Friday, August 30, 2013

Timing Is Everything

I started doing this job in June 2002, after finishing up my fourth year of teaching sixth grade.  That was such a bad year that I told my principal at my end-of-year interview that I would rather drive a garbage truck than have another year like that.  I'm not always very diplomatic, I'm afraid.  But she forgave me and I actually ended up taking care of her grandson two years later so it all worked out.  This job is where I belong.

I worked with my mom at her house from 2002-2005, and then we split the business.  (that's why one of my email addresses still has bb in front of it- we were called Bright Beginnings at her place.) I brought Duchess and her big kid friends home when she was two and I did toddler/preschool daycare by myself for almost two years.  After that my parents moved in with us and Mom helped me out for about eight months while I was pregnant with O'Malley.  Fall of 2007 she got a job outside the house and I was alone til April of 2009 when Kanga started.  Kanga had to leave in December 2012 and so it's been just me again for the past eight months. 

Everyone has been asking if I planned to hire someone else to come in and I've been pretty hesitant about it.  Working with Kanga was really smooth and easy and I just wasn't sure if it would be the same with somebody different.  Also, I definitely didn't want to hire a stranger, and I didn't know anybody who was interested.  But it's been pretty lonely- I forgot how much difference it makes to be able to have some adult conversation during the day.  I love having someone to bounce ideas off of, and to have a person who knows your strengths and weaknesses and can fill in the gaps.  At the beginning of the summer I toyed with shutting the daycare and going back to teaching.  No worries- it's not happening.  I would like the schedule now that my kids are in school, but I don't actually love elementary school the way I do the littles.  I started thinking about what my favorite things were about teaching.  It was the good kids- the ones who really were fun to have in class and liked to learn.  I'm friends with some of them on facebook because now they are grownups.  Turns out my very favorite one (for real, even then) is looking for a job.  She has previous daycare and nanny experience.  I've known her since she was eleven and I am excited about working with her.

The problem is just trying to get the timing right.  Do you remember that commercial a few years back where the guy was sitting in a park and the ambulance comes screeching up?  Paramedics jump out and start yelling about the limb.  Where's the limb?  Get the ice!  The guy is just looking at them like they're insane, so they apologize and leave.  As they turn the corner, a crazed gorilla with a chainsaw comes running out of the woods right at the guy and the voiceover says, "Timing is Everything."

I wanted to find it on youtube but I'm having trouble, I think partly because I don't know what product they were trying to sell.  Anyway, that is totally how I feel right now.  I really would love her to come work with me, but she can't just quit her job and sign on till I have enough kids here to support two people. So!  If you are thinking about starting, please get in touch with me!  I've got fresh young help and that is exciting!  If I can't find some more kids soon, she might have to give up this idea and look for something else, and that would make me sad. 

The fabulous two year olds I was keeping are driving away in the ambulance, so to speak.  If I'd had any idea this was going to work out the way it is, I would never have said I wanted to graduate them.  I miss Remy, and I will miss Perdita in a few weeks.  Hoping to hang onto Alice a little longer but she very well may go too, since *I* was the one who kicked off this whole "I'm only going to keep infants" thing.  One age group was the best plan for me when I was thinking I'd be alone, but with two people I wish I'd kept my mouth shut!  Argh.  Yup, timing is everything.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Friday Focus: Alice

Look, it's Alice!  I like this picture of her.  It's the current one on her cubby. She's very excited about "hair pretties" these days.  Her mom brought me a whole bunch so I can continually put little piggies in.  Makes everyone happy.

She really is pretty happy most of the time.  This was a rare sad moment I caught and it doesn't even look too sad.  More horrified, or possibly constipated.  :)  Mostly she just plays and talks and makes cupcakes and talks and reads and talks.  Oh, and also talks.

This post has been sitting in draft because she has SO many awesome one-liners that I get bogged down and overwhelmed when I come to write them down.  She makes me laugh out loud every single day, and her vocabulary is pretty amazing for her age.  She's spending the night tonight.  I was sitting at the table eating mac and cheese with her while my iTunes played on shuffle.  Some song by Material Issue came on, I don't even remember which one.  She starts bopping around in the chair immediately.  "OH!  Ms Kelli, do you like this song?  Will you rock out with me?"

Rock out.  I could die from the cuteness.  And then other days it's like still having Kanga around.  She'll follow me around and say really grown-up sounding things like a coworker would.  "Oh, are you pouring Perdita milk?  That sounds like a good plan."  FOR REAL.  She says things like that all the time.  "I think actually we ate pears last week Ms Kelli."

And I'll say, "would you like some more milk?"  And she says, "That would be a yes."  She kills me.

She got super huggy awhile back- this picture is kind of old since Mater was still here, but it was a really fun morning.  They all went around and took turns hugging, and she was orchestrating it all.  "Okay, now I will hug Remy.  Lady, you hug Mater.  Now I will hug Mater.  Remy, you hug Lady."  It just went on and on and then they started spinning around till they all fell down. 

Right now she's enjoying cupcakes and dinosaurs.  Oh, and the Three Bears still.  Officially we've finished the unit, but we still talk about it and read the book at least a couple times a week.  I eat pretend cupcakes probably 30 times a day too.  And she still loves anything blue.  Cracks me up.  "This is blue!  Blue is my color!  I like it!  It is pretty like me!"

And it absolutely is.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Too Hot, Too Painful

So.  The week of July 4 I was noticing that asking my dad to fix the caulking around the playroom doors didn't really help.  Still too warm in there.  I'll admit I was blaming the heat partially on him and his workmanship- which is ridiculous because it's what he does for a living and he's good at it.  But hey, you know.  If you can't pass the buck on to your dad, then who?

By that weekend I had to admit it was the window unit.  Since the playroom used to be the garage, it isn't really connected to the central air for the rest of the house.  We have a big separate unit that USED to do its job.  I called Sears because we have an extended warranty agreement with them.

You may notice it is now August 15.  Going on six weeks of (too many hot phrases going through my head to process at once, ack!!) heat.  Some Like It Hot.  Feeling Hot Hot Hot.  In the words of Sweet Brown, ain't nobody got time for dat.  Alas, it's the Sears people.  This thing has been a comedy of errors in all ways, leading up to tonight where I actually have a new unit!  given to me under the terms of the agreement that we finally worked out!  installed back in the wall even though dad had to come over and cut the hole bigger!  And?

It has a different type of plug and won't fit in the existing socket.

I'm calling an electrician tomorrow.  Tonight just shoot me.

During all this time I've been conducting daycare in the kitchen and the living room, which was novel and fun for a bit, but we're all tired of it and very ready to get back to having all our space and toys and routines.  It's hard to bring enough stuff in there to entertain two age groups in one space and not have overlap that causes problems, not to even mention my kids who are SO TIRED OF SUMMER AND CAN'T WAIT TO GO BACK TO SCHOOL are bickering and want to play video games all day. 

And yes, go back and read that sentence.  Remind yourself that I was an English teacher before my children were born and sucked all the grammatical knowledge right out of my head.

Also last Wednesday I sprained my ankle.  Couple days of hopping and scooting, now in a boot and bruised like crazy.

But all that to say, we've made it through!  We've made it work!  The merry babies are mobile and into everything and the big kids have enjoyed mimicking the ridiculous contortions I make as I try to get from point A to point B.  We've read approximately 5,245 books, and played with the counting bears and built blanket forts and looked out the window at the lawnmowers or the bunnies, depending on what day it is.  It's all good.  Flexibility at its finest.

Tomorrow, or I guess really later on today, it's Remy's last day.  He'll be joining Lady, Mater, Hercules, and Silvermist over at my friend's in-home preschool.  We will miss him.  I'm making his favorite oatmeal for breakfast, which I will tell him is porridge.  If I'm lucky he'll use his "great big daddy bear" voice to talk to me about how it's too hot or too cold.  His bear voices when we read really make my day.

Next month, his space will be filled by a small delicious princess.  I need to double check and see what her mama's feelings are about pictures.  If I can, I'll steal one from facebook.  She has bows as big as her head.  I can't wait.