Friday, October 26, 2012

I Don't Belong In Childcare. Really.

One of my dad's favorite stories to tell people about me is this one:

After I had Ethan and Connor, I talked with him about the trouble I was having adjusting to being a stay-at-home mom and deciding what to do with my professional life. He suggested that since I was home with the boys all day, why not just run a home day care? I looked at him like the NUT JOB that he was for suggesting that and said, "Dad, I can hardly stand to be home with my OWN kids all day, NO WAY would I voluntarily be around other kids all day, too."

My dad thinks that what I said is just HILARIOUS. He has a sick sense of humor. Now you know where I get it from. 

While what he suggested made sense, he was temporarily forgetting that I am not a "kid person." I don't like to be in charge of or responsible for other kids. And while one family member once told me that I need to seek professional help for my opposition to being around children, I really don't view it as a problem. 

Except for the other day. I had to sign up to help, per the requirements "volunteered" at Connor's pre-school. First of all, I chose to sleep in instead of waking up early to shower, since I figured I was just going to be sneezed on, snotted on, slobbered on, and peed on all morning, anyway. However, I was hoping that I didn't reek of the previous night's rum, topped off with red wine, consumption.

At the school, I first was asked to supervise one of the general play areas. Right off the bat, some kid defied me when I asked him to pick up the cars he left strewn all over the pathway for me or someone else to slip and break our necks on.

Now. I know how I would have handled that situation at home. I'm a pretty no-nonsense parent. I don't screw around. 

But I was not at home, and this was not my kid. SHIT. He was staring at me, testing me, smirking and mocking in his shit-headed defiance. I was torn. I had to balance school atmosphere with my personal style. What do I do, what do I do? So, filled with self-loathing for having to be such a pussy, I asked him seven times, nicely, to pick up the cars, and he finally did. I think the psycho look that started creeping into my eyes helped him decide to stop fucking around, for his own sake. 

This is one the many reasons I hate being in the position of having to deal with other kids.

Then, I was asked to supervise in the "play-dough" room, which was especially awesome as I have a personal problem with that crap, but I figured that with seven thousand 20 or so kids running around, play-dough was going to be the least of my worries.

I was wrong.

I sat in a tiny chair that was about 6 inches off the ground, at the tiny table that the kids play at, and while dodging my knees that were wrapped around my ears, passed out the grayish-brown dough. I can't refer to it as Play-Doh, since it was clearly some kind of special homemade recipe and not the actual Play-Doh brand. It registered in the back of my mind that it was kind of slimy and left a film on my hands. As I watched 15 different kids with their snot- and self-butt-wiped-covered hands play with the same batch of dough, it started to sink in. I looked at the dough. Closely.

BIG MISTAKE. There was particle after particle of God-knows-what stuck in it. There were random hairs. There were four billion germs just festering in that crud. As the disgust settled in, I watched a kid sneeze all over his dough, then hand it to another kid and run off. I watched another kid drop his dough on the floor, accidentally step on it, pick it up, and set it back on the table. Another kid immediately swooped in and started playing with it. 

I was pretty surprised that I didn't witness any kids licking their dough. I mean, HEY, MY KIDS ARE OBSESSED WITH LICKING. Aren't everyone else's, too? I thought about the slimy film on my hands and my mind started spiraling down, down, down into the depths of bacteria-ridden play-dough hell and I had to stop myself from thinking about it any more, lest I went fucking crazy and threw all the shit in the trash can, then lit it on fire and got arrested. Instead, I got up and washed my hands for several minutes. 

I considered pointing out how disgusting the stuff was to the staff, along with asking them if they have thought about how gross it is that they've asked us to bring in empty toilet paper rolls (think about what people are doing when touching those things), and decided that I probably shouldn't let my freak flag fly at full mast and you know, for my son's sake, just let it go

As I was trying to convince myself that really, nobody was going to die from touching the dough (or the shit-infested toilet paper rolls - hey exposure to bacteria is GOOD! Builds the immune system!), one little girl told me that she was hot and she needed help taking off her long-sleeved shirt. 

No big deal, until I realized that the shirt was under her dress.

I quickly took in the circumstances. It was me, her, and another little girl in the room. Nobody else was around. All I could think about was that this little girl was basically going to get undressed in front of me and I was not about to open myself up to any, any, kind of misunderstanding. I mean, I know I'm not a creep, but does anybody else?! Kids aren't the most accurate and explicit story tellers, and I could just envision the whole situation going terribly awry, were she to go home and talk about "the lady who took off my clothes at school" or something as easily misunderstood as that. Or if someone walked in the room while I was in the middle of helping her undress. I just didn't even want to go there.

I was feeling a little panicky and told her not to do anything, hold on! as I walked to the hallway and looked for another adult to at least be a witness, and again was reminded of how much I hate being put in the position of having to deal with other kids.

I really just couldn't wait for the day to be done.

But the day took a dramatic turn for the better when my CHUNK OF BURNING LOVE showed up in the park area during recess after his swim lesson in the pool that's adjacent to the school. Maybe you've read about this baby, maybe not, but in case you haven't, Triple B is my good friend's now eight-month-old THIRTY POUND baby. You think YOUR ass is covered in dimples? 

YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THIS BABY. His thighs are bigger than mine. Okay, maybe not really, but I am not shitting you, it's close.


Just being able to pinch his dimple-ridden butt cheeks made my day. (I swear, I'm really not a pervert, I just love babies. Not kids, babies.) Oh, and it was great seeing his mom, too. And then it was time to go back inside and spend the final minutes sitting on the floor, reading to a small group of kids that crawled all over my lap, stepping on and elbowing and kneeing me and spitting in my face while excitedly talking, but hey, it was fine because my own kids do that to me all the time and especially because THEN THE DAY WAS OVER.

I honestly am doing myself, and kids, a favor by steering clear of childcare.

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  1. Let's go into business together. We'll manufacture antibacterial dough.

    1. I loved this story! Reminds me of when I took my boys to prek. I agree with you. I am struggling with going back to work in 3 weeks when my mat leave is over. I am praying for a miracle because I love being a stay at home mom. I was considering opening a daycare, and I don't think I could watch other peoples kids without smacking them or something! (just kidding but I wouldn't handle it well). This story made me laugh several times my kid kept asking what? I couldn't tell him what cos when I laughed it wasn't exactly at a part that was acceptable to tell my 7 year old. Thanks for making me laugh this morning!

    2. You're welcome, Dacia! Glad you liked it. I hope something works out as far as going back to work goes. I know it's tough to leave them when they're babies.

  2. My friends little girl is 4 months and weighs 18 pounds. She is just as big as my 10-month-old.

    1. That's a big baby! That's a lot of arm cramping. They're like BRICKS when they're that short and heavy!

  3. Oh the germs! I teach (well, I'm on mat leave this year) and the absolute worst is the primary grades (k-3). I witnessed one little boy slurping his snot during silent reading. He was using his finger but the green slime was connected at all times to his mouth, nose, and finger. I wanted to throw up! I still do just thinking about it. A little girl I taught had her hands down the front of her pants at carpet time. The coup de grace was when she pulled her hands out, she SNIFFED HER FINGERS!! I leaned over and quietly told her to wash her hands and to use soap. I never go into a classroom without hand sanitizer.

    1. Oddly, the snot story is what made me start gagging, over the hand-sniffing one... But they are both GROSS! Just last night, one of the boys took off his underwear when changing for bed, scratched with both hands between his balls and butthole, and I immediately instructed him to go wash his hands. But at least he didn't SNIFF them.
      Yeah. Kids are gross. Good call on the hand sanitizer!

  4. Yet another stellar post, that speaks to me exceptionally well.

    I refused to attend our company picnic recently because "there'll be kids there, and I don't like kids"

    I got side-eyed massively, but obviously what I meant was "I don't like other people's kids"

    Incidentally - my awesome kid, who I don't hate - started walking a few days ago. Clearly, he's destined for greatness.

    1. Haa, congratulations on the walking! I always found it to be so much nicer when they walked. SO. MUCH. NICER!

  5. Well, if you only focus on the negatives, of course you're going to hate it. What about those little chairs you get to sit in, that are just the right height for kids to come up behind to give you a hug and a good boob feel each and every day. Oh, and the opportunities to teach families new to America that it is customary to wear underwear, especially when the child can't button his own pants and the teacher has to help, thus getting quite the eyeful. Every single day. Preschool/daycare ain't no walk in the park, that's for sure. Your playdough story made me gag, and your toilet paper tube reference cracked me up. I had never thought of that before.

    1. I found, after asking on Facebook, that lots of people don't think about the toilet paper roll thing...

  6. I always think the same thing about toilet paper rolls, that's why in my class I cut paper towel rings in half when I need short ones. but my coworkers don't seem to think about it. Kids can definitely be gross, but they can also be super awesome and loving. when I was pregnant the kids would draw pictures of their friends and my baby was in a lot of their pictures. they always give the best hugs and say the funniest things. Best part of my day is when I walk into my classroom EVERYDAY 90-100% of my class drops what they're doing to run over and give me a hug. where else can you get so much love for just hanging out, playing and disciplining someone (I run a tight ship). also does your son go to a co-op? I totally get why that would freak you out about girl wanting help with her shirt. I ask only because we're not allowed to leave volunteers unsupervised, but I think co-ops are different.

    1. Aww, you sound like you have sweet kids in your classrooms! One of the little girls that I sat with at the dough table was super sweet and I actually enjoyed hanging out with her.

  7. Hello friends,We are looking forward to discuss with you more about your blog On Childcare.


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