ShesActuallyPrettySmart

Never trust a pretty girl with an ugly secret

Valentine’s hangover daycare style

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

The hangover was huge and the celebration wasn’t even over.

A playroom brawl of sorts.  Some were reeling, some were rocking, a lot were whining – vintage “no pleasure” wine.  The theme had changed from love-n-hugs to spoiled-n-cranky and the air stank of uh-oh maybe we shouldn’t have but it’s too late now..

The daycare party had started out super.  We were  having a ball.  Face painting, exchanging valentines, enjoying treats, playing games and then, the vaguely familiar downhill slide.  Bratty and Selfish, my two favourite friends, arrived uninvited to join the celebration, along with MyMommySaid and It’sMine.  No longer enough room in the house.  It’s around this time when I start to ponder.. why do it.  Why put out so much energy and devotion time after time for events that take a lot of extra effort, only to feel jilted and as cranky as the kids (thank goodness for humour).   Because sometimes, sometimes it’s just not worth it.

As I looked around and listened to the chaos ensuing a ripped off feeling settled in on my world, but it’s not about me.

I was disappointed.  Darn kids.  They were so not showing the love on Valentine’s Day.  Actually no, I will change that – it’s not their fault.  For this shambles I mostly blame the parents.  Darn parents.

Yes parents once again I am talking to you.  Just wanna help here.  Take the blame graciously.  Maybe choose small steps and make some changes.  Read a few “how to not spoil your child” books or blogs.  Join a therapy group.  Do something.

Here is the deal.  It was Valentine’s Day.  We had been incorporating some extra learning components of love, friends, sharing and caring, hearts, red and sugar, into our daily activities leading up to the actual day and everyone was loving it.  We made some adorable little milk carton mail boxes and crafted some sweet valentines to put in them.. however, little minds drift and we couldn’t quite keep the focus long enough to finish one for all of our friends, so I told the parents what we were working on and could they please bring some extra little valentines cards from their child to deliver to their friends’ mail boxes on Valentine’s Day.  Pretty simple.  Sigh, but no.  Big mistake.  This is when the problem began, and does every time.  Some how that little bit of inclusion in our daycare celebratory affairs means parents want to take over.  But don’t get me wrong.

Help is fine.   It’s awesome.

Take over – not cool.

Offering to bring cupcakes is kind and welcome.  But not loot bags, gifts, party hats and clowns (especially without consulting me)  It’s not a birthday party.  When these items come from home your child naturally is proud, but with this can also come possessiveness.  Your child will insist on giving stuff out herself, refuse to share, not wish to leave their favors or participate in the activities planned and open their gifts/loot bags at inappropriate times.  Then you have the copycats who hadn’t thought of this behaviour and immediately decide it’s the thing to do.  Mayhem.  When you times this by 6, believe me it becomes downright unruly, not the ideal party atmosphere.  Ever.

I haven’t quite pinpointed the source of this behaviour.  From the parents I mean.  The need to become bossy and make everything so extravagant (which is nice way of putting it) and while seeming generous, the day becoming about your child.. what they will get as opposed to what they get out of it.

Ouch! Veronica just kicked me. For those of you who don’t know she is my imaginary friend, who speaks up – verbally or physically – letting me know things I should say to parents.

Ok.  I’ll own it.  I do know the source of this behaviour.  Ahaha.  Parents often try to take over (perhaps unknowingly unless they are just natural control freaks) out of guilt.  They know they don’t spend enough time with their child and want to feel like they are contributing to their child’s happiness by telling us what to do (in their absence).  This happens occasionally in the day to day routine, but when there is a party at a holiday time, the parents go nuts.  They want to plan everything.

I’m fine thanks!  I try to say.  I am pretty good at these (after 10 years).  Everything is planned.. but they don’t listen.

Really, we are ok!  No use.  They don’t care.  And I don’t feel like I should be too rejecting of the offers because I want parents to be involved, to some extent.  And the intentions are usually coming from the right place.  Your hearts.  You all adore your children.  I know you do.  And you are just trying to be helpful.  I really appreciate it.  Honest.

But what you don’t seem to realize.. and honestly I don’t know why.  When kids are very young everything is already exciting simply because it’s a new day.  Imagine their world and emotions when it is a “special occasion day” how exciting and uncontrollably super fantastically overwhelming it can be.  Therefore on a day like this it only makes sense if you take a minute and think about your child and their world (and don’t add your adult guilt ridden baggage to the equation) that

LESS IS MORE

and any more than less is too much and everything starts to go wrong until there is a complete

meltdown

and then

NO ONE.  HAS.  FUN.

But as always children are the best.  Waking up after their much needed naps as fresh as can be, forgetting all about the morning party mess.  Armed with millions of hugs and kisses for me.  Not just because it’s Valentine’s Day, but because they are so great.

That’s why I do this job.

I love you guys

10 years in and it still makes me sad..

boy @ window

what about me

It will always make me sad.

Thursday morning, Dumb Dad (in my mind this is what I call this Dad..and believe me, I am being polite.  He earned every letter of it I promise) arrived with his son.  Dumb Dad usually arrives between 8 and 815, however all week so far he had been somewhat tardy, say 9.  He was not decked out in his regular uniform dapper Dan shoes, snazzy suit and businessman-y trench coat, but rather quite casual attire;  jeans, running shoes and sweaters (at least no “Porn star stunt double” t-shirt this week-off, thank-god).  I knew something was up, because when he has vacation time he normally boasts about where they are off to and how great it’s going to be.  However all week this week he said nothing.  In fact was suspiciously avoiding conversation and made quick exits each morning.  It’s not really any of my business what he does and why he is off work so I didn’t ask questions.  I actually appreciated not having to talk, or should I say listen to him as he often gets on my nerves with his lame jokes and trying to impress me comments.

Ok, so Thursday morning before Dumb Dad could get out the door his son, “Josh” starts to question.. Kids are not stupid.  He knew his Dad was going back home.

Without him.

Nice.

Josh says a little nervously, “where are you going Daddy?”

Caught.  And Dumb Dad fumbles, having no answer.

Josh asks again, lip quivering.

Dumb Dad says, “back home ..uhhh, I have some stuff to do.”

Like what?.. You mean you haven’t gotten all your websurfing, video gaming, working out and movie watching done yet?  All stuff, take note, that you can do with your son at home.  Hell, go out on a limb, even try doing some of it together.  With your son.

My turn to ask a question.  Innocently.  “You have some time off this week?”

Dumb Dad, who is really dumb as you will see, replies, not even embarrassed, or maybe too dumb to realize.. saying almost proudly, “yep it’s my last week of parental leave.  The baby is almost 1 and Sue’s maternity leave is up so we decided to spend a week of family time together.”

Family time.  Isn’t that time when you are with your family?  Or is Josh not part of the family..

My turn for my lip to quiver.

“Don’t worry buddy, Mummy and I will come pick you up together tonight ok?  That will be special.”  I don’t have to tell you that that was Dumb Dad talking.

And then as usual Josh asks, but this time a little more quietly, sadly, “will you wave at me in the window Daddy?”..

I am sad.

I don’t need to say anymore.

It should be the end of the blog.

You parents who are guilty, and surprise, after 10 years of working in daycare it’s no secret to me – there are many more guilty parties than not..

You should all be ashamed.

Parental leave is not a vacation.  I understand the need for some adult time and definitely couple time is important; by all means take it.  But your children are only small for such a small period of time and it is a gift that you get to spend it with them.

I am sad that this is a fact of our selfish society and that a huge segment of our population would rather drop their children with caregivers than care for them or about them themselves.

I am happy, so very happy I am not you.

Don’t forget the elbows. Ahem, wenis

Last summer I stopped off at a coffee shop and found myself in line behind a huge group of older cyclists.  I was thirsty and they were having trouble choosing what kind of iced coffees or teas to have so the wait seemed to be extraordinarily long.  Also having not brought my cell phone in with me made for plenty of time to observe..

Older cyclists out in the middle of nowhere (think I was on my way to watch one of my daughter’s horse shows, so we were pretty remote).. They must have cycled far – impressive.

So many people.  How social – good for them.

Biking shorts on older men.. uhh.. hmm, comfy and practical I imagine.  But truly NOT a good look at this age, or any age really.  Must remember to tell my boyfriend, if he ever gets the urge to sport them it’s just a gigantic faux-pas unless he’s competing in the Tour de France.  Even then, not.

Look at all these white heads (I was behind them in line remember) and..eww.

Bad ELBOWS.

Yes. I said bad elbows.

Terrible elbows.  What was going on anyhow?

I had never paid close attention, or any attention, to elbows before.  I mean why would I?  Unless we fall off our bikes and skin them, I suppose we don’t give much thought to our elbows simply because we don’t actually see them. ..On ourselves.

However, at that minute in line at the coffee shop I sure could see elbows.  Lots of elbows.  Too many.   Old elbows; scaly, loose, wrinkled-up, dried out, little flaps of ignored skin, hanging off the backs of arms.  Ugh.  Some even had a dirty look perhaps from too much time spent leaning about.  Old forgotten elbows.  I wished those cyclists would freakin’ hurry up and cycle away.  Or that it was fall and they at least had had the decency to put on longsleeves.

That’s when I made a big decision.

Listen up.

I decided that following necks, elbows are a dead give away to age and aging.

And should be given tons more attention.  Immediately.

Hurry.

I got out of line and went to the ladies room to do a quick analysis of my own elbows.  Not dirty, thank god. Not scaly or wrinkled, phew.  But a little dry and sigh, maybe starting to sag.  Yikes.  40 yr old elbows.  But better to take heed late than never.  As never (for example at the coffee shop) was a little scary.  Promised to myself and my elbows to find the best cream (which based on cost, results and the non- greasy feeling against my sheets, so far has been Nivea Q10) and designate some allotted time in my daily self preservation & pampering routine for the elbows.

So now it’s winter and with that comes dry everything; hair, nails, lips, skin… which has reminded me to pass on the word.

Dry elbows make you look old.

Must not forget to hydrate and take extra care.

Ladies and gentlemen, I wish I had discovered this sooner.

Don’t forget the elbows.  Or should I say, your wenis..

without laughing

I have no words

..because there are none

good enough.

Just hugs.

For all my little ones

past and present.

who wears the pants?

..and why do I care?..

’cause I always care.

Fuck..

Even when I say I don’t or don’t want to..

I always, always care..

Ok, so, I bought a most awesome pair of pants a while back.

We’ve all been there.. finding a must-have item that you love at first sight even though you have no clue what occasion might call for such a splash (especially when for me sporting them to work is out.  For donning anything remotely awesome never happens due to the chance of someone wiping boogers on your leg being extremely high) .. but you don’t worry about that you buy it anyways. And anxiously await the perfect moment.

Finally it happenes.

Pants time!

I was going to meet my boyfriend for the launch of a world renowned muscian’s documentary film with musician present..so the attire, I assumed, was slightly more dress-up than dress down.  Based on only knowing where this event was being held however (odd locale) I chose not to wear a skirt, but instead my awesome, new, snappy cigarette pants, fitted black silk blouse & black leather jacket, black high heeled booties.

Classy but not uptight (haha, never uptight) sleek, flirty and quite standout-ish considering the retro 60’s flashy print on the awesome pants. (I’m positive there is a proper fashion term for this type of pattern, but I can never remember that smartypants terminology)

Important detail – I’m usually a jeans/jeggings high-heel boots kinda girl.

But I knew I rocked this outfit.  I felt great and it was fun.  Mental noted to myself, “should really branch out from my uniform of sexy Guess clothes more often”.

I was in an awesome “love my pants” mood.  You are lying if say you don’t know what I’m talking about.

And then, my bubble was burst.

Pop.

Just like that

I arrived in time to miss the pre-show meet n greet with the famous musician. (Of course I missed him.. I am notoriously late, though honestly always trying my best not to be.. blog topic for another time) But that was not the happy-bubble bursting moment.  No..

My boyfriend comes over, reminding what I just missed, smiles his charming I miss you smile, gives me the usual bigger-than-life, I love you with all my heart hug, then takes a step back and still smiling (though almost laughing..I obsessed later) says, “wow look at you!  You look beautiful.  ..Where did you get your pants?”

Bubble burst.

Believe me, he was not asking where I got my pants because he wanted a pair for himself.  Nor was he wondering about the store or the designer.  It did seem like he liked my look.. though even as I’m writing this I am still not sure, ..but he was umm, surprised?  Ribbing?  Flirting?

Where did I get my pants??

wtf

Was he hinting from Mr.DressUp’s tickle trunk?  Because that was more the tone.  At least to my over sensitive ears ..and feelings.  Why couldn’t he have stopped at Wow..and you look beautiful?  And I’m sure he wished he had too.  The night was still good (not great) and I still had fun (not amazing) and we didn’t fight or anything (because it’s not my style and just to set the record straight, he is truly a wonderful man, and never a jerk.. in case you were wondering as this is your first introduction to him) but inside it really really bothered me.  All night.  Yep.  The whole darn night.

He kept trying to make it right (don’t try guys you never can).  And that bothered me.  And the fact that it bothered me bothered me even more.  And still does to this day.  Annoying.

So why, I ask, when I felt really awesome, did I care?  I am not insecure or lack confidence in the least.  My boyfriend is more than sweet on the compliments and makes me feel like a princess.  Am I just a loser who let’s little nothing comments spoil their whole being? (well at least for the evening haha)

Why when inside and out I felt greater than great, did I let one remark bring me down..and it wasn’t even a huge insult or anything – imagine?!

I don’t have the answer.  And probably never will.  It’s just one of my things I suppose.  Lucky me.

But when I ask who wears the pants I do have the answer.  And the answer is me.  I wore the same awesome pants a few weeks later, rocked them again and every woman in the place was envious (admit it, we women know these kinds of things).

Touche.

Next time I may even try hot pants.

..but my dear sweet boyfriend you might wanna stop at “you look beautiful”.

Please. Do not send gloves

I know, I know.

They are cute.  They are fun. They are fashionable.. and gloves come in so many funky colours and styles today.

And sure, I understand, “Ashley really wanted them” and “she can almost do them all by herself”..

No, she can’t.

Or even better,

Marvellous.  She can put them on ’til her heart’s content – at home.

At my daycare “Ashley” is one of 6 children.  Cold weather has arrived and so has the many layers of clothing needed to have an enjoyable time outdoors. We all know that we can’t have one without the other.  Like peanut butter and jam.  Cold weather and lots of layers.  I personally would opt for bikinis all year, however, somehow I apparently didn’t have the proper mindset for this when deciding where I would put my roots down for this portion of my life.  Ahh hindsight…

Caught dreaming, excuse me, may happen from time to time.  Actually, dreaming is how I chalk it up to having kept my sanity for this long in the home daycare environment.  How else does one escape those horrible not-so glam moments?

Now back on topic.

Gloves.    (and any other cute, whimsy, pernickety item of clothing that children insist on doing themselves and may take a competent adult a ridiculous amount of time to master)

Leave them at home.

I will cut right to the chase.  As mentioned above, every day I have 6 children under the age of 5yrs to tackle getting dressed for the cold weather and snow.  By myself.

We are in no particular hurry, as I feel childhood should not be plagued by constant rushing and stressing about time.  There will be enough of that in their lives later on, or maybe already, depending on their parents’ situations.  However, with 6 pairs of snow pants, boots, hats, neck warmers and jackets that all need to be snapped, tied, tightened, tugged, shoved, grasped and zipped before little people crawl away, need to pee or start undressing because they are too hot and sweating, I’d like to save every second I can.  I think that’s a pretty reasonable aspiration.

Parents, remember when you said, “I don’t know how you do it?”  It’s when we are almost done getting dressed for the snow and I am in the home stretch, which at a daycare is putting on the mittens, that I wonder too, how I do it..

6 little sets of hands x 10 little fingers = 60 little fingers that must be placed in 6 little pairs of stretchy, cute, funky coloured, whimsy, pernickety, annoying little gloves.  Do you know how many times I help “Ashley” try to get her two fingers out of the one finger hole to have them placed right? And she is just the first of 6 waiting to put their little gloves on.. Grrr.. I am now sweating too.  Not from wearing winter clothes, I get dressed last, but sweating from the frustration created by parents who forget or have  no idea what it is we daycare educators do.. And that is, smile and say “no Ashley, wrong finger hole” and help her try again until she gets it right.

Please read the notes that we send home.

They are not written for no reason.  I promise you that.

Please do not send gloves.

the first of many secrets..

 

You would never guess, but apart from crazy people, teachers are by far my worst clients..

Gasp!

No.. can’t be..

              You bet, and I will tell you all about it real soon.

We don’t do it for the paycheck, but one might be nice..

Obviously this does not speak to all parents, however, the guilty parties (they know who they are)  hopefully are reading and taking careful note.  Though I must say I am aware that the odds are I’m only reaching the already conformed; “my good parents”, as I like to call them.  The other avoiding skulkers, “my bad parents” are off galavanting somewhere amidst the bliss of ignorance, disorganization, “you are not worthy Babysitter” and basic “I don’t give a shit”..

How else can you justify on the first of every month not producing a cheque.  It’s like the rent.. you know it’s due.

How do you just not pay someone?  For days.. for services rendered.  When you clearly still want the service because you keep coming back.

How can you bear to continually show up, face to face, morning after morning, with your precious cargo for whom you owe the money for their care, adding yet one more unpaid day.. with a dopey smile on your face and an empty promise, to once again “bring the cheque tomorrow” falling out of your mouth?

Incredible.

Incredible, because I’m not talking about one or two families over the years, and I’m not talking about one or two incidences.  If that was the case it wouldn’t be worth mentioning.  I would say in my experience it has been roughly 50% of the families, at least 50 % of the time.  That would be a lot of small children wandering about outside my door if I had no reception until payment.  Hmm.. what a novel idea..

I too brought my young children to daycare at one time, and once or twice was forgetful and guilty of showing up empty handed on the first day of the month.  But guess what?  I had respect for the woman who so selflessly worked hard caring for my child everyday.  I believed she earned every penny that was owed and I promptly returned with her money, that very same day.

Do you have to ask your boss for your paycheck?  Remind him it’s a pay week?  and if he did forget to pay you, which sounds absurd just reading it now, how would you feel if he said, “sorry I forgot, I’ll get it to you tomorrow”..  Exactly.  Think about it.

It’s no secret, daycare workers don’t make a lot of money and no one opens a daycare thinking they are going to get rich.  But we do work hard and deserve our paycheck..on time.

I think that’s called respect.

my so-called introduction

And so, I have a blog, a forum.. ok maybe a soap box.  Nevertheless, I finally created an outlet for my opinion and thoughts, but haven’t a clue where to start.  Writer’s block on the second post?  Haha, it’s possible, but no.  Organizational problems? ..more likely.  Trouble prioritizing, attention deficit, feeling like a kid in a candy store?  Yes.  Most definitely.

I’ll try to keep it simple.  My blog I mean.  Seems like nothing is ever simple.

Don’t read too much into what I’ve written other than the words you see in front of you.  I’m not that deep, or am I?  Hmm.. may depend on the day.

Don’t take offence to what I write. But if you do, maybe it’s because you see traces of yourself.  Breathe and reflect.

Don’t box me into a category or niche.  I am a home daycare educator and sometimes will be writing and revealing the awesome and not so awesome moments of a day-in-the-life.  But I am a woman first; mother, daughter, sister, friend, and girlfriend.  And have lots to say about everything.

Have fun in the moment. Life is fleeting

by the way..

Dear Readers,

   “Dedicated to everyone who wonders if I’m writing about them.  I am.”

                                                                                       ~author unknown

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