Dec 31, 2009

A look back at 2009

So, I decided that I should look back at this year. A reminder of all of the good as well as all of the bad.

First there was school. Though I technically started in the Fall of 2008, it was about this time of year that I got my official marks. I'm a keener, an over-achiever and very likely the most competitive person that you know. My biggest fear was failure. I was, after all, a high school drop out. I am happy, and yes, very proud, to admit (= brag) that I have a GPA of 4.0. Can't get better than that!

Then there's family. My baby turned one, began walking and talking. 2 of my 3 children are off at school (and are competitive keeners like me!). My husband was promoted. The relationship between my stepson and I deteriorated. Stepson left the house, sick of our rules. Though we see him every so often, the relationship between us all (with the exception of Stepson and Baby) is very, very strained. One day, he will see the reasons behind everything, but until then, we live as the evil, unrelenting parents.

There was the walk for Cancer. I walked all night. It was tiring, and by the time the sun rose and the closing ceremony was finished, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. But even though there were so many of my family members lost to Cancer, it was surprisingly cheerful. The time spent with my Aunt, Mother and cousins was important to me. I'm glad I did it.

I learned to knit. To some, this is an "old lady" thing, but I don't care. Knitting was something that my grandmother did, and I always wanted to learn. She died when I was in grade 6. The yearly gifts of slippers and scarves came to an end. No one picked up those needles to carry on her tradition. Years have gone by and I learned how to knit. Months of searching the internet for patterns finally yielded a pattern as close to grandma's that I could find. Slippers soon came. My family all have matching slippers - some better than others as I tweaked the pattern to my liking. I know that my husband thinks that I'm nuts. I've had many people say to me "why don't you just buy them from the dollar store". But, what they don't understand is that I feel connected to her again...I envision her in my mind...rocking in her chair, her knitting basket next to her as she watched Coronation Street and pretended to listen to my grandfather's ramblings. I miss her terribly, and it's my way to remember.

I got a new cat. Well, some would call him a mountain lion, but he's a giant, lovable fur-ball. Alviss appeared on my friend's Facebook page...needing a home. I helped out. Little did I know that the picture of the gray ball of fluff would turn out to be a 20lb cat! He's huge. He's beautiful. He's cuddly. What more can I ask for?? (okay, he could shed a little less, but beggars can't be choosers, can they?)

I had the most horrible daycare experience ever. A family who was here wasn't happy that I had terminated care. The child was fabulous, the mother was fabulous, the Ass. They were happy with everything, but when I could no longer put up with the father's BS, I terminated care. They, after having had their daughter in care for over a year, accused me of neglect, claimed my home was filthy and, in general, did their best to bring me down. One thing about always doing the right thing, you know that the truth will prevail, but while the truth is busy being detected by child welfare and all the other crap that goes around's stressful. I am still very bitter and very resentful of that whole situation. I genuinely love and care for all the children that are in my Daycare, and their false accusations have left scars.

I had a visit from the very first child ever to be in my dayhome! Funny, how you don't expect these children to age. Wonderful that he jumped out of that van, shouted "Heather!!" and ran to give me a huge bear hug (he's now almost as tall as I am). Sad that he had to leave.

I got a new family in dayhome. They are wonderful. They are fun, sarcastic, witty and real. I am very grateful that they came. Really good dayhome families are a rare gem. This is one of them. I also have a very good friend bringing her child to my dayhome. The fact that we are able to keep our business and friendship as two separate entities is amazing.

Fond memories were made. A rainy holiday in Drumheller. A town full of churches. A visit to Heritage Days and being trapped in a rainstorm. That is one that I never wrote about. The downpour that we went through, arriving to our car dripping as if we'd gone fully clothed into a swimming pool only to have the rain stop minutes after getting inside. It was at first, irritating, quickly overwhelming and soon hilarious. I came home that day to blog about it (once I had dried off and warmed up) only to discover that there was a woman who had died in that very same storm while at the Big Valley Jamboree. Suddenly, it wasn't something to write about.

There were the fun times the kids had with their grandmother. There were all of the great things that my daycare children have said. There were the debates with friends, and a few with strangers. Though I started this blog as a way of putting down the odd and silly thoughts that run through my head, mostly for the amusement of my friends and family to read -- I have come to the realization that there are people from all over the globe (well, so far, just North America) coming here searching for advice, or maybe just confirmation of their innermost feelings.

Everything is a lesson. Best wishes to you and yours, my readers, for a happy 2010!

What do you think?

So, it's almost a new year, and I got myself a new layout! I think it quite aptly reflects all the things that I am. It's called "A little United Nations"

I quite like it!

Dec 30, 2009

Is it all in the name??

So, I recently got into a bit of an argument with someone. I stated that I prefer to be called a Child Care Provider rather than a babysitter. She called this elitist and said that the political correctness of today's society makes people label and judge one another. seems we have always labeled one another; Mechanic, Doctor, Teacher. Those are all labels. But let's get down to the heart of this. She could not see that there is a difference between a babysitter and a child care provider. She said that they both offer the same service and that by saying that I was not a babysitter, I was disrespectful to those who are.

Perhaps she's right. I don't think so, but that may be my elitist attitude showing through.

Here's how I look at it.

I am a Child Care Provider. This is not a job for me, it is a profession. I have taken studies to enhance the lives of the children that I care for, everything from program planning to childhood development. I provide care for other people's children in my home. I plan out a curriculum, write newsletters, and ensure learning in every moment. I cook meals for them, I teach them everything from potty training and colors, to manners and life skills. I love them and care for them like my own children. Day in and day out.

I used to babysit. On rare occasions, I would go into someone's home to watch their child (or children) for a few short hours. I did this for extra cash. What is involved? Playing a game, watching some tv and going to bed. That's it. Oh I know that there are a lot of babysitters who do a lot more than this, but I have yet to find one.

There is a difference to me. One is a profession, while the other is an occasional job taken for some extra cash. One requires education (which, by the way, more than qualifies me to be a teacher's aide), while the other only requires a bare minimum in safety standards.

To me this is like comparing a chef in a restaurant to a cook at McDonald's. Oh, by the way, when I made that argument, she implied that those two are the same thing too! Good God, if I found out that my stepson was cooking in a restaurant, I'd warn people to stay away! He's great at flipping those burgers, but I'm not sure that he's qualified to make french fries, let alone cook a meal!

Then, this woman attempted to say that by calling myself a Child Care Provider, it was a way to make caring for children into a "business". I have to say, I am so greatly offended by this that I still haven't bothered to comment on it. It is very sad for me to say that the money that you pay to your Friday night Babysitter is more money than I make. I recently learned (while looking for a sitter for my kids) that the going rate for a baby sitter is $10-15/hour....If I work out my monthly wage by the hours that I work, I end up getting a shocking $4.49 for every hour worked (before taxes). That's fabulous. I also get no benefits (like health/dental) and there is no such thing as "sick days" for me. If I take a day off for illness or holidays, I, quite literally, pay for it.

No, I'm not in this for the money. I do it because I love the children. I love them as if they are my own. I miss them on weekends, I cry when it's time for them to move on. I still keep in touch with many of them. They are my extended family.

I don't work for the all mighty dollar, instead, I work for the little heart-felt hugs that I get. The smiles in the morning, the cuddles in the afternoon. The laughter in the park, or the tears over a skinned knee.

A baby sitter I am not and do not want to be. To me, there is a difference, and I am proud to be able to say that I am a Child Care Provider!

Dec 18, 2009

My laundry schedule

I have mentioned before that I'm a little anal about my laundry. How it gets done, when it gets done...all of it. Yeah...I'm a little OCD about it.

But...someone did a Google Search for "laundry schedule for family of 5" -- and they came to my page....AND they asked for me to break it down. So, my dear friend Lisa....I'm not abnormal!!

Growing up, my mother did laundry on Saturdays. It was an all day-long, tedious task. My job was simple. Put the laundry in the bin. She would then sort into lights, darks, denims, towels, linens.

I have, what is considered by most, a large family (2 adults, 1 step child and 3 of my own kids)...and admittedly, all but myself and my middle son are a bit diva-ish about their clothing. Layers, a couple of changes a get the idea. When I tried to stick with the schedule I had growing up, I found I was spending the entire day doing laundry, and if I happened to put it off --- well, we were swimming in a sea of filthy clothes.

So, I developed a schedule. This took much time and tweaking, but I've finally found the thing that works for my family.

Here's how it goes:

Monday -- Blue clothing, middle son's bed sheets (2 separate loads)
Tuesday -- Black clothing, Toddlers bed sheets (2 separate loads)
Wednesday -- White clothing, my bed sheets (2 separate loads)
Thursday -- Yellow/greens/browns, step son's sheets (he's no longer here...but whatever)
Friday -- Pink/Red clothing, daughters sheets (2 separate loads)
Saturday -- Denim
Sunday -- Towels

To be brutally honest, I don't wash the bed sheets every week. It's ideal, but I just don't. I suffer from terminal lazyitis. ;o)

There is also a schedule to how I do this --- now I wish that I could make this into a routine, but life, kids, work --- it all tends to get in the way. But, I find that if I have the laundry sorted into the laundry basket at night, when I wake up in the morning, I can just toss it into the washing machine and get on with my day. I usually toss it into the dryer at lunch time, it's dry by nap time, when I can fold it uninterrupted. However, there are days that I don't put it in the wash until much later....then I put off folding becuase I'm tired, then I'm stuck with wrinkly clothes, then I have to *gag* Iron! *shudder*

So...I hope that this can give you some guidance as to how to deal with a large family with tons of laundry. Rather than spending an entire day folding and washing and over and over and over....spend just an hour a day...laid out this way, it looks like more work, but it really isn't! We have clean clothes all the time, and never have to dig in the hamper for clothes to put on.

Dec 10, 2009

Unhappy Mother

So, there is someone out there who is an unhappy mother. This woman is so unhappy that she is doing Google searches of things like "unhappy mother" and "unhappy with motherhood" -- these, for some strange reason, bring her to my blog.

I have to say, this is very upsetting to me. When I go and do a Google search of the same things, I come across all sorts of stories of mothers in chronic depressions, mothers who have thoughts of killing their babies, or mothers who already have.

I worry that our society places such an importance on our outward appearances. We all have to have happy families with smiling faces and clean homes. The facts are, though, many of us are far from happy.

Motherhood is an especially touchy subject when it comes to happiness. I'm sure that we all love our children, but there are times when you think "what was I thinking??" People see a frustrated woman with a cherub-like baby in her arms and automatically think "what a horrible mother" They judge instantly. They don't ask if she needs help, or if there's anything that they can do. Perhaps mom was up all night with a fussy baby. Perhaps she hasn't gotten a shower in the last 3 days. Perhaps she's suffering from Post Partum. The sad fact is that just because we're mothers doesn't always mean that we're happy and joyous every moment of the day.

That's the key that I wanted to get across to this woman. If, for some reason, she should come by this blog again, I want her to know that Motherhood isn't all sunshine and fact, in order to have a rainbow, you need to have some rain. Being a Mom is great, but can, at times, be infuriating. There are many times that I feel defeated or like I've lost myself, or that perhaps I wasn't cut out for this mom-gig after all. But all of those feelings are part of being a mom. Our children aren't happy little things that do good every moment of the day. They make messes, they talk back, they wake up screaming 3 and 4 times a night (and sometimes more). They break things, they spill things, sometimes it seems like they look for things to do that will make you want to scream. It's part of childhood.

So, whomever you are, I hope that you are able to talk about your feelings with someone. I hope that you realize that it's normal to not always be happy.

More Daycare-isms from my great Daycare Kid!

So -- this child has the most vivid imagination, and such a genuine sweetness and innocence about her. I love her to bits.

So far today (just in the last 4 hours) I have heard the following:

  • "tinker-bell, tinker-bell, tinkles all the day" (her version of Jingle Bells)
  • "I'm not a big girl yet, my mom's 14. That's REALLY big."
  • When asked if she had pooped (hey, I have 3 in diapers here, it's easiest to ask the ones that can answer first!), she replies with "um, let me see my socks first." Uh...okay??
  • "Heder, I don't like formers (transformers) because they don't cuddle nice and they [turns voice into robot voice] talk-like-this. That's not nice."
  • I tried to get her to finish the last few bites of her soup, and said "You can't have a cookie until you finish your soup." She pouted. Then I said, "What would your mommy say if I let you eat a cookie before you finished your soup?" She replies, "yum."

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