It’s Not All Mary Poppins

It’s back…

I have three-and-a-half-year-olds again. Which means, I have knock-knock jokes. Again.

orangeThree-and-a-half-year-olds loooooooooove knock-knock jokes. The pattern! The turn-taking! The predictability! They don’t get them. At all. But, oh! How they LOVE them.

So. I have knock-knock jokes. Again. And that means I have THIS knock-knock joke.

“Knock, knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Orange who?”
“Orangey who?”
“Orangey who?”
“Orangey didn’t say I a banana?”
“Organgy didn’t say I a banana who?”

(Obviously these two are still learning the form…)

But the question is… WHO teaches them this one? WHO?


April 15, 2009 Posted by | Developmental stuff, the things they say! | , | 7 Comments

Whose business is it?

995748___network__2“And so I told her, ‘Now, I’m hiring you, not anyone else. I don’t want anyone else looking after my child.’ And that’s what you need to do, to give these parents the security they need.”

The speaker was very sure of herself. I was just starting out on this daycare venture, 14 or so years ago. A parent of a toddler at the time, it sounded like good advice. What a way to set myself apart, to underline my reliability and dedication!

What a way to make myself crazy.

Think about it. Who doesn’t get to leave their desk once in a while? Who doesn’t get to call in a substitute, hire a back-up, arrange a locum?

It turned out this wasn’t the best for the parents, either. If it was always me, only me… what happened when I had a doctor’s appointment? Was I to close down for half a day and have them all scramble for back-up care? Or maybe I could call a friend to stand in for me, ask my husband to look after the tots for a couple of hours?

Within a year, the parents who’d signed on with this assurance were perfectly comfortable with me popping out for the odd afternoon to run one necessary errand or another. Within a year of that, I was no longer making this assurance to incoming families. And within a couple of years of that, I’d put a line in my contract to allow for me to contract to other people.

Lesson learned.

Not too long ago, I was chatting with a younger provider about her desire to get a dog. But she was nervous about asking her parents: what if someone objected? Her kids would be so disappointed! Her husband would be upset. She’d be disappointed and upset.

My advice? “Don’t ask permission.”

Here’s the thing: Yes, I am running a business. Yes, I should do it in a business-like, professional way. But since when did professionalism require putting all business decisions to a committee? Even more to the point: when you run a business from your home, are you required to put your family decisions to an external committee?

So yes, find out if any child has an allergy to dogs. And absolutely abide by any regulations in your area. But ask permission? Of four or five or six different families? (Meaning, probaby, 8 or 10 or 12 individuals?) Hmm…

There are competing interests here, and different providers will draw the line in different places.

Of course there are times for compromise and accommodation. For my part, I have made commitments to certain parents that I haven’t made to all. I have respected opinions about who I get as my back-up. I have made changes to my routines: outings (more or fewer), napping (time, duration, place). I have extended my drop-off and pick-up times for parents with specific family challenges. I have accommodated special diets, cloth diapers, and (fairly rigorous) eco-friendly concerns. I have made commitments about which types of transportation I will use with the children. I have done all these things, and more. However: This is my home, and my business. I am not employed by the parent, I am an independent contractor. Sometimes a parent can accommodate me, as well. If I can’t, or choose not to, accommodate a concern or need, they are always free to take their business elsewhere.

My conclusion, after 14+ years in this business, is that the parents who sign on with me are expressing their confidence in the environment I provide and my ability to care for their child. Obviously. You wouldn’t sign a contract with someone you felt was incompetent.

Bottom line: If they trust me enough to leave their child with me, they can trust me enough to make decisions about what happens in that child’s daytime environment.

April 14, 2009 Posted by | daycare, health and safety | 6 Comments

Star Wars lives

My house has been invaded! It’s about two feet tall and cute as the dickens. If it were fuzzy, I’d say it was an Ewok.


But since it’s smooth of skin, I’m going for Yoda.

April 13, 2009 Posted by | individuality, Noah, the cuteness! | , , , , | 2 Comments

How’s your Binge coming?

I’m happily binging this long weekend. I’ve read seven books so far this month. Here are the highlights:

The World I Made for Her, by Thomas Moran. The narrator is a critically ill 30-ish man who tells his tale from the intensive care ward where he drifts in and out of comas, fighting to outlive the bacteria within him. Nuala is his nurse. A beautifully written heart-breaker of a book.

It was so compelling that I felt mentally and emotionally drugged for a while after reading it, drawn and subdued, overwhelmed by the poignancy and passion, beauty and tragedy.

What’s required after something that moving is something frivolous, and Sex, A Mystery, by Fiona Quirina provided the necessary antidote. A lively and quick-moving mystery novel in which sex surrogate Lydia, who prefers to call herself a courtesan, graduate of Barnard with a Harvard MBA, finds her Tuesday client in her bed with an ice pick through his back. She is, of course, the prime suspect, and works hard and efficiently to prove her innocence. Fun.

How’s your binge going?

April 12, 2009 Posted by | books | , , | 3 Comments

Easter Craft: Cut-out cards


1. Cut sheet of cardstock in half. Fold this in half to make your card.
2. Cut oval from front of card.
3. Glue decorative paper to inside of card. (Ours is used wrapping paper.)
4. Decorate as desired. (Those embellishments came from the dollar store.)


The original idea came from Martha Stewart. (We used paper instead of fabric, and managed to make ours without a “bone folder”! Imagine…)

April 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | 3 Comments

Easter craft: Let there be light





April 9, 2009 Posted by | crafts, holidays | , , , , | 9 Comments

And the winner is…

ribbonOh, you were all so helpful! These were fun to read.

Some were very cute, but, like the Elfin and Sprite which I considered and rejected, not “people names”. It’s an honourable blogger tradition, naming your children non-names (and it’s cute!), but since I’ve always given the kids real names for their pseudonyms, that’s what I wanted for this one. (Otherwise “Pixie” would have been a strong contender.)

Some brought back memories, and with them, associations. “Esme” (pronounced, if you’re not familiar with it, as “Ez-may”, short ‘e’) is a loving, gracious woman in my mind. “Inga”, though a lovely name, is, unfortunately, a sweet and gentle but unhappy, down-trodden woman.

Pippi was popular amongst you guys; having read and enjoyed a few Pippi Longstocking books as a child, I gave that serious consideration.

Elfa, Britt, Lene, Thora, Marit, Aina, Eleanor, Annika, and all those other lovely names… So many good choices! (One of you even chose her actual name. Heehee.)

But in the end…

drumroll please…

The new baby is hereby Nissa.

I like the sound of it (I’m thinking it’s pronounced “Nee-sa”, but even if it’s “Niss-a”, it’s still pretty), and I’m loving the meaning. “Friendly elf.” Yes, indeed.

Thank you, Kiera!

April 8, 2009 Posted by | Nissa | 4 Comments

Name that baby

babyname1We have a new baby!

I told you about her a little while back. She has had a few half-days here, but this week is her first week of full-time, full-day care. She turned a year old this week, too.

She’s a tiny thing, delicate of bone and slender as a reed. Her eyes are a sparkling brown, always dancing with good humour and mischief.

The only thing that disturbs her effervescent good mood is my front door. The Parent-Eating Door. She comes in through that door with a parent, she rests in a parent’s arms while parent and I exchange info, and then? Then the parent goes out through that door! And doesn’t come back all day!

She KNOWS the parent out there, and if she could only get through that door, or cause it to open, she KNOWS there would be the parent, waiting on the other side of the door.

Sometimes the door does open, but it’s always someone else’s parent, dropping off another child. Not Good.

She’s easy to distract, though. This high-energy, high-stim kid does not thank you for gentle crooning and soft soothing. Nuh-uh. What she requires is hands-on rowdiness.

So, as she points, wailing, at the Parent-Eating Door, I run at her with a cry of delight. “GOT THE BAAAAAY-BEEEE!!!!” I swoop down, scoop her up, and TOSS her into the air.

Other children would be stiff with terror at this point. Not this elfin child. She squeals, she laughs, she totally forgets the Parent-Eating Door.

She’s quite the character, this child.

And I don’t have a name for her! Her real name is Scandinavian, so I thought I’d use another, but the only one I can think of is Ingrid, and that name conjures up the serious intellectual type. (The kind who makes dreary depressive art house films…) She may end up being an intellectual, this little sprite, but I can’t see her ever being serious.

So. How’d you like to name that baby? Any suggestions? I’ve thought of Sprite and Elfin, but they’re names for pets, not children.

We’re looking for a name that suits a tiny, wiry, fiery, laughing pixie of a girl.

All ideas gratefully received!

April 7, 2009 Posted by | daycare | , , | 29 Comments

Denying reality is too a coping mechanism!

It’s snowing.

If this were January, I’d be thrilled with today’s weather. It’s above freezing (by one whopping degree but above, nonetheless), and the snow that is falling is more accurately some sort of slushy glop. Not quite rain, but not exactly snow, either.

Spitballs from heaven.

Still, in January, this would be unbelievably mild weather. Warm enough for rain boots and heavy sweaters under rain coats! Amazing! “Let’s go out and play, kids! It’s a BEAUTIFUL day!!!”

But it is not January. Nor February. Nor even March. It is [expletive deleted] April, and, even though I KNOW I have yet to experience a spring in Ottawa that did not involve at least one snowfall sometime in the first two weeks of April…

I am SICK of it.

And I’m not going out in it. Not, not, not. You can’t make me. I’m not even looking out the damned window if I don’t have to. You can’t make me do that, either. And judging from the looks of this…


I won’t be looking out for the rest of the week. BooooOoOOoo…

April 6, 2009 Posted by | Canada, Ottawa, the dark side | , , , | 7 Comments

Book Binge List of Participants (Updated)

Erotic Horizon

Is there anyone I’ve forgotten? Let me know and I’ll add you to the list!

(You don’t have to have a blog; as you can see, a couple of participants don’t. Keep a tally and let us know your total in the comments to my May 1 post. You can even put in your whole list, if you like.)

If you haven’t signed up yet and you’d like to, it’s not too late! Check out this post for the “rules”, and you can grab the code for one of those blog buttons while you’re there.

April 3, 2009 Posted by | books | , | 1 Comment