April 18, 2022

he just knows so much

I want to thank all of you for the supportive comments and heartfelt suggestions last week when I shared how my family of origin is unable to congratulate me for getting my funny story published. I appreciate all of you more than you can know. Suz mentioned that the link didn't work. I did a little digging and I found it - it was in their archives. If you haven't read it and you want to, it's here:


Europe stories forthcoming, promise. Things to look forward to:  funny bits, mind blowing frustrations, and some hangry hurdles. Get excited. 

Long overdue:  summary of the goings-on of my in-home daycare and the ups and downs I've experienced this school year and the people who made this year, um, shall we say UNFORGETTABLE. *this is a prequal to BB, or bubble boy. 

It's always nice when my current families roll over from the end of one school year to the following fall. It eliminates new-family-search stress. There's less of a learning curve. Same families/different school year equates to them knowing the drill. 

This is my 7th year of babysitting in my home. My goal is 10 years. Will I survive it? What's your over/under number?

I think I've encountered just about every type of weirdo out there. Weirdos flock to me. Just ask Becky, who also babysits. She and I have belly laughed about the wack-a-doodles who find me. Fortunately, I haven't ended up with each of them, sometimes I sense that we aren't on the same page and I say HELL NO. Other times, they end up here and I want to pull out what's left of my very thin hair.

One woman:  CAN MY TODDLER SLEEP IN A CLOSET THERE? HE NEEDS DARK. At home she taped the windows, stuffed towels around the door. When she aditted she only needed temporary care, I was like OH, I DON'T DO TEMP. STILL she messaged to say that she'd be dropping tot off the next morning. I was like NO. DO NOT BRING YOUR CHILD HERE. Ba-bye. 

On the flip side, I've been blessed to work for some outstanding people. I had two families pay me from March '20 thru early June '20 when I wasn't even able to watch their kids. Some of the parents I sit for are lovely people who become friends. They've teared up when I wept sharing with them Violet's diagnosis. They were extraordinarily supportive during our failed adoption journey. They've been accepting of the addition of Finn, the uninvited, TEMPORARY pup who begs them to pet him at pickup. 

They are extremely grateful for the care I give to their little guys. Boy oh boy, I'm here to tell you (what you probably already know):  gratitude goes a LONG way. 

In September, I didn't have to shop for any new families. This was huge considering H and D had just moved in. I had twins 2x a week. Wilhelm 3x a week. L and new baby sis El 3x a week. C and A 3 days a week. Thursday off. 

The twins attend Goddard School, a daycare, on the days they aren't with me. Last year the grandma watched them opposite me, but she wanted a break. Remember their 1st day here this school year? They'd been at Goddard a few days prior. Twin-Mom realized when they got home that they had a fever. Hand foot mouth disease, HFM. Nightmare. 

I shut down for a week. All the littles got it, except for Wilhelm. Wilhelm really didn't engage with the other kids. Kept to the perimeter of their play. He was almost 3, but could only repeat things. He was the guy who'd pace back and forth at the threshold no matter how many times we told him to run to the potty. He struggled to communicate his needs, to put it mildly. 

*let me preface this story with a disclaimer:  His mom was clueless for MANY reasons. She showed up late to pick up or over an hour late to drop off, like my schedule and what I had planned with the other tots mattered little. Her 8  year old plays unlimited video games, Mini babysat for them on the weekends, screen time was unending for both boys - they'd even wheel a different TV into the living room so each boy could have 'his shows', she couldn't say no. 

Becky on the deck with a small version of Finn.
A small crowd of little people admiring Finn (and Becky) out
the door to the deck. Will I be bored when I retire?
Will people make me nuts before that day?

I don't mean to be insensitive to W's issues. My own kids had issues, but as a caregiver it's my role to share my observations. After several weeks' long vacay in '21, the dad told me Wil was talking SO much. 

I said "HOW ARE YOU WILHELM?" And he said to me, "HOW ARE YOU WILHELM?" That isn't talking more. It's repeating more. 

Over the summer, me to Wilhelm's clueless mom aka 'CL':   Not sure if this is on your radar, but I think he needs a speech assessment. Maybe he has a processing thing going on. (I sited a kid Becky once watched who got therapy for a processing issue and the results blew us away).  

CL:  It's on my radar. With covid, I just haven't wanted to take him. He just knows so much. 


She has him assessed. He has Echolalia, which can be a symptom of autism. 

CL is not a teacher. Wilhelm was at our house over the summer 3x a week. The girls watched him, technically, but when something came up for them - it fell to me. These were not the easiest of people to deal with. 

When I had to let everyone know that their kids had been exposed to HFM, CL was upset. 

CL:  I didn't know the twins were going to Goddard. 

Me:  Oh. Yep. They go there this year when they aren't here.

CL:  Well, they're probably in the toddler room. They probably don't wear masks, because they aren't 2 yet. What are you going to do about this?


Me:  (out loud) Well, I can't control everything. All the tots I sit for could hang out at Chuck E Cheese after they leave here and I would have no idea. 

Friday when Wilhelm was due to come to my house, CL texted saying he had a cold. He's had a cold a million other times, but he's still come to my house. I suspected this related to the twins' Goddard attendance. 

Monday am, she cancelled again. I was at Mini's tennis match that evening when CL called me.

CL:  So this just happened so suddenly, but my job just changed and I'm going to have to work until 6 pm now. And (implied: my dope-ass husband) can't pick up (even though he works from home, which is less than a mile from my house). We're going to have to do something different for childcare. 

Me:  Hey CL, so this is early September. I babysit for teachers. How am I supposed to find a replacement now? Let's not kid ourselves, you're leaving because of the twins going to Goddard. I can't control everything or everybody. 

CL:  Oh, no I know that. It's really just my job. We'll pay you for 2 weeks. 

That was total crap. She knew before the school year started what setting I offered. I never gave anyone a guarantee about where the other tots were when they weren't at my house. I'd watched Wilhelm and dealt with his issues and his folks' issues for almost 3 years. I could not control everything. Why didn't she make other arrangements during the summer if she was worried about covid so I had a chance to find another family? Total crap. 

Next:  how I filled that void, and the answer to the question:  SO HOW'S THAT WORKING FOR YOU?


Nicole MacPherson said...

I don't think I could survive 7 years of caring for little kids. I don't even think I could survive 7 days of caring for little kids! Good luck making it to 10!

Pat Birnie said...

I also could not survive looking after other people’s kids. I cannot believe how inconsiderate some people can be!? My daughter ran a home daycare, always with babies or toddlers, for 7 years. In January she was just done with it. She found a HR job working from home so can be available for her own boys. It was funny though, as soon as she decided and gave the parents notice, this patient caregiver could barely get through the last two weeks. She said “ nothing they do is cute anymore- I just want my house back”. Good for you for hanging in.

Ernie said...

Nicole - I have my days when I just want to scream. Mostly I enjoy them. After 7 years, I notice a definite correlation to how much I enjoy the kids of the parents who are delightful and appreciative and basically friends. 10 years felt like eternity a few years ago. There is a light at the end of the tunnel now.

Ernie said...

Pat - If there was just more time in the day, I could finish writing my memoir, write an Irish dancing tell-all, write a little something called 'WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE' - which would include neighbors like Mary Ann, and also write about the way people treat those who are CARRYING FOR THEIR MOST PRECIOUS CHILDREN. Like, get a clue. So many of the families I have are AMAZING. Currently, I'm thrilled with my families. That has not been the case the entire year though. Foreshadow much? ;)

Jenny in WV said...

Your daycare sounds so nice and high quality with the field trips and everything. I don't get how your clients aren't doing everything they can to keep on your good side and keep their kids in such a great place!

Ernie said...

Jenny - I agree, shock. It is not the norm to take kids on outings, but I have a car and I remember the fun my kids had on these adventures. Kids aren't built for staying put all day. Ick. We are trying to replace the Great White, but it isn't easy. Hard to find them used. For awhile this year, I considered just getting another minivan. I wasn't sure I would have a full load of kids and I was so tired of weird, disgruntled parents that I wasn't sure I wanted any 'new' kids. We've decided to replace the van with another 12 seater. If I finish sitting and we still have the van, we'll just sell it.

I never left my kids with anyone in order to work. It CANNOT be easy. Still, when someone is loving and fun, what more do you want?

Busy Bee Suz said...

I bow down to you because I don't know how you do it. Spending your days loving on other people's kids seems fun IN MY MIND, but actually doing it, Especially when parents can be asshats.

What a pickle they put you in. I have a feeling they have NO clue how it is on your end when you are trying to make some money and not just doing it because you're a bored housewife. *sigh*

I think you'll make it to TEN. I can't wait to attend your retirement party.

Ernie said...

Suz - You are sweet. Really the job is much easier and more enjoyable when the parents are easy going, flexible, have a sense of humor, and are appreciative. Who in their right mind would leave their kids with someone who they are snotty to? Dumb people, that's who.

This particular family seems to be on the mindset that 'it's all about them.' I even sense their discomfort when we welcomed H and D into our home. The other families were very kind, this family kept asking me when the boys were coming so they could coordinate their long trip to Florida. At least, that is my suspicion.

I'm trying to imagine a retirement party for me . . . would I share the worst diaper issues? Estimate how many noses I've wiped? Get a trophy for potty training the untrainable? Or just do what I'd like to do on the irritating days, DRINK HEAVILY. hee hee.

Ally Bean said...

I could not survive caring for little kids for 7 hours let alone 7 years. You have my admiration. And even if you don't make it to your goal of 10 years, you still have my admiration.

Ernie said...

Ally - Not gonna lie, nap time is a high point of the day. We were out of town a few days last week and a mom told me today that her son was very upset that he had a different babysitter. Kept saying he wanted to go to my house. Nothing quite like being popular with the tot crowd.