It’s Not All Mary Poppins

The Goal is in Sight

Friday, it’s Friday! Friday, Friday, Friday. End of my week. How do you make little happy music notes show on a blog? There must be some way… Well, you’ll just have to imagine my lilting voice and happy dance.

Let my enthusiasm mislead you not. I do indeed love the children. In fact, I love my whole damn job. I am one of the minority of people blessed with a job I love, a job that brings me love and laughter — really, sappy as that sounds, it’s just the truth — every day. How many people can say that?

But… Friday, Friday, Friday!

I have my day planned. Friday is playgroup at the local community centre. We’ll be there this morning. We’ll come home for lunch — Singapore noodles — and have nap. After nap I have a fun craft planned. (Little painty feet. With any luck I’ll be organized to take picture for you all.) Finally, we will put our toys away, and then round out our day with the singing circle we have most afternoons.

A day full of fun and activity. Crafts, colour, running, playing. Love and laughter.

We will have our singing circle, during which the parents will arrive… And then, when that last child leaves, I will:

1. Breathe in all that lovely, luscious SILENCE. For one, two, three deep breaths, I will just stand there. And be still. And soak up the stillness. Silence. My friends, the deep ringing stillness of silence is little short of bliss.

2. Having had my moment of bliss, I will launch into activity. A brief, very focussed few minutes of activity. I will take my Flylady timer, set it for five minutes, and give each of the three rooms on the main level five intense minutes of whirlwind tidying. In fifteen minutes all surfaces will be clear (or clear enough), any remaining toys/materials put away, and all floors swept.

3. I will survey my tidy home. (Or tidy enough.) I will breathe in the silence again. And I will pour myself my Friday evening glass of wine.

That is my goal. It is 5:30 Friday morning as I type this, and my sights are fixed on that lovely moment when I will sink my weary butt into my favourite chair, my tidy home full of peace and quiet, my glass of wine in my hand. A well-deserved oasis of me-time, that moment.


That is my goal. That is the finish line at the end of my race. However, the last couple of weeks have shown me that right now, this isn’t a walking race. It’s not an uncomplicated sprint, or even a straightforward, if gruelling, mini-marathon. What I have ahead of me are hurdles, people. HURDLES.

Peace and quiet and wine shouldn’t be too hard to achieve. I am, after all Organized and Prepared. The children’s lunch is already made. My family’s dinner will be prepped during naptime. I have my routines. I have my patterns. They work.

They work, that is, right up to thirty to fifteen minutes before closing. Which is when the parents arrive. And then things get complicated, because when parents arrive, kids — certain kids — start playing fast and loose with that whole “who’s the boss” idea. With mummy here, do they REALLY have to listen to Mary?

So between me and my glass of wine in my tidy house I have:

Hurdle #1. The kid who won’t get dressed for her parents. Right now it’s Jazz, but there’s always one. Always. Often more than one. Each and every item of clothing — and the colder it gets, the more there are!!! — is an EVENT. An event to be resisted at all costs. The coat goes on, over loud and whiny protest, but the hat is refused. Or the mittens go on while the hat is ripped off. Or the coat is undone while parent struggles to get shoes on. Like dressing a greased eel. A very loud greased eel.

But really? That one’s not too difficult. I evade that hurdle altogether by getting her dressed and ready before her parent shows up. Neener, neener. Her folks are sensible enough that anything that’s tossed to the floor just gets picked up and carried out with them.

Hurdle #2. Then there’s the kid who wants to bring mummy into my home and SHOW HER STUFF. There isn’t always one of those in the group, but right now there’s one. So at the end of the day, when we’ve finished playing and finished crafting and PUT EVERYTHING AWAY, one kid is hauling mummy into my home to TAKE THINGS OFF SHELVES.

This, my friends, is NOT ON.

(And guess who it is? Yeah. Combined with her resistance to getting her gear on, I’m seeing Jazz’s urgent desire to haul mummy to the furthest reaches of my home more as another example of “I’m not cooperating with your agenda” than any genuine desire to share the wonders of the day with her parent. “You want me to head out the door? HA! YOU come HERE and look at THIS!”)

This one is slightly more difficult to deal with. Her mother, poor deluded woman reasonably enough, believes that Jazz really is that enthused about her day. Furthermore, like most parents, she’s genuinely interested and curious about what happens here all day. Of course she is. So, yeah, she’d like to see. Only, this is Friday evening. Only, Jazz is usually the last child collected. Only, I am potentially moments from peace and quiet and wine, and I DO NOT want to retreat from that goal, not mere inches from the finish line.

So, no. “I’m sorry, sweetie. We’ve put it all away. We can’t get it out now. You can play with it next time.”

And then I stand in the way. Just TRY getting past me kid. (You too, mom. I like you, and I’m sympathetic, but it’s two minutes from closing on a Friday. We are not doing this now.)

Hurdle #3. Two of the children are friends outside daycare as well as in. So when their mummies arrive, the last two parents to come, what more natural thing to do that start their own little private playdate IN MY HOME? The girls see their mothers, then one leads the other to the far end of the house. Running, thundering, laughing and screaming down the length of the house. The other, quieter child follows.

(Guess which is the lead child, the ring-master, the running, screaming, pounding child? Yeah. See the pattern yet?)

Their parents find this cute. Which it is. Their parents also just stand there and watch them. And this I Do.Not.Get.

It’s Friday. It’s (I may have said this before) TWO MINUTES TO CLOSING. One of the mothers is even making moves to follow her daughter into my kitchen. The hell? Do these parents not WANT to get home? Do they not WANT to start their weekends? What’s WITH this?

Two minutes to closing. So I walk to the kitchen and I corral the girls. Herd them toward their mothers. Let them know we all had a WONDERFUL day, and now it’s time to go home.

Shove Wave them out the door. Close it.

And breeeeeeeeathe in the silence.

I can hardly wait.

November 18, 2011 - Posted by | daycare, Jazz, parents, Peeve me | ,


  1. This made me laugh right out loud, because god I know the feeling. Far too well. I love my job too (well, most days) but by Friday closing time I am DONE LIKE DINNER. And tonight especially is going to be tough, because I’m meeting up with friends an hour after closing for a weekend retreat (EEEEEE!!!!!!) and so my moments of peace will be more like two days. Which means the countdown to said peace is going to be agonizing.

    Have a good day and a wonderful weekend!

    Comment by Hannah | November 18, 2011 | Reply

  2. I absolutley love your blog. I also take children in my home and have two of my own (3 and 6). I find reading your blog refreshing, because of your honesty, it’s nice to see someone get it, ha! As I often say to friends and parents – it’s not all butterflies and kisses, but it works 🙂 Happy Friday to you!!

    Comment by Janine | November 18, 2011 | Reply

  3. I now have my set up that the families come down the basement steps in my garage into the utility room which is set up as the coat room. I greet every child hear up on arrival and escort them there at the end of the day. I say chat with the parent, say goodbye and return to my other children closing the door behind me, leaving the parent to deal with their own child to get them out the door. No power struggles, no parents wandering around my house. I’ve created this scenario, and upon signing on I let the parents know how drop off and pick up goes. When they enter my home, if I don’t hear them come in, they are to shout out “hello” and I will still come get the child at the coat room. Saves so much grief!! Blessed to have a separate space for the coat room:)

    Comment by Laura | November 18, 2011 | Reply

  4. ♫ Hey! I did it! Put your num lock key on, then press ALT and the number 14 (on the keypad) and it works! Ah, Google, I love thee! Now you can sing in your weekend!

    Comment by My Kids Mom | November 18, 2011 | Reply

  5. btw, there are other symbols too:

    Comment by My Kids Mom | November 18, 2011 | Reply

  6. Hee! I also love, love, love my job, but this is my last day before a WHOLE WEEK off and am I ever ready. Three more hours! Perhaps you need a nice, loud kitchen timer that will ding and alert you(r clients) to “dinner that needs attention in the kitchen, bye!” Nannies don’t have this problem. However, sometimes I have a “reverse dropoff” when the little guys fuss when I leave. This is less genuine distress and more a desire to thwart my agenda. I think your Jazz and my younger would raise Cain together.

    Comment by Samantha | November 18, 2011 | Reply

  7. I think it’s quite remarkable that these parents don’t get it, that you are a professional and that marks your relationship with them. Go into your kitchen? That’s quite incredible. I shall ask Eloise sometime about picking up her daughter from her child-minder. I can’t believe that, friendly as they are (and Linda is a sweet person, and offered to keep Melissa overnight if it worked out to be best that way when E went into labour), Ella would blur the boundaries that way.

    Comment by Z | November 20, 2011 | Reply

  8. Could be worse. They could bring siblings who think they are entitled to play and check out all your toys. I teach people to put drop off and pick up procedures in the parent handbooks and stick to them. Love the idea of a coatroom. If I ever design a center every room will have one!

    Comment by jwg | November 20, 2011 | Reply

  9. […] story from Friday. You might recall Friday? This happened late Friday afternoon. I was tired. I was perhaps even a bit giddy. I can get that […]

    Pingback by All you need is… « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | November 21, 2011 | Reply

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