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Two Things

DYM posted today about....oh, childcare at the gym, sparked the post, but the contents were much more involved and thought provoking. It got me thinking about childcare, and basically ANY person who watches my child. Interestingly, my childcare experience today, also involved the gym daycare.

I joined a gym in Missouri when I was there for a couple of months last winter. Benja hated the daycare. After about 2 visits he cried if we even just drove past the YMCA. This boy does not cry. He never has had a second of stranger anxiety in his life. Not even as an infant when it's a normal phase for every kid. At 5 months old in church, while sitting on the end of a pew, he lunged for every passerby just to get a change of scenery. It's a double edge-sword, we have to watch him like a hawk. He stands outside and yells to people walking by, "That's a nice shirt you have on!" "What's your name? I'm Benja, nice to meetcha!" It's in his blood to love people until they give him a really good reason not to.

The caregivers at this Y were unresponsive, blocked off 2/3rds of a relatively small play area to avoid having to clean up, and didn't move from their chairs the entire time I was working out. That just wasn't pleasant for my easy-going preshy.

So, while perplexed by his resistance, I listened to him and didn't make him go. He's the reason I have a weight problem.

I didn't want to make the same mistake here, join a gym, and later find out that the childcare facility stank. I took my kids in 3 different times to give it a test run. They loved it. The childcare provider who is in there 90% of the time I go is a 25 year old elementary ed teacher, who moved here to open up this new gym with her husband. Yeah, they aren't real ambitious at 25, but I can look past that. She talks to me. She greets my children by name. She asks them about themselves. She remembers details of prior conversations. She doesn't fake-fawn over my kids (people who do that don't realize that moms have spidey-sense about that kind of stuff), when I walk past, she's always either playing, instructing, cleaning, or helping kids with a project. When I pick them up, she says things like, "Benja sure likes Fidoman doesn't he?" Not only can she imitate his "accent" but she knows what he's been talking about. That's Spiderman, by the way. She'll say things like, "Avee is so coordinated..." and tell me a story about something she did. I THRIVE on this stuff. When I run to the grocery store and leave the kids with J, I ask him 500 things about what they did or said while I was gone. I love so much about who they are and what they do, I don't want to miss a thing. J says, "Ang, they were asleep when you left, and they're asleep still, not much to tell." I just can't help myself. Most importantly with this childcare provider, the vibe is good. We like her.

Tonight I went to the gym in the evening. I have never gone in the evening with my kids before. There was a different worker there. She barely acknowledged me or my kids, despite the fact that there were only 2 other kids in the entire room. I told her my children's name when we got there and she said, "Oh, okay. I can read their tags if I need to know it". If I need to know it? What the? One of the other kids came up and asked if they could make animal faces and she said really exuberantly in a fake-fawning voice, "Certainly! In just a minute." I was bent over the sign in sheet when I realized the girl had said "animal faces" and that Benja had been dying to make another monkey-face since he'd made one a few days before and Avee pulled off it's little felt ear and stuck it in her diaper just to watch him lose control. I popped up and said, "Oh, you're going to do animal faces?" The girl shook her head and mouthed, as though it were a ridiculous suggestion, "No, we aren't doing animal faces." Funny, I could have sworn you just told a CHILD you WOULD. That is like, cardinal sin #1 in parenting, is it not? You don't say things you don't mean, you don't make promises you have no intentions of keeping. She said it as though I would understand she had no intention of doing it, and that would be okay. So I said, "Well, don't let Benja catch wind of it or he'll drive you crazy asking." Not entirely true, but I really wanted to avoid my son being lied to if I could help it.

I worked out half as long as I usually do, skipped the weights because there was too much testosterone bouncing off the benches and mirrors and I couldn't breathe. When I showed up, Benja ran to me and said, "Why did you work out so long?" I usually have to sit on the floor and let them finish whatever very important thing they are doing before I can successfully get them to leave the gym. Avee was sitting on a rocking zebra with her back to the door and as soon as the girl-worker saw me, she yanked Avee off and said, "Go to your mom!" Avee was ticked and let her have it. I was secretly very proud. I did mumble something akin to "let's not hit...(hard)" when Avee decided her yelling "Nooooooooooo!" should be accentuated with a good whack with her hand.

All of this prelude to tell you this: Ben's eyes were red and his nose was running. He had been crying. Quite a bit. Mom's know the cries, and what the different cries look like when they are done. He had been crying for more than 2 minutes. And if it was only 2 minutes, then he stopped only seconds before I walked in the door. For the record, 2 days ago he got a big heavy door at the church opened on him and it sliced right through the middle of his toenail and tore up the side of his toe, gushing blood. He cried for about45 seconds to a minute and then moved right into how it wasn't very nice to cut open people's toes for no reason like that.

While Avee was attempting to get back on her Zebra throne while intermittently trying to throw punches, I asked Benja what happened. He said "They were fighting and they hurt me". So I said to the worker, (who stayed on the other side of the room with her back to me the whole time, only turning when I asked her this question) "What made him cry?" She said, "Oh, he only cried a little bit." She didn't even answer my question. I shouldn't have even had to ask. With only 4 children in the room the entire time, I should have been told exactly what happened, immediately upon entering that room. You don't hand back a child in poorer form than you got him, and not say a word.

As we were leaving Benja yelled "See ya later alligator!" She ignored him. He said it twice. She never responded. I sent laser beams through my eyes and burned a warty witch's nose on the back of her neck. Mean girl. Go get a job at Gap.

Benja has a red mark the size of a quarter just to the right of his right eye. There must have been some kind of scuffle between the two bigger kids that he got caught in because he doesn't even know what happened. He knows he got hurt and he knows he cried.

Tomorrow I'm going to thank Katie for being so good at taking care of my children. And I'm also going to tell her to "help" her evening employee with some basics. But really, if you don't like children, why are you working at a daycare?

I don't like children. I don't work at a daycare!

By the way, you may think because I haven't mentioned weight loss because there hasn't been any. You'd be wrong. There has been some. I'm waiting for the moment when I can say, "everytime I lose weight, it always comes from my chest first!" because laaaaaawzee, me and some underwire I know could use a break like that. But alas, 11 pounds and I still can't tell which part of me is getting the break. Probably my knees.

"he is the reason I have a weight problem" I KNOW Joshua did the same thing to me thirteen years ago. I find myself wanting to be the child catcher dude in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang so I too do not work with children. ( except yours of course:)) I saw a movie where the child refused to go to a family member so the dad beat him and the child still refused so the dad said " something is wrong you do not beat a child that bad and he still not want to go" Give Benja a hug from me, and I am wearing a pink shirt he would love.

Seriously, get that girl fired. She has no business being there. If the gym owners knew about her behavior, I doubt they'd like it.

Yeah, kids are why I'm fat too. Kids and cookies.

LOL @ Let's not hit... hard...

Congratulations on 11 pounds! That is fantastic!

Oh no she DI-INT! I may only be Benja's aunt, but those instincts are for real. Anyone who can make a kid like that cry for more than two minutes is PURE. EVIL. Let's T.P. her house as soon as I get down there, okay?

CARDINAL RULE of caring for other peoples' kids is to record in detail every adorable thing about them (you're in the wrong profession if you can't find any, hon) and rattle off the list when the parent comes back.

I find it unforgivable that someone would ignore our favorite Benja, how there she? she should be fired.
Glad Avee got her.
Ugh!, how rude to act like that to other kids in front of you,,, duh, that just let you know what she was going to turn around and do to your kids.
Off with her head.

11 pounds!! Wowzers!!!
Good for you :D

Congrats on the weight loss. That is awesome. I'm glad you talked about the kind of care your children received at the day care. I was so concerned with trying to keep anything bad from happening that I didn't get super involved in making sure good things were happening. I hope you had a real nice chat with the owner's wife.

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