Monday, December 15, 2008

Go Fish, Bingo, Man Caves, and Minimalism

One of our best "problem solving techniques" is using name sticks. In a cup/jar/pencil holder, I keep wooden craft (popsicle) sticks with each child's name written on one. Anytime there's a dispute over who gets the pink cup, who gets to play with a toy first, or if we need to choose a child to do a fun job - we draw a name stick. It's a simple solve.

Each morning at day care one of the kids (whose name stick was drawn) draws a slip of paper from the "treasure box". Then we do the activity listed on it. Today, Aidan drew a slip of paper that read Play Go Fish. We tried really, really hard to play..... It was just so confusing! As soon as a child's turn was over, he/she lost interest in the game. Then when I told them it was their turn again, they hadn't been paying attention so had no idea what to do. And by that time, they'd picked up their matched pairs and mixed them up with the cards in their hands, and/or given some of the matches away to whoever asked. Then the "asking" person would tell the "asked" person to Go Fish, instead of the other way around. So I would have to explain, amid mildly upset children, that they couldn't fish from the "pond", and that they had to tell they other person to Go Fish. Confusing, huh?

I'm almost scared of what the other slips of paper in the box have written on them! Might have to make one reading "Take morning naps", but I'm afraid that won't go over well.

We've been busy playing Electronic Talking Dora Bingo - This works much better than, say Go Fish. It teaches animals and colors, and requires only very short attention spans! We've also played some Christmas Bingo - A bit more complicated, but still fun - and there's candy involved in that!

Singing and dancing to kids songs and Christmas songs is always fun, and great exercise when we're stuck indoors during cold winter weather. This week the kids played with lots of different toys, read and listened to lots of books, and colored lots of pictures (so many, in fact, that the blame for the deforestation of the Pacific Northwest is beginning to swing our way!). They had a large cardboard box to play with this week. The boys, especially, love hiding in these boxes. Ahh... Their first "man cave".
The girls, however, (in an extreme version of housecleaning) love stuffing every item from the play room that's not nailed down into the boxes - which leaves a nice, clean, minimalist look to the playroom. Unfortunately, there's nothing left to play with in the playroom.

We saw snow this week! They couldn't wait to get out in it. That lasted about 8 seconds. It was just too bitterly cold.

We've also been busy making a small gift for parents. Next week, parents will understand all the marker stains on their child's hands, arms, .... faces.

My husband watched the kids one morning while I went to the doctor. He was impressed with some of their wild dance moves! They read books, played, and even got to break a few rules!

Saturday, December 6, 2008


Words that may be new to you, unless you are around toddlers and preschoolers:

Jor - A rectangular-shaped wooden topless box which fits into your kitchen cabinets and holds such items as silverware and junk, i.e. "silverware jor" and "junk jor". Also known as a drawer.

Natdee - Used to negatively describe something, as in "I not eating dat. It natdee". Also known as nasty.

Turvee - Abbreviated word for television. Also known as tv.

Pooder - An object with lots of clacking buttons, a sliding clicker, and a big screen which adults
love to spend time with, while telling the kids they're not to touch them. Also known as
a computer.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for Friends, Family, and reality tv!

Today I'd like to make a recommendation. Get a best friend. Sounds simple enough, huh?

I happen to have a wonderful best friend. She's also a day care provider, so we have lots in common. Sometimes we're so much alike, it's scary. She's always a great listener. She offers advice or her opinion when I need it, and refrains from giving advice or her opinion when she thinks I'll calm down later and change my view of a situation. We talk almost daily on the phone. However because of our busy lives, we seldom get together in person. We can talk to each other about everything from our own husbands and kids to day care kids and parents to typos and grammatical errors in the local paper. And, of course, all the local gossip. We both know without having to say it, which discussions are to be kept just between us.

Everyone should have such a friend. Make it your New Year's resolution to not only find such a friend, but also become such a friend to someone else. If you already have a great friendship, be thankful. Do all you can to keep it.

My husband is also a great friend, but in a different way. A very different way. We're more like the "opposites attract" friends. Anything I like, he seems to go out of his way to like the opposite thing. For example if I like the beach, he likes the mountains. If I like hot weather, he likes cold. If I like the Chrysler 300, he likes the latest Cadillac. If I like reality tv, he likes sports. Ok, so that's not so unusual for a guy to like sports. Anyway, whether you and your friend are exactly alike or complete opposites, you can have a wonderful relationship.

Today, I'm thankful for family and friends. I'm thankful for good health and good times. And, I'm thankful (and excited) to have seen Reed Timmer from Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers on ABC's Good Morning America today!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Prune Juice and Bodily Fluids

The day began innocently enough (Don't they all?). Dad brought almost-2 yr.-old Jr. to day care along with a sippy cup of prune juice.
"Jr.'s stopped up. Needs lots of fluids. No milk"
No problem (so I thought....).

The kids sat around the table for breakfast. Jr., not happy with the prune juice or dad divulging his secrets about his privates, hurled the prune juice-filled sippy cup across the kitchen and onto the floor where it exploded like a volcano. Prune juice dripped and ran down cabinet fronts and cabinet doors, chair legs and kids' legs. The kitchen floor was awash in fluid. Fortunately, the runner rug was there to absorb the rest of the juice....

Biting my lips and crossing my arms with my clenched hands under my armpits (and with four-letter word combinations you'd never imagine going through my mind), I stormed to the locked upper (clean) cabinet and got the cleaning supplies. And began wiping, scrubbing, and cleaning the lower 4 ft. of my kitchen.

After I'd thrown the rug in the washer and was scrubbing the floor again, Carter informed me that the baby in the high chair had thrown up. I glanced up from the floor and could see a bit of white formula on her chin. Upon standing, I realized she was puking up formula, fruit, and rice cereal the equivilent of Mt. St. Helens eruption in 1980! After the major eruption and the small lava flows that followed, I lifted her lovingly in my outstretched arms and carried her dripping torso to the bathtub. I peeled her clothes off over her head ( Trust me, if I'd had scissors or a pocketknife on me, I would have cut them off. I've done it before .... with an encounter with a different bodily fluid that shouldn't have been fluid...) and cleaned her from head to toe.

All the while I'm doing this, the kids are still sitting at the table eating their breakfast. They seem to eat more when there's a show included with their meal.

Baby then went into a playpen while I took the cushioned seat cover off the high chair, hosed it off outside, scrubbed it in the sink, laid it on the porch rail to dry, and scrubbed the rest of the high chair.

I then refilled Jr.'s sippy cup, with oj this time. Guess he didn't want oj either. After rescrubbing the lower 4 ft. of my kitchen, I cleared the table and the breakfast mess.

Carter and Aidan began running through the house from one end to the other knocking down anyone or anything in their paths. No amount of asking, pleading, demanding, or bribing could get them to stop running. So, I sent them outside and told them to run all they wanted.

As I began bundling up all the littler ones to go outside, I began to suspect that the prune juice was working its magic. After Jr. was unbundled, cleaned and changed, and rebundled, I realized the prune juice had caused a chain reaction in all the little ones.

Between diaper changes, I looked out to check on Carter and Aidan, they were just standing on the porch. Not running. I told them they were supposed to be running like they had been in the house. They began walking down the steps, so I headed back to the bathroom and more diaper changes.

While diapers, wipes, changing pads, poopy butts, and germs were flowing in a strange, and smelly, assembly line in the bathroom, Baby decided that was an excellent time to puke again. So, the bathroom rug joined the kitchen rug in the washer.

Eventually, 8 diapers were changed (2 for each Diaperbutt... Apparently, prune juice works just by coming in contact with someone who's drank it, or thrown it). Everyone was rebundled and we headed outside to find Carter and Aidan, sitting on the swings. Not swinging. Just sitting.

Just as I turned them all loose to play outside, my mom pulled into the driveway. She lives across town - about 10 blocks in our modern Mayberry. She got out of her van carrying a day-old birthday cake - thick with frosting and brightly colored sprinkles. She wanted to share it with us. How nice.

I was anxious to see how the second hour of my workday was going to go.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lunch Helper

Recently, just as I was calling Lunch Helper into the kitchen to help with lunch, I heard yelling, a name called, a thump, and, then, crying coming from the playroom. I called Lunch Helper again.

When she got in the kitchen, I asked her, "Lunch Helper (not her real name), what just happened in the toy room? Any blood, guts, bones sticking out?"

I was expecting/wanting a quick "yes" or "no". Well, I was wanting to hear "no" , of course. But, I'd forgotten that Lunch Helper likes to tell the long version of events, so this is what I got instead.

"Babysitter (not my real name), you bemember dis one time when we had pancakes for breakfast? And we eben had peanut butter on dem? And Lucy and Ethel (names have been changed) were both reaching for the bananas? And they spilled Laverne's milk? And den Shirley said she was done eben though she didn't eben eat anything? And bemember den we pwayed Barbie's? And I hadded the Barbie couch? And we were betending they were at the movie feater? But Marsha and Jan were coloring and they were betending dey were at school? But den Cindy tried to take my Barbie? 'Cause eben she likeded the dress my Barbie was wearing?".......

And all the while this is going on, I'm popping things in the microwave, popping things out of the oven, stirring things, counting out napkins, spoons, forks, getting out plates, cups......)

...."And den I yankeded my Barbie back from Cindy? And den Cindy started crying?"....

And here's where I did the unthinkable... I interrupted Lunch Helper.
I said, "Yeah, sounds bad. So, in the toy room just now... well, 10 minutes ago now.... any blood, guts, broken bones?"

Well, I forgot that when Lunch Helper gets interrupted, she doesn't just continue from where she left off. She starts all over again....

"Well, Babysitter, you bemember dis one time when we had pancakes for breakfast? We eben had peanut butter on dem?...." ...... etc., etc., etc. ...... "And I yankeded my Barbie back from Cindy? And den Cindy started crying? And den you made us pway outside? And bemember dat you woosed to have a yellow hula hoop? And bemember dis one time when I threw it up and it hitted me on the head? And den me and Lucy and Laverne all wanted the same swing? And den we just pwayed on the swipper swide? Only Laverne started pwaying in the pwayhouse with Marsha and Jan? And dey wouldn't let Ethel pway 'cause she wanted to be a dog? And dey said she had to be a kitty? And den when we came in the house later Ethel wouldn't hang up her coat? And bemember I let the cat in the waundry room to eat her food? And eben I letted her out again? And eben Cindy and Shirley wanted to pway house but dey wouldn't let me be the mom? So I watcheded tv? And it was Tom and Jerry? And Jerry hitted Tom's tail with a hammer?"

By now lunch was getting cold and congealed, and I still didn't know if I had a Defcon 1 situation in the play room. So, I had to interrupt Lunch Helper at the risk of hearing it all repeated again.
I said, "Lunch Helper, what does all this have to do with what went on in the play room? Was someone injured? Blood, guts, broken bones??!!"

Lunch Helper said, "Dat is what I is twying to tell you. Dis one time when I was watching Tom and Jerry? And Jerry hitted Tom's tail with a hammer? Dat's the same show I was watching again today when you called me to be the lunch helper. So, I doesn't know. I wasn't eben in the pway room!"


Life went on with no sign of blood, guts, or broken bones.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Overheard Conversations....

Typical playtime conversation around here....

Chandler to Ashley - " Momma, they're being mean to me."
Ashley to Chandler - "So? I'm not even the mom. I'm the sister. And, anyway, they're cats."

Overheard from the playroom....

One child said, "The puppy was chewing on Jessica's shoes."
Another child answered excitedly, "I've been to Chucky Cheese, too!"

Have you ever had a conversation where, when it's over, you realize nothing has actually been said? Here's a conversation we had in the van as we were leaving the bank drive-thru recently.

Taryn - " Who that?"

Me - "Just the woman who works at the bank."

Taryn - "Why?"

Me - "That's her job."

Cassidy - "Who?"

Me - "The woman who works at the bank."

Taryn - "Who that?"

Me - "The bank woman."

Cassidy - "Who is she?"

Me - "The woman who works at the bank."

Taryn - "Why?"

Me - "That's her job."

Cassidy - "Who is it?"

Me - "The woman working at the bank."

Cassiday and Taryn - "Oh."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Look, I have a tampon!

I was startled one day when a young girl came up behind me and said, quite excitedly, "Look! I have a tampon!"
I was afraid to turn around and look, but curiosity took over. Yep, there she was holding in one hand a picture she'd colored, and in the other hand an envelope with a sticker in the upper corner of it.
She said, " See? I have a 'tamp on it.".
Whew! Just a "stamp on" it.


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

That Better? That Better?

While I was cooking lunch, I told 3 yr. old Taryn that she needed to take the doll stroller she was playing with and get out of the kitchen. She pushed the stroller about 6 inches away from the stove and said, "That better?". Each time I told her to take it out of the kitchen, she would push it about 6 more inches and say, "That better?". 6 more inches, "That better?". 6 more inches, "That better?". And she seriously thought it was better each time.


Girls Chandler and Addy were pretending to be "chillerators" (cheerleaders to the rest of us), when they began bowing down to each other while saying, "Your ministry, your ministry" (Your majesty to the rest of us).


Monday, October 27, 2008

Diary of a Day Care

In writing this journal of daily life in my home day care, I hope to capture some of those small, but unforgettable moments that only happen once, and share them with you. Some of these precious moments, the parents will be glad they missed (and they may wish I hadn't preserved them). Rest assured, the names have been changed to protect the innocent kids (and the often embarrassed parents).

Case in point: Vanessa arrived at my house early one morning yawning and with dark circles under her eyes. After her mother left for work looking tired and haggard, Vanessa explained, "We didn't get much sleep last night 'cause me and mom had to drive by all the bars in town looking for dad".

Then there was the afternoon the children were discussing who they would have spend the night with them if they could. Joshua, 5, piped up, "Guess what?!", his usual way of starting sentences. "Matt spent the night last night!". Having never heard him mention a friend by that name, I (innocently) asked if Matt was a new friend of his.
"No," Joshua replied, " He's my mom's new friend!".

We've been studying a different letter of the alphabet every few days. While thinking of items that start with Aa one child said, "I know. A-S-S!". They're not allowed to say it, but for some unexplained reason think it's ok to spell it. While naming Bb items, the same child shouted, "Ba-Ba-Butthead!" I can't wait to see what Cc brings.


This reminds me of Ryan, a preschooler I once watched. When he returned to my house after preschool one day, we practiced the alphabet while looking at a chart on the wall. Astonished, Ryan exclaimed, " These are the same letters we learn at my school!"

I recognized the tune Justin was singing as Three Blind Mice. When I listened closely to the words, I realized he was singing "Rewind mice, rewind mice."


It started as a quiet disagreement, but soon escalated to a full-blown shouting match. The argument? Who was the quietest.
They completely missed the irony of this.
Mondays sometimes bring surprises for me, as when I asked the kids what they'd done over the weekend.
"Me and my brother and Grandpa were looking at a calendar with naked women on it!" Russell, 5, exclaimed.
"I'm sure they had swimsuits on," I said.
"They do now", he explained, "'cause Mom took a marker and drew swimsuits on 'em!".
Funny thing is you can tell a person's generation by whether they call it a "marker" or a "magic marker". Yes, I'm of the magic marker generation. Back in the day, they did seem a bit magical.