Friday, April 28, 2006

Meanwhile, in the same park...

The sun has come out! My husband and I, with our two sons in tow, walk across the park in search of the best place to unfold our picnic blanket. There could never be enough picnics! We settle onto our blanket as Jake runs over to the playground...not for the slide or swings, but for the sand: he loves to croutch down and let it slide through his hands. I sit Max down in the grass but keep a close eye on him: sitting is a newly acquired skill. My husband and I discuss our days; soon he is off with our son coaxing him through a tunnel.

Meanwhile, in the same park...
A couple passes by with a toddler sandwiched inbetween. He is about as sturdy on his feet as Max is on his bottom. It is a cute sight. They pass by where we are sitting, making their conversation fall within my earshot: "She said he slept well today." said the mom. "That's good...did you tell her what to do about his eating?" replied the father. So went the conversation. It was apparent that the little boy had been with someone other than the two of them for the day. I only hope "she" is taking pictures to go along with the daily stories...because those are the memories they will have of their son growing up. At least "she" relays to the parents his milestones.

Meanwhile, in the same park...
A preschooler gets scolded. Apparently he has been pegged as a trouble maker, but it really wasn't his fault. I guess it is hard for the day-care worker to see everything when there are over twenty children in your care. Other children in the group run around the park: there are the cute-social girls all skipping together by the ones who aren't quite as cute, there are the boys who are crazy...running fast and intermingling with everyone, then there are the ones who wander, almost aimlessly, around the playground waiting for someone to talk to them because they are too shy to make the first move and too quiet to be heard if they did. I have a feeling this is where my Jake would fit in. I look for him almost expecting him to be one of these children. I am relieved to see him with his dad under the playstructure talking a mile-a-minute.
Soon the whistle blows and twenty-some kids come running in comotion...trying to find their "buddy" and get in the line that will lead them back to the day-care room.

I am the nanny with whom you leave your child.
I came equipped with the best references, a love for children and respect for adults. Well worth the 3.50 you paid me per hour. I did the best I could with your son, but I think he had adhd. More than once I had to resort to locking him in his room...as you had instructed...while his temper ran down. I once thought that a cruel idea, but after he threw a video tape at his little brother, hitting him in the head, I decided perhaps it was necessary. Did I every tell you about that? There was a lot I wasn't sure if I should tell you about. Like the time Josh (2 yrs) got into your makeup, or when Jeremiah (7yrs) hit his bus driver. I also didn't tell you when Josh took his first step or when Mckaila sat up for the first time. Should I have told you those things? I enjoyed playing mommy with your children: dressing them up and taking their pictures, but by 2:00pm I was ready to go home. Unfortunately you were late again.

I am the day-care worker at the center where your child attends.
My background was checked, I had the experience they needed and a love for kids. I wish I could show that love more. My first day with your infant I was happy to cradle her in my arms...until the lead teacher told me to put her down. "There are a dozen infants in here. If we hold one, they will all want to be held and that isn't possible. You are only to hold one if they cry." Disheartened, I sat back and watched the infants entertain themselves. What I was there for, I don't know.
I also had chances to supervise your toddlers and preschoolers. We took them to the park, but I wasn't able to play with them. I took my "post" at one corner of the playground to supervise the numerous children running around with yours. If your child is hurt, I help him up. If he is naughty, I put him on a time out. If he runs out of the boundaries, I chase him; but I can't comfort him long, someone else needs my attention. I can't address the heart of his behavior, he must sit on time-out alone. And I can't play with him...there are just too many children for that. I used to feel sorry for the shy kids. All they did was sit alone. I knew that they would love my attention, but I couldn't...there were just too many.

I am now a stay at home mom.
As much love as I thought I had for your children, I never could imagine the depth of parental love. My sons are always with me: always in my care. If they need held, I hold them; if they misbehave, I discipline them...right down to the heart; and if they come to a milestone...a first...I am there to see it. Some days are slow, some days are busy. Sometimes we play, sometimes they play on their own. There are no constrictions on time, no other children fighting for my attention. I don't have deadlines to meet or meetings to attend. Yesterday Jake helped me plant flowers...learning about seeds. Today I think we will make cookies. One of the best things about being a hands-on mother is the lessons drawn from everyday life: today he will learn that when ingredients are put together well, the product will be sweet.

What ingredients go into making your child? The nanny? The Day-care? Or you?

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2 comments:

Diane said...

Before we had children of our own, I worked in child care. At the time, I loved my job and I loved the children. Looking back...I could never love those kids the way I love my own. There is just something so special about a mother's love to her children. It's so sad all of the "first" that I saw those children do that their mother didn't get to see.

I am so grateful to stay home with my children. I couldn't even imagine only spending about 3 hours with them in the evening before they go to bed. It is so sad.

Jodi said...

I also am so grateful to stay at home. Lately it has been important to me to become absolutely indespensable. Not that I think my husband would ever want me to work, but I wouldn't even want it to cross his mind, thinking, "What does she do around here anyways?"
Remember, you stay at home moms: Thank your husbands for the opportunity they give you. There aren't many men around anymore who see the importance in staying at home.