Day Care Syndrome aka Home Sweet Home

cropped-cropped-cropped-header1.jpgThere are wonderful milestones that parents happily anticipate achieving. No more messy diapers, no more dripping sippy cups, no more highchair taking up valuable space, no more child safety locks and no more playpen. These things remain constant in a family day care home. They become part of the ordinary landscape, even gaining creative usefulness.

My playpen is an all purpose storage area including single forgotten socks and dog toys. The highchair lives on my porch. It has become a valuable spot to hang damp clothing and place plants in need of repotting. Each no longer in use for their intended purpose, have become the tapestry of my happy home. To the seasoned decorator, they are tacky and ill matched. I’ve noticed that day care providers are not the dinner party hostess type and it’s no wonder. I stopped seeing things through that kind of discriminating “eye” years ago.

Hand prints on mirrors are invisible unless I’m taking a photograph and notice them through the focused lens.
Stacks of drawings in the center of my kitchen table aren’t a nuisance unless I’m searching for a pen. Coat hooks are meant to hold multiple coats and bags aren’t they? Scatter rugs move like icebergs in my home. I know they aren’t ever stationed where they were first placed but never actually see them make a move.

Quick efficiency is treasured more than strict order in the family day care home. A play area can be transformed into a cozy den with a sweep and a tuck. At week’s end, we have a treasure hunt for toys, socks, and sippy cups that have gone missing. This event is looked forward to by the kids. (Warning: avoid serving milk in wandering sippy cups.)
Be advised. A bulletin board is essential but may come crashing down in the quiet of the night when loaded with more than 7 pounds of papers, which include the emergency numbers, class photos, old spelling words and triumphant tests, paintings by more than one child, as well as, the usual seasonal decorations, and grocery lists.
And last, but not least, imagine on retirement day the rewarding experience to be had when the toilet paper roll is not perpetually empty but filled with quality paper. The kind that requires only a few sheets for adults but would stop up a toilet like cement when used at “kid” proportions. Ah…now that’s a milestone to aim for!

Say what?

Ah, my first post centers directly on the true Dumb Peas, which are adults. We cannot seem to talk to kids in other than ambiguous terms. I’m no better than all the rest.

Just yesterday, the kids asked for some empty coffee cans to be used to collect rocks. Happily, I retrieved two of them from an avalanche created just by opening the cupboard door beneath my sink. (Did I mention that day care providers are wonderful at recycling? )
As I set them off outdoors on one of the first warm spring days, I shouted, “Don’t collect too many.” Say what?
What does too many mean? It should have been obvious, to a seasoned professional, that “too many” translates differently in a kid’s world. Yet I distinctly heard myself say it!

While we’re at it, STOP has a clear dual meaning. We adults will never learn that “stop”, even when shouted, means “pause and wait for the adult to turn away” to children.

How about the ever popular, “Be careful.” ? ¬†This is voiced by each and every adult when sending the kids out to play, without hesitation or embarrassment.

But my favorite will always be, “Don’t fall.” offered freely to toddlers learning to run and to bigger kids hanging from trees. Really?

When I consider all the stupid things adults cannot seem to overcome saying, it frightens me a bit and makes me wonder, who really is “in control” at my house.