It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Changing Dynamic: the prequel

Today will be the first day without Jazz.

Jazz is having her family summer vacation now, and from there will be heading off to Big Girl School. Jazz has graduated Mary’s. No, I do not do a cap-and-gown ‘graduation’. You get one of those when you graduate university. As in “have done something to merit the ceremony”. A ‘graduation’ that requires nothing more than reaching legal school age? Not even to have stopped picking your nose and eating it? Pfft.

Now, she got a trip to the local gelato store, and had an ENTIRE small serving of chocolate ALL TO HERSELF. (The small servings are quite large enough that two kids can share, and so they do. Always.) An ENTIRE cup of gelato, and to NOT SHARE?!? Is a Big Deal. Specially when the other kids still did have to share. “This is Jazz’s last day, so she gets a very special treat.” (Which was accepted with nary a blink. They’re such good well-socialized sweet well-trained all of the above little kids.)

So there was that.

And she got a big card that all the children had decorated. And t-shirt that we all made together. And, best of all!!!! (at least as far as Jazz was concerned) a mermaid doll. OMG!OMG!OMG!OMG! MERMAID! DOLL!!!! (To say it was ‘a hit’ rather understates the case. Hee. Go, Mary!)

So, it’s not as if her departure had gone un-feted. But cap and gown? Puh-heeze. No.

Off she goes, then. Some quality family time ahead, and then the big, broader world of Junior Kindergarten. Where I have no doubt she will thrive. A fish to water. All that.

And meantime, back here?

Well, though I will miss her endearing giggle and impish sense of humour, her funny turns of phrases and her mothering of wee Rosie …

I will not miss the petulance. The tattling. The constant jockeying for top dog position. The whining. The insta-tears. The flouncing. The righteous indignation. Many of those are pretty common to four-year-olds, of course, but all of hers were exacerbated by her state of near-constant sleep deprivation. She’s four on steroids, that one.

Grace is with me for another couple of weeks, before she heads off to her own Big Girl School. Without another four-year-old to bounce off and react to, and, in particular, a four-year-old dedicated to the pursuit of being the first, the best, the strongest, the prettiest … I predict Grace drift away from certain contentious patterns and will happily settle into her more-natural state of easy-going placidity. I predict this will happen pretty much instantaneously.

Except for the whining, mind you. Grace does have a tendency to whinge. But she does not have a tendency to push to the forefront, to trample others to achieve superior status. Not at all. So I predict a lovely, lovely summer wherein I do not hear “Why does SHE get to…”, not even once.

Aaaahhh.

What of the others? Poppy and Grace will continue to mother Rosie. Rosie will, for a short while at least, continue to allow it. Soon enough her two-ness will have reached the point where she will resist such importunity, but for now, it’s all good. Poppy and Grace will play as they do when alone together: calmly, cooperative, and with a constant, never-ending, ceaseless stream of happy chatter (90% Poppy’s).

Daniel? A bit of a wild card. He hasn’t been around much this summer, it being the final couple of months of mom’s maternity leave. The two 4-year-olds tended to resist and exclude him. With a certain amount of just cause, mind you: the boy is loud, very physical, and blundersome, but there was an edge of social cruelty to it I didn’t like to it. They weren’t objecting to just his behaviour: “Don’t push me!!”, but his person, “You go away. We’re not playing with YOU.”

Ick.

Without the four-year-olds, will Poppy pick up that torch? I’m hoping not. She’s more physical, for one, and finds Daniel’s physicality less troublesome. She’s also more cheerfully social. She’s also not four. Without the fours to lead the way, and in particular, Jazz, I’m hoping she will — or can at least be taught — to engage with Daniel in a way that’s satisfactory to both of them. And of course we’ll be steadily teaching Daniel to not bang, bump, blunder into, blunder through and otherwise manhandle his peers.

(Good luck with that, I sez to myself. Nonethess, ‘gently, gently’ is going to be a prime interaction with that boy for the foreseeable future, I’m quite sure.)

So.

Those are some predictions and some concerns. Some will manifest immediately, some over time. I’m sure there’ll be surprises.

I’m looking forward to it!

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August 6, 2013 Posted by | Daniel, Grace, individuality, Jazz, Poppy, Rosie, socializing, the dark side | , | 1 Comment

A Rite of Passage

A few years ago, I don’t know if I blogged about it here, Emma (my youngest, then 15 or so) came home with a new boyfriend. He looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn’t think why … until I met his mother.

We looked at each other in stunned recognition. “Pat?!” “Mary?!” Then we looked at our children, a second time, astonishment on our faces.

“You mean, that’s Kevin??”
“And that’s little Emma?!”

Yes, indeed. Emma was dating a former daycare client. It’s a rite of passage of a sort, in my business. I had cleaned that young man’s little butt, once upon a time. (Strangely, neither Emma nor Kevin found that little tidbit nearly as entertaining as we two mothers. Mwah-ha.)

I have an interview tonight. Nothing exceptional about that, except …

The young mother? She used to help out in the daycare. When she was seventeen.

FIFTEEN YEARS AGO
.

Now she is thirty-two, with a career, a husband … and with a four-month-old baby. Who will need care starting November. Thirty-two. Not even a barely-adult twenty-something. She’s over thirty. An established adult.

Wow.

“You probably don’t remember me,” she says, “but I’ve remembered you often through the years. I learned so much from you, stuff that I’ve applied in my career. How you motivated the children, how you got them working together. People are people, no matter how old they are.”

Wow. I guess she won’t be asking for referrals.

I’m really excited! I hope it works out. Wouldn’t that just be too cool for words?

March 12, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 3 Comments

Where have I been?

Hello! I’m still alive! Sorry about my vanishment, for those of you who have been so kind as to express concern. The rest of you who have wandered off, never to return, well, that’s my own fault, isn’t it?

What’s been going on with me? Well, nothing precisely, but it’s really good! You know my personal Happiness Project? You can blame it. Yup. Gretchen may have been able to blog through hers, but I’m finding that mine is so damned successful, it’s taking away my inclination to blog.

It’s going like this:

Week one: I was having trouble remembering my project. I’d get to the end of the day, and I’d be entering all these rotten exes, because I just plain old forgot I was supposed to be doing it. Boooo. I hate exes in my chart. All those exes were not contributing to my happiness! When it comes to charts and assignments, I am a keener. Always have been. My charts always have rows of checkmarks. My assignments always have gold stars. Even self-assigned assignments. Actually, as I get older and need external validation less and less especially self-assigned assignments. They mean more.

I had to make this thing less forgettable. I mounted the chart on a wall where it would be hard to miss.

Week two: I’m doing better, but I’m still forgetting! It’s getting better, but still, I’ll be halfway through a day and suddenly remember that the story-time, which is supposed to happen before naps, didn’t. Or I’ll be waving the last one out the door and remember I forgot to sing with them. Damnit, anyway. I want to do this stuff! I like doing this stuff! When it’s happening — which is more and more frequently — I’m really enjoying it. But I’m still forgetting too much. (Absent-mindedness. It’s a curse.) It’s also interfering with my rows of checkmarks.

Wait. Maybe that’s the problem. The chart, though in an obvious spot, is pretty low-key. Tidy little inked notations on a pale blue grid. It needs to call attention to itself. It needs to be gaudy.

Two sharpies later, my chart no longer sports neatly subdued checks and exes. Now it is resplendent in red and green boxes. THERE ARE TOO MANY RED BOXES ON MY CHART.

Week three: I’m hitting my stride. There’s only one red box under ‘outing’, but that’s because we had ice rain/hail that day. That day, there is a green box under ‘craft’, which we only do twice a week. Mwah-ha. I am winning at Chart!

I’m also winning in the daycare. The whole tenor of the place is improving, day by day. By doing all these things, I’m feeling more professional and competent, I’m feeling more nurturing, more organized, more loving. Am I happier?

Damned straight I am. By a mile.

It’s not that we were all wallowing in misery before. We did crafts (you’ve seen them!), we played games, we read stories. It’s just that now I’m being more focussed and intentional about it all. Less drifting. When you drift, it’s too easy to say “Ah, I’m tired today. I’ll just throw some crayons and paper down, instead of organizing something more labour-intensive.”

And that’s okay, some days. But in the winters, I do that sort of thing more often, and eventually, I find myself wandering around in a bit of a grey malaise. A child does something cute, I smile. Now? A child does something cute, I laugh. I’m laughing a lot these days.

‘Swonderful.

We’re into week five now, and red squares are few and far between. More importantly, I’m laughing a lot these days. And because I am the emotional centre of this place, they are laughing a lot more these days. And their happiness feeds mine. It’s a virtuous circle, people, and I’m loving it.

When I started, I didn’t foresee this level of satisfaction. I thought it would be satisfying, sure; I thought it would likely work, or I wouldn’t have bothered. I thought the process of improving, tidying up, tweaking my professional behaviour would make me feel better about myself.

But I had no idea how the joy would explode around me.

We are not running around in bliss 100% of the time. These are toddlers. They are still cranky, petulant and demanding at times. They still clobber each other once in a while. I get annoyed once in a while.

But, in general terms? It’s so good. Joy is not too strong a term for the spikes of happiness that occur, often several times a day. Certainly you could call it ‘glee’.

So why have I not been blogging about all this wonderfulness?

Well, because I’ve been busy living it.

However, sitting down this morning and pounding out this post has been fun, too, so I think you’ll be seeing more of me. Thanks for hanging in!

April 16, 2012 Posted by | daycare, health and safety | , , | 13 Comments

What would you do?

There are many caregivers in my neighbourhood. We offer a variety of styles of service. Some start earlier, some go later. Some are heavy on the crafts, others are all about the outings. Some are French, most are English, a smattering have another language. There are caregivers for every style of parent.

There are those who, in my estimation, are better than others. There are the truly great: appropriately attentive, but not helicopter; a nice way of interacting with the children; clear and sensible consequences and expectations for the children; true professionalism when dealing with parents.

There are the middling ones, like the one who’s great with the kids, but just a tad less attentive than makes me comfortable — not, I hasten to add, that any of her children has ever suffered anything more than the standard bumps and bruises so common to this (uncoordinated) age, nor in excessive numbers. She just lets the kids wander a little further than I would, doesn’t check on them as often as I do. More of a style difference, but… it makes me a smidge uneasy, her style.

And then… then there’s that one that I just don’t like. Not as a person, and even more, not as a caregiver. There’s a saying that you don’t deserve the face you have at 20, but at 50 you have the face you’ve earned. I look at her, the lines of her face drawn severe and scowling, and wonder, “Who would leave their child with a face like that?” A face that so clearly reflects the years spent scowling and stern?

When I see her as I approach the sandbox, I sigh inwardly, knowing that I’m in for a morning of sharp complaints and negativity, without even the (unworthy yet occasionally satisfactory) pleasure of a vent-and-gripe session, for she doesn’t listen, she only talks.

She doesn’t like the parents, she doesn’t appear to enjoy the children. She doesn’t say anything positive about her job, her days, her family, her activities. Though I’ve never seen her say or do anything inappropriate with her kids, she’s never warm with them, either. No laughter, no spontaneous hugs, kisses or cuddles from this one.

And once in a while, a parent looking for care will ask me, “Do you know X? What do you think of her?”

I hate that question.

“I think she’s awful!” would be the 100% accurate response. But that, friends, is unprofessional. You don’t backstab colleagues, and though I don’t like her, she’s never done anything that crosses any legal lines. (To my knowledge, of course, but I really don’t think she has. She’s not abusive, she’s not a psychopath… she’s just not very nice.)

Now, when I’m asked that question I tend to assume that they have a negative gut feeling already, and want confirmation of it. Because you know what? No one’s ever asked about any other caregiver. Just her. Isn’t that telling?

Which is why, the first time I was asked, I answered with a question of my own, “Why do you ask? Do you have a concern about her?”

Another time I had a different question. “Well, that depends. What, would you say, is your parenting style?” Because, you know, there are families out there who are looking for someone with her style. What I might call ‘authoritarian’, they would call ‘firm’. Different strokes.

In essence, I’ve opted not to answer the question directly, but instead encourage them to express their feelings. Another way to deal with it would be to evade it directly, “I have a policy not to discuss other caregivers with parents. It might be best for you to arrange to meet her so that you can form your own opinion.” (Given that I don’t say, “I think she’s wonderful!!!”, which I would if I did, I’ve pretty much answered the question right there, haven’t I?)

Gah. I still don’t like it.

The most recent time this happened, I was tempted to avoid the whole dilemma with a lie: “X? Nope, never heard of her.”

But I’m curious. Have you ever found yourself in a parallel situation? How would you respond?

July 28, 2011 Posted by | controversy, daycare, the dark side | , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

The tots ate my homework

Today we…

— went out for a short flounder in the snow. (Coats, hats, mittens, snowpants, scarves/neckwarmers, boots times four.)

— during which time the puppy had a pee. “YAY, Romeo!!!” (Toddlers being experts in Encouraging Housebreaking Potty-training. There may even have been some Potty Dancing around the puddle of steaming dampness.

— came back inside (De-coat, hat, mitten, scarf/neckwarmer, boots… times four.) Oh wait, five. I was wearing all that stuff, too.

— Oh, wait. Six coats, if you count the puppy.

— made some more foam mittens for our WINTER banner (pictures forthcoming)

— made some foam winter clothing cut-outs for Emily’s banner, which she will be taking home today

— cleared the table of 146 pounds of craft debris so that we could

— eat apples and peanut butter for snack.

— We read forty-three gazillion books

— made an attempt to sing our way through the Porcupine in a Pine Tree book. (“Attempt” because I have a touch of laryngitis, which manifests most obviously when I sing. The voice starts out okay… a bit thready, but okay, and steadily deteriorates.) By the ninth day, Tyler looked at me and said, MOST reproachfully,

“You are just PRETENDING to sing, Mary.”

My attempts to explain — with a voice that is pretty much business as usual for talking — that I wasn’t doing that on purpose were met with scathing skepticism.

We also…

— played with puzzles

— talked about shapes and colours

— did our weather calendar

— and our regular calendar

— and our charting (for vocabulary and reading)

We sang… well, they sang, and I sort of chanted… “Ring around a Rosie”…

— which led to a discussion of why Lily says “Ashes, Ashes” while the rest of us say “Hush-a, Hush-a”. (Touching on things like “folk song”, “very old”, “many variations”, she’s from West Virginia (er, far away from here, in a whole ‘nuther country!!))

…Twinkle, Twinkle; ABC; My Father is a Garbageman; I’m a Little Smelly Skunk… and a bunch of other songs.

— We had rice and beans for lunch. Emily LOVES rice and beans. “I will have FOUR helpings!” she declared as she raised her spoon. Everyone enjoys rice and beans, but no one loves them like Emily.

She managed three helpings before rolling away from the table…

We washed hands and faces, then cleared the table so that we could

— colour large paper pieces, cut into mitten shapes

— and then, while the other children were napping, Emily and I made some of these VERY cool snowflakes starbursts. (Can’t be snowflakes, you know, because our theme for the month is Winter (subset snow), and EVERYONE knows that snowflakes have SIX points, not eight. Emily was Very Clear on this point. “And six is two less than eight”, she declared, showing commendable subtraction skills, “so these are not snowflakes!”)

— Then, while Emily napped, I made a couple of quiches and a spicy carrot salad for dinner, and took the puppy out to pee.

— When Emily woke again, she and I made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.

— and did the dishes from cookies, quiche, and salad prep.

And now everyone else is starting to wake up. We will have fresh-baked oatmeal cookies and milk for snack.

And that? That is why I didn’t blog today.

January 6, 2011 Posted by | crafts, daycare | , , , , , | 9 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

Yes, yes, no: Picking a daycare family

I’m interviewing again.

778240_little_matheus_5In September, Timmy, Anna and Emily will be old enough to go to Junior Kindergarten. Imagine that! My babies are heading off to the Big World Out There! So teeny to be going. School starts TOO YOUNG. I will miss their little faces.

I have three spaces to fill. Three. Sixty percent of my income heading off to JK.

So far I’ve met with three families, representing four children. (Emma is so excited about the possibility of “Twins, mom! So CUTE!”) I have another interview schedule early next week. By then I should be in a position to offer a position to an interested family. Or, if all goes well, two families!

Let’s recap:
1. Family one. LOVELY people. Soft-spoken, easy-going, sort of granola (as am I — “sort of” rather than “fervently”). Warm smiles, apparently respectful and affectionate marriage. Introverts, (as am I). Both of them interacted equally with the baby. I just got a good, good, good feeling about them. We “clicked”. I hope they felt the same way!

2. Family two. Nice enough people. Mother wants long, long weaning-in, assurances about the number of other same-age children I’ll be taking on, assurances that I will pick up her child when she cries. Mother came with checklist on a clipboard. I don’t recall if dad spoke during the interview.

3. Family 3. Only met the mother, in fact. Dad was home with the twins. LOVELY woman. Warm, ready laugh. Extrovert. Anxious about finding care, but sensible, balanced, relaxed. A slightly irreverent sense of humour when it comes to her kids, a thing I love to see.

My preferences are, in this order:

Family 1, Family 3, Family 2.

Family one is just a good fit. The parents and I are on the same page about any number of things, beyond child-rearing. This is what I look for. It just felt right, and I would have no hesitation at all in offering them the space.

Family 3 is lovely, but they’re my second choice. Not because of the twins, but because there’s a bit of a mystery surrounding how she came to me. She needs care SOON, as in, five or six weeks, and with year-long maternity leaves, people just don’t leave it that long.

I get the impression, based on something she didn’t quite say, that she had someone lined up and bailed on them. (Or, worse, she has someone lined up now and will bail on them if she finds something better.) While I totally understand why a parent would feel the need to do this, particularly a parent of twins, who has much more difficulty finding a spot, it makes me a smidge uneasy. If she’d do that to someone else, would she hesitate to do that to me? Obviously, if I decide to take her on/she decides to go with me, I’d have to ask the direct question.

They may not opt for me anyway. It was clear that my closing time is an issue. Nothing she said, but she sorta winced when I told her. So I may be excluded on that very pragmatic logistical basis.

And Family 2? I will not take on Family 2, even if the others don’t opt for me. Now, the mother seems to be a nice person. Our child-rearing styles are not too dissimilar.

By the end of the interview, though, there were just too many red flags.

She’s too Earnest. Now, almost all first-time parents are Earnest, so in and of itself that wouldn’t be sufficient to exclude her from consideration. However, she’s Earnest with a large side of Controlling.

Not because of the clipboard and checklist. I have a terrible memory. My home is rife with checklists. Checklists are my friends, and I’m not about to deny one to the sleep-deprived mother of a brain-sucking 5-month-old.

But…

– The so-lengthy weaning-in, where she’d be in my home for part of the day for weeks on end? Not happening. It’s a huge imposition on my autonomy. Yes, I will wean in if the parents want, but for a week or two, not months.

– The expectation that she can tell me how to respond to her child — not that what she wants is unreasonable, but the point is it’s my decision to make on my time. (She can find out what my philosophy on these things is, looking for a good match to her own. She cannot dictate.)

– The request for assurances that I will limit the number of other year-old babies in my care? Well, I’d like to. Three year-old babies is a PILE of work. However, the reality is that I have three spaces opening simultaneously, and that most parents looking for care are bringing year-old babies.

In short, she wants too much control over my work environment.

She also doesn’t understand that the interview is a two-way evaluation, she of me, and me of her. Though she is continuing with other interviews, she requested that if anyone else expressed interest in this spot, I would let her know so that she could have it first. No recognition that the spot would have to be offered to her, that there are two equal parties to the decision. This is the woman who perceives her caregiver as her employee, not (as I am) an independent contractor. This perception of the balance of power matters enormously.

Moreover, she’s not the best communicator. (Not, that is, if you understand communicating as including listening). When I underlined that I could give no such assurances re: ages of children in care, it obviously didn’t ‘take’. In her re-capping of the interview, she listed that as something we’d agreed upon.

I didn’t correct her, because I’d already decided I wouldn’t take this family.

Most of these are things I would not have picked up on 15 years ago. Even if I had, I’d not have seen the significance of them. But now I know that it’s these emotive, relational things that make the caregiver-parent relationship live or die. I can predict with some assurance that within six months, this mother and I would be driving each other nuts.

So, no.

But either of the others? Yup! We’ll see.

January 14, 2009 Posted by | daycare, parents | , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

Christmas is coming

882762_disco_overdose…you can tell by the conversation around here.

Timmy, on looking at the creche on the mantlepiece:
“God lives at Mary’s house!”

Anna to Emily:
“I’m going to be an angel for Christmas!”

Emily beams and points to a (deliberately unbreakable) ball on the tree:
“Indie was eating this, and I put it back on the tree.” Her face breaks out into joy and she does a small skip of purest delight. “I’m a helpful girl!”

Anna, exuding joy, races toward her dad as he’s about to leave after morning drop-off. She has something pink and sparkly in her hand. “Oh, wait, daddy! You forgot THIS!”

Mary spins on her heel, whisks the thing out of Anna’s hand, and hides it. Fast.

“Yes, but not now, Anna!”

Daddy chortles and leaves. I pick the pieces of Anna from off the floor, put her back together with a snuggle, an explanation, and a distraction: “We have to WRAP it, honey!” She resumes her natural state: chirpy delightfulness.

Joy, anticipation, tears, confusion, and general mayhem. Christmas with toddlers: Such fun!

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Anna, Christmas, individuality, the cuteness!, the things they say! | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Trust is earned, and here’s one way

I try to be flexible with my parents. If your spouse is out of town this week, and you ask nicely, I’ll probably let you pick up 20 minutes late and waive the late fee. I’ve kept the kids late on Valentine’s Day so parents could have a date night. Early drop-offs are never a problem. You come part-time and want to switch days? Not a problem. Your holiday times get switched? I can accommodate.

If you present me with a reeking child and tell me “he pooped in the car!”, I’ll take him with a smile and deal with it. Because it happens.

If you do that twice in one week, I’ll take him with a smile and deal with it. Because it happens, sometimes twice in one week.

If you do that every morning for a month? I’ll start to get a little suspicious. I maybe might not smile so much after the first week or two. Because, yeah, it could happen, I guess, but…

If I look out the window one morning and see you in my driveway, changing your child on the hood of your car? I will cease to be suspicious.

I might even offer you a coffee to take to work with you, you poor soul, you.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | eeewww, parents, potty tales | , | 8 Comments

Word to the Wise Parent

A request from your childcare provider.

When you are preparing to leave for daycare at the beginning of the day, you will probably chat with your child. You will talk about what you’re eating for breakfast, which clothes you will wear. You’ll maybe speculate on the friends s/he will play with, and the activities s/he might enjoy during his/her day.

All perfectly sweet. All developmentally and emotionally appropriate.

Do not, however, lead your child to believe that these speculations are, in fact, plans. Do not encourage this notion by saying to your child “Go to the library? What a good idea! Let’s tell Caregiver what you would like to do today!”

And then, when you arrive at daycare, do not prompt your child, “What did you want to tell Caregiver today?” (“Tell” Caregiver. Not, oh… “ask”. Hmmm…)

And when the child CAN’T REMEMBER, do not REMIND him/her.

“Remember, honey? You said you wanted to go tooooo…”

“The lie-berry?”

“That’s right, honey! You wanted to go to the library!”

“Lie-berry! YAY!!”

Do not then look at the caregiver and say, “I hope it’s okay, but s/he really wanted to get out another CURIOUS GEORGE BOOK (right honey? you wanted a Curious George book!!)”

“CURIOUS GEORGE! YAY!!”

Do not do this, because:

1. Your caregiver might have made other plans for the day. It’s not that she can’t redirect your child (easily, once you and your expectations have gone), it’s that she shouldn’t have to.

2. Your caregiver, regardless of whether she’s made plans for the day, might prefer to be consulted about her workday’s agenda.

3. Your caregiver might have philosophical concerns about confirming a two-year-old’s notion that s/he is The Boss of the Universe.

4. Your caregiver might take offense at the implication that she does not take Precious to the library often enough.

5. Your caregiver might be annoyed that you assume that Precious’s wants should take precedence over any or all other children in her care.

6. She might further be annoyed that you seem to have less awareness than Precious that there are other children in the daycare with their own wants and needs. Kids, who, perhaps, enjoy, oh, the park as much as Precious enjoys the library.

In short, it will Piss Your Caregiver Off.

Don’t do it.

October 16, 2008 Posted by | daycare, manners, parents, power struggle, the dark side | , | 16 Comments