Frisking and Metal Detectors

I start my morning the same way every day usually. Get up early, enjoy a cup of coffee or a cold glass of water these days since I’m giving coffee up, and watch a show that I missed the night before. I enjoy a couple of hours of quiet blissful peace before the craziness ensues.

Over the years it never occurred to me to ever check pockets or bags. In my hand book that no one ever reads I set a rule that specifically says no outside food and no outside toys. Why? Well, for a number of reasons. Kids bring their own toys and they get super protective and it ends up needing to be put away anyways. Or it gets lost or broken. Not having them in the first place takes care of all of those scenarios. And no one is upset. Expect for maybe mom and dad who God forbid have to say no or take something away from their kid and have to endure a few minutes of temper tantrum. Build a bridge and get over it.

I ask that no outside food be brought mostly because then I have to hear the wailing of 10 other little voices of “Where’s mine”, “Oh I want that”, “Why don’t I get some”.  They sound like those stupid seagulls from Finding Nemo “Mine mine mine mine mine mine” Then I have to put the poor child in a place all by themselves so they don’t have toddler paparazzi ogling over their special McDonald’s hash brown and biscuit. And some have no problem reaching over and just swiping the food like that damn fox. Then even though the other 8 are wanting to do the same thing you hear a chorus of  “Swiper no swiping, swiper no swiping, SWIPER NO SWIPING!” Then the tears come. Damn it. Keep your kid in the car and let them eat the breakfast you rolled through McDonald’s for and for crying out loud rip that stinking toy out of their hand and leave it in the car. Most kids will “Get it” if you tell them you want to protect their precious from the other little hobbits!

This I figured went without saying that anything else that could fit in a hand or a pocket shouldn’t be brought to school. Now look I get it, things are over looked and sometimes kids are sneaky and they will try just about anything to get stuff by the parents and me. I found a bunch of things in kids pockets, bags, and purses. Chip clips, credit cards. This one girl even brought what looked like a handle to an exercise machine. Some U shaped metal thing.  How are kids left alone long enough to get a hold of this stuff? Some of it is innocent enough. It just blows my mind the things parents let kids get away with or how much they don’t watch what they are doing or getting into.

I thought I had it all figured out one day when something got by both of us. We had our normal day, morning activities, outside time, and lunch. Then we were putting out our mats and getting ready for nap time when one of the kids says “My tummy hurts.” I went through the normal barrage of  likely ailments to make him feel better. “Do you need to poop?” “Do you need a drink of water?” “Do you need to throw up?” “Did you get enough to eat?”. Things like that. Every answer was no. Until I simply asked “Whats wrong then?” And without missing a step he says “I ate Money.” …

You can imagine my face probably looked like one of those cartoons where the character is so surprised their jaw drops all the way to floor hitting it, bouncing back up, hitting the top jaw causing the lower to spin around like a cement truck. Dumb founded I asked “Where did you get Money?” Again like he does this every day “In my pocket.” Like duh it was in my pocket and I felt like eating it. *Smacking my forehead* The next thing that rolled through my brain was “Good god this is going to be one hell of a conversation with mom.”

Ok ok don’t get all nuts. That quarter, Oh yeah did I forget to mention it was a quarter that child swallowed?  Yeah a freaking quarter! I can barely swallow a claritin and that kid swallowed a damn quarter. Anyways, that quarter did not come from my house! At the time I was single. So my house stayed relatively clean. No coins laying around, no clothes, no dirty dished forgotten, or trash left on the table. My house was clean! I vacuumed and swept and mopped every stinkin day. Later we found out that kid got it out of his dad’s truck. Needless to say I ran a whole check on that kid and every other kid every day after that when they walked in in the mornings. I’m talking spread eagle frisking and pat downs. I even contemplated installing a metal detector just in case! I should have kept a “Keep sake” box of all the stuff I found in pockets after that. About a week later the same damn kid had a battery in his pocket. Thank goodness I frisked that little juvenile delinquent. If he had swallowed that we would have been in real trouble.

If you were curious, the quarter was found sitting at the base of his esophagus right before the stomach. It sat there for hours. It was scheduled to be extracted the next day. Except they couldn’t find it by then. He eventually passed it I’m guessing. Not at my house thankfully!

So when in doubt fellow providers…Stop and Frisk!

Oh yeah I almost forgot. About 2 weeks later I had a little girl shove little cooked peas and carrots up her nose. This month was just not my month. I tried just about everything to get them out of her nose. They were too soft for tweezers. I tried to squeeze her nose like a tube of toothpaste to get them to squish out. Nope. She tried blowing her nose. I even blew pepper in her face (Per her mother’s request) to try and get her to sneeze. She ended up going to the doctor to get them removed. Sheesh. Up until this moment I had never in all my years of caring for kids have kids swallow foreign objects or shove anything up their nose. Kids have a good way of showing you, you don’t know everything, you will never know anything, and if you think you know it all, you’re in for a rude awakening. Stop and frisk!

Stop-frisk NYCLU-logo

Do you ever get the feeling that you are being watched?

Being a daycare provider I have seen, heard, smelled, and dealt with a number of strange circumstances. But there is one story that seems to always get myself and my provider friends laughing so hard we can hardly contain ourselves. Or milk comes spraying out of our noses. Well not milk, coconut milk maybe, but that’s beside the point. The point is, sometimes we can be judgmental and what some people may say is cold. But darn it, we have to find the funny in the crappy job we have or we won’t make it through the day. No, your kid won’t make it through the day.

So many people don’t quite understand the importance of nap time for a provider. Its our sacred time. Its the time we have to finally sit down, eat a decent lunch, and decompress from the morning activities and craziness. It’s just as important as your breaks, or your lunch break at your job. Or just having some “Me” time. Its important for all involved. It’s important to little ones to rest because it helps them grow in so many ways. They also need some quiet down time to decompress and reset from all the stimuli. Nap time is an important time so when something interrupts my nap time I am not a happy camper. That includes when a child is awake early, or doesn’t go to sleep in the first hour. Even when my phone rings and the doorbell rings. Whatever it may be that stops the flow of our time of peace is not cool. So when I tell a parent “So and so didn’t nap well today.” And I get an “Oh good maybe they’ll sleep tonight.” It’s not GOOD! It has irritated me for the rest of the day. But I could talk for days about this.

So here is the scenario…

It’s nap time, it’s completely quiet expect for the melodic music playing as the children peacefully slumber. Its relatively dark too. The blinds are closed, curtains drawn. Just a tiny hint of light seeps in through the window in the front door and the window in the kitchen. You’ve made it as dark as you can so that the little buggers sleep soundly so that you can have a couple hours of peace. You are diligently working on an art project, or homework, or paperwork. Whatever it may be. Probably not any of those. Let’s be honest, you are probably binge watching some show on Netflix like “Girlfriends Guide to Divorce” Or “Prison Break.” Its ok, no shame. I watched them both! So no Judgement. When all of a sudden, only after an hour into nap time, you are overwhelmed with the sense that someone is watching you. It creeps over you like a silent fog and you shudder. Getting goosebumps all over your arms and the hair standing up on the back of your neck. Like some shit out of a damn horror film. The ones you never watch even when your husband begs you to because you know you won’t sleep for days after. Yeah that feeling. *Shudder* Feeling obviously uneasy, you slowly turn around, and there they are! 2 tiny little beady eyes are struggling to peer just over the railing of the pack-n-play. Just days before the little stinker decided to start pulling up on things. And you are facing the impending doom of a walker! He’s standing on his tip toes and you are no longer safe at nap time, you don’t have the security of them just laying there because they can’t do anything more than that anymore. You make eye contact. CRAP! You quickly turn back around, become stiff as a statue, and stop breathing all at once. Then, the eyes begin laughing uncontrollably like a villain in a Disney movie kind of way and all you want to do is run from the room screaming!

BUT YOU CAN’T! Damn it! You have to remain very still. If they see you looking at them again they will know for sure you know they are awake. They are now a T-rex and you, they’re prey. If you move at all, they will see you and it will ensure your nap time demise. The laughter stops and you hear the sound of tiny fingers sliding down the vinyl of the pack n play. Without hesitation you get up and move to a place they can’t see you if they pop back up. STOP! NO! YOU HAVE TO LEAVE EVERYTHING YOU WERE DOING BEHIND! You don’t have time to grab anything. You must go now!

You make it safely to your new hiding spot and can finally start breathing again. You hear the tiny creature stand back up again and begin the laugh but it stops abruptly. They’ve noticed you’re gone. You stop breathing again and close your eyes because you know what is about to happen. One of two things, either shrill high pitch screaming, or they lay back down and go to sleep. You hope for the latter and brace for the screams. You hear nothing and then a few minutes later the sound of drool being inhaled and exhaled. AHHHHH, they went back to sleep. You’ve escaped the peril that is the nap time disaster. You relax, settle into your seat, and prepare for another hour of blissful  quiet. You reach over for your laptop, open it up and begin surfing the web.

And just then you see out of the corner of your eye some movement. Ever so slightly you turn your eyes and see two more kids up from their naps. They’re standing there holding hands and look like the twins girls straight out of the shinning. That creepy feeling sweeps over you again as they say “Come play with us.” Boy peeking eyes

 

 

 

When life hands me lemons…I make Vodka!

As a daycare provider, I have many many stories of crazy children, full moon behavior, and even a list of pet peeves. Which I’ll share eventually. But, I want to talk about the situations that take unexpected turns. Those stories that make you shake your head and wonder how the hell that person made it to 30! Or in my case, the stories that make you understand why some animals eat their young. My friend and I call these scenario’s, exersaucer conundrums.

Here’s the set up, you need to do something. Like run to the restroom, or start lunch, or clean something up, whatever it is. But, you have a child that is… a little shit… a little difficult. Yes, you know the one. THE ONE! We all have one! You know that if you turn your back on them for one second, they are climbing on something, turning something over, pulling out all the toys and dumping them out, you name it, they do it. They are the kid that makes you re-think your entire life. They are the one that you know that if something catastrophic happens their parents are the ones who would same some shit about how you don’t watch the kids close enough even though you DON’T EVER LEAVE THEM ALONE! So you have to, no YOU NEED to put them into something that will keep them safe and save other kids from what ever crazy thing they get into and out of harms way while you do what you need to do. So you put them in an empty pack n play, a highchair, or AH HA! An Exercauser! Genius! Why an exersaucer? Well because folks, it has stuff on it! Stuff they can play with while you do whatever it is you need to do. And because they are doing something and not just sitting there in an empty pack n play you feel better about locking them up! Of course because they are difficult simply putting them IN the exersaucer looks a bit like trying to staple jello to a tree.

You pick the little stinker up and as you are just about to place them flawlessly into the contraption, guiding their legs into the holes of the cover and you think “FANTASTIC” one leg goes in and you  set the rest of them down and think you are in the clear. Just to discover as you were placing them in the exersaucer they manged to pull one leg in and its now stuck underneath their little body. So you pick them up just a bit to try to get that leg out from underneath them. But these little buggers are slick. You’ve lifted them up just enough for them to wiggle that other leg out and get that one stuck underneath them at about the same time you fixed the other leg. And this goes on for a minute maybe two. Depends on if you’re more stubborn than they are and are willing to keep up the shenanigans and prevail over the battle of the exersaucer! You’ve prevailed! You finally got them in the exersaucer without the threat of cutting off the circulation in their legs from having them trapped under the weight of their tiny body. Except now you have forgotten what the hell you were going to do that you needed them in there to begin with. Screw it, I’m sitting down for a minute!

This is the life of a childcare provider. Just when we think we’ve got it, something always wiggles its way back up the hole to fuck it all up!

Stop I'm peeing

Kids and Parents and Business OH MY!

Over the last 2 weeks I have been diving into my new adventure. Full force, both feet in, balls to the walls. I am so information overloaded that I literally had to take a break last Friday from reading and watching information videos and classes that I literally turned off my computer and phone and the ipad. Holy shit right?! Who does that? I came back to the real world and realized that yes, I was still a daycare provider and yes I still had my own family to care for. Overwhelmed much? We all feel that way sometimes. Whether we are parents at home, working parents, babysitters, nannies, daycare providers, whatever we are doing in our life we get overwhelmed and just need to “Turn off” sometimes. I realized am not yet the big shot MLM guru that I imagine myself to be. Yes my adventure is an MLM! Don’t judge. I’ll explain later. I’ll get there but I learned I needed to slow down, stop learning (Because I’ve learned enough for now), and start doing. So here I am, procrastinating on my blog. Just Kidding, I do have a point.

I really wanted to give you guys an idea of what my life is like as a spouse, a mom, a daycare provider, and now a business momtrepreneur. No I don’t think that is a word but lets pretend shall we?!  I do all of this and then I also decided to take on a blog too. CRAZY! So a typical day might look like this…

My alarm goes off at 5am. I hit the snooze until 5:15. 5:30 if I’m really exhausted. I get up and get dressed do all my normal morning stuff and if I’m lucky I might have 20 minutes of time left to do whatever I want to do before I have to wake my son up to get him ready for school. I get him up and get his breakfast, usually a homemade protein bar. I’ll talk about those in another post. He sits on the couch eating 2 protein bars for about 40 minutes while I make sure that the floors are vacuumed, toys are in place, and everything is ready for my daycare. at 6:45 I go wake up my daughter because she has to go with us to take bubba (That’s her name for her brother). I get her a protein bar too because god forbid she not have something to eat the second she wakes up. I get her shoes on and make sure my son has everything he needs to take to school. If I’m lucky we get out the door by 7am. Sometimes 7:05am if my son has decided that he either cannot located his sunglasses or his fidget spinner. (Those things make me batty) I get him to school by 7:10 and I’m on my way back him to receive my first daycare child around 7:20-7:30. From that moment on my day is just chaos. I receive children into my home until 9am. That is a policy that I implemented because I was getting too many kids coming in at 10 and 11. And then by that time its almost lunch and nap time. So they were missing out on learning and I also felt like I spent my entire morning just waiting on people. And that’s not fair to anyone. We do a learning activity, do circle time, read a book, go outside, yada yada. Around 11am I start getting ready for lunch and then we lay down around 12:30.

I get my break time between 1pm and 3pm. This time is sacred ground! Like draw a circle around me, throw some salt, call the sand man, leave me alone because I need this time to re-group! And if you are a provider also, even a parent, you understand where I’m coming from. Because god forbid if I don’t get my 2 hours of peace I am not a happy camper. It’s almost like me not getting my cup of coffee in the morning. DO. NOT. TALK. TO. ME.

3 o’clock rolls round and I’m getting the kids up and pottied and nap stuff put away and getting snacks out. The afternoon is pretty chill. Its the end of the day and I generally let them pick what they want to do. Until everyone is done with snack I usually have the finished ones read a book nice a quietly while we finish up. Then they can pick what they want to do.

Around 5 o’clock we clean up, get shoes on, and we either sit and watch a cartoon or we go run around outside while we wait for parents to show. Depends on which kids are left at that time. Because trust me, some of those kids can’t handle going out front as opposed to the back yard! Yeah I don’t know.

Once all the kids are gone for the day I get to fix dinner for my family, get my own 2 kids fed, ready for bed, and in bed for the evening. If I’m lucky that can all happen from 5:30pm to 8pm. But lets face it, I rarely get them BOTH in bed by then. That’s wishful thinking. It’s usually 8:30pm – 9pm before they are both in bed. And then I have my own personal goal of getting to bed between 9:30-10pm. Its for health reasons. We can talk about that later too.

So that’s my typical day. Then we have weekends. And because we have a blended family sometimes we have all the kids together and sometimes we have 2 of the 3 while the other one is with their other parent. (my husband has a daughter that is a few months older than my son from a previous relationship).

And then you say “But Sarah! You said you are on another adventure. How do you have time for all of that?” Great question! I don’t fucking know. I’m just going to do it. And I would love an audience!

Doors open

The Leaky Bottle

AAHHHH! That’s not a scream. Well, it could be if you knew where I was writing this. (Ehem. On the kitchen bar while the kids eat snack) It’s the sound of angels singing and giving me praise for creating “The Leaky Bottle” blog.  And yes, a golden ray of sunshine is shining down on me. Oh wait, thaaaaat’s pee. Great! It could be worse. A. LOT. WORSE.

I am a mom. A mom of 2 great kids. Yes absolutely every once in a while I want to sell them on the black market. But I quickly get over it and love them like the little gems they are. My first born son, he’s 10. And he is amazing. He has the biggest heart I’ve ever seen. He is compassionate and kind. He makes friends easily and he is the best big brother a girl could ask for. My second born. She’s 2. And exactly like me. Its a little scary because I know exactly what she’s thinking. And anyone that knows me knows that I’m a little off my rocker. So I know what I’m in for when she becomes a teenager. Scary.

I run a small in home child care business. At first it was a means to supplement mine and my husband’s income. So not all of the pressure of making an income fell on him. It quickly turned into a means of survival and it has blessed me in more ways than I can think of.  I have had the pleasure of caring for some truly amazing families and have made some life long friends in the process. And though I have enjoyed my time as a child care provider, I am turning to a new adventure.

I’m finding myself at the closing end of my child care business. Which is bitter sweet. It helped me survive in utter chaos but it has also made me question what I know. I have been in the child care business for more than 15 years. I have seen a lot. I have cared for many children from many walks of life and with many different capabilities. So I as I move on with the next chapter of my life I would like to share with you my stories and experiences in the child care world.  To be a voice and a sounding board for child care providers out there who may not have the luxury of speaking up. Many of us can not for fear of losing our income so we stay silent and suffer through in order to provide for our families.

I am not someone who sugar coats things. I am sarcastic and honest. Much of what I say will probably offend the masses. It’s not meant to be offensive, just meant to be the truth. I will talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly.  Keep in mind that in my journey to take you through my adventures that I am trying to make light of some difficult situations. Humor is sometimes the only way to remain positive about negative situations. Sit back, relax, laugh, and enjoy my chaotic life!

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