Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Smile Like you Mean It

Lots of times when I'm thinking of something, I'll click over to read Mary P. and see it written much more eloquently than I ever could.  Like this post about mood, for example.  If you don't feel like clicking through, it's about how the adult in the room sets the tone for the day, because toddlers WANT to be happy.  As she says, a child stuck in a funk is usually tired and can be fixed with a nap, but almost no kid can stay happy in the face of a grumpy adult.

This morning my big kids had some issues that they needed to work through- shoes that wouldn't stay on and painting that should happen NOW instead of later, and I started thinking that if they spent half the energy trying to fix the problem instead of just whining, how much easier would it be?

And then I turned it around on myself and thought, Oh.  Right.

So I asked them what would make them happiest for breakfast, and now they're eating baked oatmeal and smiling, and we're going to have a great day today!  The babies are milk-drunk and passed out happily and I"ll have some time for big kid curriculum stuff and more box-sliding and all kinds of good things.  Even if I started out the day feeling a little crabby, now I'm smiling and I do mean it.

And for real, when you get to hear this kind of laughter at work, HOW could you possibly feel grumpy about anything?

I think this is the easiest first day transition for a two year old that I've ever had.  She's sunny and delightful.  She ate well and slept well and is happy to come for hugs right away.  I mean, listen to the great laugh!  I love it.

Had I known beforehand that she was a redhead, I might have waited to name the new baby Merida.  But it's done and I do love my Merrybabies so I need to find a new name for this cutie.  I haven't used Rapunzel yet, or Tiana.. can't think of what else is new off the top of my head.  Oh, Wreck-it Ralph is the newest Disney and I do like the little racer girl character, but I think that spelling Vanellope is going to be tiresome.  I had to look it up just now to manage it once.  :)  We'll see how it shapes up.

I put the box in the playroom yesterday thinking they'd go inside and build a fort or something.  I didn't expect them to turn it into a slide.  It works well though and they are all really enjoying it!

And here's my cue that breakfast is over.  Remy would like some help with his escape!  Off to have a fabulour morning!  Alice tells me we need to go play library now.  :)

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Painting Fun

I bought pink paint last night!  This is reason for rejoicing.  I also bought blue, which made Alice super happy and she tried really hard to talk me into using that this morning instead.  Girl loves her some blue.  However, our paintings go with our book, and we're supposed to use the color they recommend to connect thoughts to what is happening in the story.  "I" longed for strawberry ice cream.  Not for berry blue.  Pink it is.

Remy was the last painter today, which made him sad.  He watched the other three paint with his one eye, while he buried his head in my lap and heaved big sighs.  When it was finally his turn, he was very pleased.  He also got a cheerleading section and some backseat driving.

Perdita kept running commentary the ENTIRE time he held the paintbrush.  "REMY!!  REMY PAIN!  REMY PAIN!!! PAIN AH-KEEM!!  AH-KEEM REMY!!"  I think she just wanted some sort of acknowledgement from him, but he was focused on his task and ignored her completely.  That meant, of course, that she had to keep yelling.

Mater just needed to touch base and make sure it was the same paint he'd used.  Also point out spots that needed touch up.

And then he touched a little too closely.

And he was perturbed by the pink paint on his fingertip, and I nearly got an eyeball-ful of it.

Happy Thursday!!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Worky Worky, Busy Bee...

I don't even remember what product that commercial was advertising, but the phrase makes me laugh.  So I guess it's a fail since it doesn't make me want to go buy whatever it was, but the writers were clever.  Win for them.

But yes!  Work!  Busy bee!  I'm sneaking in a few minutes of writing while the big kids eat their breakfast and the baby sleeps.  I have a new baby, and she is delicious.  She has cheeks I need to eat with a spoon.  I so MUCH enjoy getting new tiny ones.  Makes me love my job all over again.  I like watching the way they move up the food chain, so to speak, and how the ones who I so clearly remember as my babies are now the big ones.  They're always so interested in a new baby- wanting to learn names, asking about feeding, and SO concerned every time there's a cry.  OH!  Baby crying!  You feed her?  She poopy?  I think there are multiple good lessons to be learned in a family environment with a little bit of age spread.

And then, I am also realizing that right now I have a little bit more age spread than I want, now that I have just me and no more Kanga.  I've never really been able to set a firm graduation date because one of us has always had our own kids here.  It makes no sense to say you graduate at 2 when there's a 3 year old here who would love playmates.  Plus when there are two adults, it's easy to divide and conquer.  One can take the care and feeding of the small squishy ones while the other paints and dances and builds block towers.  With just me, everything is adequately taken care of, don't get me wrong there, but I just feel like I want to be doing more for the older ones that I don't have the opportunity to do by myself.

For a short time I'm going to be at capacity- next week I have a new two year old starting.  She'll only be here for three months and then her mama's deployment is over.  After that, my big ones are going to start graduating.  Mater and Lady are already set to go in June.  My goal (within the next six months to a year) is to get to the point where I am mainly an infant provider and graduate them between 18 months and their second birthday.  It makes me feel weird to even say that- like I'm being disloyal to my current two year olds.  I'm not trying to kick anyone out or rush people away, and I love all the families I serve.  I'm just being honest about where I want my business to go, and doing the very best I can to give all my little people the most in their first few years.

If you think about the way a corporate center is set up, the kids change rooms about every six months.  That's because there's such huge developmental changing going on.  A six month old is doing very different things than a six week old.  I've even found that two years and four months is very different from twenty two months, especially in terms of climbing and motor skills.  I just feel like in order to give it my all, I need to focus age a little more closely.  And right now I have a fabulous support system of home providers who don't take the kids until they're close to two because they run AMAZING preschool programs.  My friend Kathy currently has Silvermist (who will be going to kindergarten this fall!) and also Hercules, and she'll be taking Mater and Lady for sure- maybe some of the others too.  She's also got the older sisters of my newborn, so it works well that we can coordinate.  If she's full, I have other friends to recommend also.  In this area there are not as many who focus on infants, and that is where I want to be.

In the meantime, life here is busy and fun.  Merryweather has been in and out lately since they've had a lot of family in town, and I'm getting settled with the new one. OOH.  Merida.  I haven't used any names from Brave yet, and although she doesn't have triplet brothers who turn into bears, she is fabulous.  I'll start teaching her archery as soon as she can hold her own bottle.

I also like having my Merry girls.  :)  We used to have the Pink Ladies, and now I have my Merry babies.

We're doing The Letters Are Lost right now for our curriculum, which is a book I'd never read before I ordered the work.  They really like it.  I have a copy for everybody to take home when we're done, as usual, and by then your kid should have it mostly memorized, so no worries on that front.  It's very alphabet centered and so we're doing lots and lots of letter work and talking about sounds.

Yesterday we did L is for Ladybug and used fingerprint stamps to give her spots.  It was fun.

*Updated to add* -If you're a current parent and this is the first you're hearing of the change, don't panic.  :)  I'm talking to the parents of the older ones as I feel their kids are ready to graduate, and I'll be instituting the younger graduation date for NEW babies I accept.  You guys are grandfathered in and I'll work with you all individually on leave dates as your kids are ready.  :)