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: https://deadmule.com/erin-savage-memoir-feb-2022/
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.
WHAT ON EARTH? HE MEMORIZES HIS COLORS SO 'HE KNOWS SO MUCH'? HE DOESN'T PLAY WITH TOYS, BUT JUST NOTES THEIR COLOR. HE CAN'T TELL ME THAT HE'S HUNGRY WHEN YOU FAIL TO MENTION THAT HE DIDN'T HAVE BREAKFAST (usually eats at his house) YET EVEN THOUGH YOU ARE AN HOUR LATE AND I DON'T SEE HIS BREAKFAST STUFF IN HIS LUNCH BOX UNTIL LUNCHTIME.
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: (in my head) YOU HAVE COMPLETELY OVERESTIMATED HOW MUCH I LIKE YOU AND YOUR KID.
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?