It’s Not All Mary Poppins


There. A highly successful round of interviews done, and a new client signed up. Sometimes things click, you know? Last time I had a space open unexpectedly — with a months’ notice — it took me five months to fill it. By the end of that time, I’d eaten through the cushion, which, like the smart self-employed person I am, I keep stashed away against such eventualities, and was not liking the look of that wolf slavering on my doorstep…

(Though it is not now the case, when I started in this gig I was a single, sole-support mother. The daycare was not a “lucrative hobby”, as one friend (in)famously put it, nor was it, as it is in the case of some of my caregiver friends, the income stream that allows for luxuries like holidays and renos, it was my bread and butter.)

But this time! This time I had tonnes of applicants for the position. What a lovely position to be in… except that it meant that I had to turn people away.

That’s hard.

Well, mostly it is. Not always. And you know, for the sake of the mother, I felt really badly about saying no, and was greatly relieved when it turned out not to work for her — and when she found a spot in a local daycare centre within days of our interview. Phew.

There was the lovely, lovely couple with a cheery, well-managed little boy. I soooo wanted to offer them the spot — she was a former nanny, almost always a good, good thing, they were both eminently sensible, friendly, and fun — but they only wanted three days a week, and I really, really need full-time.

There was the nice pair with a sweet little girl — but active! lord, that child was gogogogogogogo — but they wanted to start Right NOW, and, even though some might argue I shouldn’t feel any qualms about doing to others as was being done to me, I do.

There was the Very Involved couple… After one lengthy phone call, pretty much an interview in itself, they came to my home for the in-home interview. As I do with all potential clients, I sent the contract home with them to peruse at their leisure. They phoned not one, but THREE times with questions about the contract, taking another two-ish hours of my time. And then, they wanted another interview AND a month-long weaning-in for their child, with a parent in attendance for about half that time. Can you say “High Maintenance”, boys and girls? They weren’t so hard to turn down…

And then there was the couple who:
– live right down the street
– wanted to start when I wanted them to start, and want full-time care
– soft-spoken (this matters to aural me: loud parents often engender loud children)
– had heard about me from other sources and reeeeally wanted the spot
– and I just liked them. Though first impressions do not always survive better acquaintance, it helps enormously when I like the parents. No matter how much I might looooove the child, if the parents are obnoxious, it can taint my whole work environment. Don’t ask me how, but it’s happened in the past. Toxic people are… toxic.

So. I have a lovely couple who want to start on June 15. Other mom is due in June sometime — I still don’t know the date — so now I need to talk to her.

Ugh. Not looking forward to that conversation. And yet, yes. Yes, I am. It will be good to have this thing DONE.


March 4, 2010 Posted by | daycare, parents | 12 Comments


Once again, daddy is dropping Noah off. And once again, Noah is managing the transition just fine.

Today, dad talked about Noah’s plans for the day, discussed on the way over. And then I could talk about what we were going to do today — making roads all over the floor with wide green painter’s tape, and putting up the little streetlights we made yesterday, so we can drive our cars all over. All part of our “transportation” theme for the month.

And Noah — obviously pre-directed by his skillful daddy — chats happily about what he will play with Tyler when Tyler arrives, and daddy gives Noah a cheerful hug…

…and there! Done!

Daddy’s gone, Noah’s here, without the slightest hiccup. Lovely.

Analyzing it in the kitchen a few minutes later, my daughter Emma put it nicely.

“It’s all about the parents’ expectations, isn’t it? The dads usually manage to convey, “I expect you to be happy, and I know you can do it!” But the moms are often saying, “I expect you to be sad… but please don’t!”

She’s very wise for sixteen, Emma.

March 3, 2010 Posted by | Noah, parenting, parents | 7 Comments

In which Mary and the Wonderful Husband contribute to the cause of Public Betterment

The Wonderful Husband returns from a few days away. He travels fairly regularly for his work, though usually he’s only gone a couple of nights.

As he does from time to time, he has a gift for me. (Told you he was a Wonderful Husband.) This gift, being a bouquet of flowers, is not packed in a suitcase as such trinkets generally are, but exits the taxi with him and is presented on the front porch.

It’s a mild day, and a few neighbours are chatting on the sidewalk across the street. Tall blond husband across the way notices the exchange and calls out,

“Hey, knock it off! You’re making the rest of us look bad!”

And me — I am NEVER, EVER this quick off the mark — I holler back,

“Pfft. The rest of you should be taking notes!”

And while I give Wonderful Husband a big, heartfelt (and astonishingly public) kiss, the wives across the way applaud.


March 2, 2010 Posted by | peer pressure | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

There are no secrets…

…from your daycare provider…

Three toddlers lie on their backs on my couch, their feet against its back. Each of their small heads dangles over the edge, their hair wafting towards the floor, their cheeks reddening steadily.

Emily beams up at me.

“We’re playing ‘Stick Your Head in the Toilet’!”

An unusual posture for the activity. Guess it was a really eventful weekend at home.

March 1, 2010 Posted by | Emily, the things they say! | | 1 Comment