Wow, I didn’t think you could even have that many one-year-olds! That is crazy-making, indeed.

    I hope you find another nice three-year-old or so to round things up again.

    Comment by kittenpie | June 5, 2006 | Reply

  5. Oh, wow. Turnover is hard. And it can’t be easy seeing the kids you’ve been with for so long leaving. I will miss Darcy!

    On the upside, you could now start claiming that they are all ‘yours,’ biologically – you had some accident with fertility drugs or something.

    Comment by BeckaJo | June 5, 2006 | Reply

  6. Wow, I have a 2yo and a 1yo at home and I find that overwhelming. When my older 3 were in daycare I was always so impressed with how they managed to get 5 1yos dressed in snowsuits, hats and mits to go out to play on the snow, TWICE a day!

    Way to go to you and all child-care workers!

    Comment by moe | June 5, 2006 | Reply

  7. Gosh, it didn’t occur to me that the oldest kids would be leaving soon. Duh! I will miss stories about Darcy, Arthur, and George. Best wishes for filling the new spots quickly, perhaps with another older one too!

    Comment by Lady M | June 6, 2006 | Reply

  8. I can’t imagine four one year olds.

    Good luck.

    Comment by Granny | June 6, 2006 | Reply

  9. After I stopped laughing at the thought of all those one-year-olds, I shed a tear for you.

    Comment by ieatcrayonz | June 6, 2006 | Reply

  10. AndieD: How fun for them. Eventually, fun for me. Much more work than fun at first, though. Phew. I get tired just thinking about it. Still, if parents of multiples can do it – and THEY have to do it all the long, sleepless nights, too – I certainly can!

    ScSM: Different providers have different attitudes. Some prefer the younger ones (a year and under), seeing the older ones (2 and up) as more demanding. Some are the reverse. Me, I like a mix of all ages – which is what you describe as your daycarista’s set-up. Sounds just right – though perhaps with only ONE under one, instead of two…

    Kristen: The lifting is exactly why I need a gym – and I go, three times a week. (Before this sounds too virtuous, I’ve only been doing it for three months and a bit.)

    I once had a massage, and as she worked on my back the masseuse commented, “You left side is WAY overdeveloped compared to the right.” Guess which arm I use to hold the kids?

    Kittenpie: Yes, you can. The regulations only stipulate numbers of children, not ages. Some daycare organizations that contract to home providers will have their own regulations, but those aren’t law, just the daycare policy. A three-year-old would be a GODSEND!!

    Beckajo: I will miss Darcy, too. His dad asked the other day if they could still send him the odd day when they needed backup care, and I tried not to grin too much when I said “yes”. (If I look too happy about it, they may think I’d do it for free. Which, in this case, I would. Shhhh…)

    moe: Geah. Snowsuits. Ick. I’m impressed, too – even when I’m the one doing it! But it’s true, you just get into a routine and you do it without a lot of fuss. It just takes 40 minutes, is all…

    LadyM: Darcy, George, Arthur, Zach, AND Mia are all leaving!! Yeeks! This leaves me with Nigel of this group. Then I have baby Timmy signed on, and another little girl, Malaika. There won’t be conversation posts for a while, yet, given Nigel’s vocabulary is about 25 words, and the others have none at all!

    Granny: Thanks. I’ll need it. Some prayers wouldn’t go amiss, either, πŸ™‚

    Crayonz: HI! Long time no see!! Good to see those pony-tales again.

    Your reaction is much like mine: incredulous laughter (“I have to do WHAT?”), followed by dismay (“I have to do WHAT?”), followed by determination. (“Yeah, I have to do it. So let’s just do it.”) Because I know I can.

    Comment by Mary P. | June 6, 2006 | Reply

  11. Good Luck!

    I am hoping you will get a three-year-old for Fall also, who can show the younger ones how to behave!

    See you again next week!

    Comment by Jenorama | June 6, 2006 | Reply

  12. Good luck…. wow, I selfishly hope you blog MORE, but…wow.

    I once knew a woman who had twin boys, and then less than two years later, she had a another set of twin boys — so she had four boys under four, 24/7.

    She was very religious: she just kept repeating to herself, “God must have a plan…” I think that got her through.

    Comment by L. | June 6, 2006 | Reply

  13. Just to let you know, I’m still reading, just lurking more. πŸ˜‰

    Comment by ieatcrayonz | June 7, 2006 | Reply

  14. I’m going to be extremely interested to see what kind of interactions they have now. Mine are younger than your group right now, and when I have a horrible day I sometimes think, “at least next year they will be old enough to behave nicely like mary p.’s kids…”

    It gives me hope that you’re alarmed about having so many of the age I had when I started and felt so overwhelmed… πŸ™‚

    Comment by KEP | June 7, 2006 | Reply

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