Friday, October 12, 2012

A Day in The Life of a Child Care Provider

It was a dark and stormy morning as I walked to work. I had an umbrella in my backpack, just in case, and I stared anxiously at the looming grey clouds over head, and more spilling out over the mountains like dry ice.  I didn't have time to worry about the weather. I had to mentally prepare myself for a seven hour shift at work.

I walk into work, and everything is the same, normal. I look at my duty of the day: big door attendant. Great. The most boring job in the daycare. I get to sit in a chair, writing down the kids name's as the enter the gym. But today was different, because there weren't very many kids.

A baby girl crawls over to me, grabbing onto my leg. She pulls herself onto her short, stubby legs, clinging onto my pants. A child distracts me at the gate, so I turn away... BOOM!! The baby fell to the ground, hitting her head. She bursts into loud sobs and tears. I quickly pick her up into my arms and cradle her on my lap. The gym floor isn't very soft... not a safe place to hit one's head... Moments later, her mother arrives. Taking her home.

A five-year-old boy approaches me, staring at the gate.

"I have to go back inside." He tells me, sounding scared.

"Why? We're supposed to stay out in the gym." I reply.

"I can't!" The boy begins to whine.

"Why can't you?" I ask.

"Because my mom is picking me up in the daycare, not the gym! She'll never find me in here!" He says loudly, the fear returning in his voice. I keep a straight face.

"Your mom will still find you." I try to ease his fear.

"No she won't! I can't stay here!" The boy eventually wanders off, distracted by the many toys we have placed in the gym.

Two toddlers, both walking but unable to speak are leaning against the gate. Staring into the daycare. One is bigger, the cute chubby look that babies sometimes have. He has bright red hair and brown cowboy boots on his little feet, that squeak every time he takes a step. The other is smaller, blond curly hair, pants that are much too big and keep falling down over his feet, making him slip and fall (good thing he's not much of a crier). I watch the two as they begin to wordlessly interact.

"This is my space." The cowboy boots kid seems to say.

"Hey! There's room enough for the both of us!" The big pants boy argues. Before I know it, the red-headed cowboy holds out his chubby arm and shoves the other kid to the ground. I quickly rush to their side. Gently reminding the cowboy we aren't supposed to push, but really, he can't talk, I doubt he remembers that rule. The big pants kid says nothing, but holds out his arms, wanting me to pick him up. I lift him off the ground and his pants slide down to his ankles.

Next a mother approaches the gate, holding her four year-old son's hand. The little boy is upset, staring into the gym with disgust.

"See?" His mother tries to reassure him. "They got rid of all the monsters in the gym today." Ironically, sitting beside me are the art projects the children had made for the day: monster puppets.

"No, it's scary!" The boy begins to cry. The mother looks tired and upset. This happens everyday for her. Everyday she has to walk through the daycare with him, proving that we don't have any monsters or other scary things. And every time, she gets him distracted and leaves. Leaving behind a very emotional 4 year-old boy who thinks there are scary things in the daycare.

Later that day I'm inside the daycare, at the coloring tables. A little baby girl grabs onto a chair, pulling herself to her feet (I think, I didn't actually see what happened). Suddenly, BOOM!!! Her head hits the window and she bursts into tears. I lift her into my arms and begin carrying her to the front so I can check on her head. I glance down and... blood... pouring out of her mouth. I shift her in my arms so she is lying flat. She continues to sob as I set her down on the counter, wiping her mouth gently with a tissue. Her shirt is covered in blood. I look down, my white polo work shirt has drops of her blood on it.

We get her a bag of ice and she eagerly begins to chew on it. Her tears fade quickly and she smiles as she bites the bag with the few teeth she has. I had to assume her lip was bleeding because she bit it when she fell, but with so few teeth in her mouth, I have to wonder what really happened.

I look over at the door to the daycare. A boy is standing beside it! But wait, he's not supposed to be out there. He's supposed to be in the gate, in the daycare. I look by the fence and see a toy motorcycle that the kids ride on. He had apparently used it to climb over the gate!

"We have to stay in the daycare. No climbing over the fence." I tell the boy. I open up the gate and gesture for him to come in.

"No!" He rebels and begins running back and forth in the small area.

"I need you to go back in the daycare or we'll put you in time-out." I warn him again.

"No!" She shouts. "Look how fast I can run!" He says excitedly.

"Wow. You are fast. How about you show me how you can run back inside the daycare?"

"Okay!" And he books it into the daycare. That boy continued climbing on things, taking other kids toys, and overall giving me a headache. I repeatedly told him the rules: no climbing, no screaming, we have to share. But the words seemed lost on the enthusiastic four year-old.

The daycare is supposed to close at 4:00 PM. It turns to 4:20 when the last mom comes in to pick up her children. I go to take the number tag off the little girl and she coughs all over my hands. Thank you sweetheart, I'm just barely getting over my cold, please don't get me sick again.

So with germs on my hands, blood on my shirt, and a wave of exhaustion sweeping over me, I venture out into the cold stormy weather to walk home from work.

Just the average, ordinary day of a child care provider... and I absolutely love it! :)


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