Eddie Murphy, I feel your pain. What started out as a good deed just turned in to a valuable life experience. My mom operates a home daycare, and has for close to 25 years. I turn 23 later this month and the significance of that- it took me until today to realize what it takes to do what she does.
Daycare is no place for daddies-or me.
Honestly, if you would have asked me any time before today I wouldn’t have seen the challenge. Open the “play-room” doors and let them wreak their havoc, maybe read a picture book, two if you’re feeling really frisky, lay ’em down for a nap from 12-3, then open the “play-room” doors and let them wreak their havoc, maybe read a picture book or two–you get the point.
My mom had a doctors appointment today at 12:30 and was planning on having one of our neighbors fill in for her while she was out. Perhaps she knew I couldn’t hack it, but I just assumed she forgot I was an option. “Pshh I got it mom, why would one of the neighbors have to come over when I’ll be home? I got it, it will be fine.” Over-confidence at times can be my achilles heel.
The air started to seep out of my proverbial balloon when she said “Ok, be downstairs tomorrow at 10am.”
10am? Didn’t she say her appointment was at 12:30? All I’m accustomed to doing at 10am is gearing up for another 2 hours of sleep. Failing to budge on my “report time” she reminded me that I spend very little time down in her daycare while the kids are there. “If you want them to take a nap and NOT go crazy when I leave you should probably think about spending some time with them while I’m there.”
Poised to fail my first day as the substitute of “Michelle’s Daycare,” my mom had to knock down walls to wake me up at 10 this morning.
“You were serious about that?” I said still half asleep. Very poor choice of words.
As soon as I arrived in the basement I isolated the 2 year old, Luca, to start shmoozing. I knew he would most likely be the one giving me fits when my mom left. For reasons unbeknownst I decided to start calling his name in this deep kind of rumbling voice “LUUUCAAA…” My mom without missing a beat says to me, “Yeah thats called scaring him, thats not a good strategy.”
It was now time for “circle time” and my mom announces to the kids that I will be doing the honor of reading the story. I must not have gotten that memo, but at this point all four kids were working in to a frenzy, “YEAH AARON READ IT READ IT READ IT!”
So there I was reading a picture book about a chameleon who was tired of changing colors. I got one kid starting to walk on me, and while withstanding his stomps to my mid-section another one loses interest and starts bouncing a beach ball off the ceiling. I obviously had zero control of the situation and the little buggers were quick to realize it.
Each time anarchy began to unfold and the inmates ran the asylum, my mom would regain control and hand the reigns back over to me. Sink or swim, I respect that philosophy. But I’m beginning to think I gotta better chance of succeeding at basic underwater demolition seal training than I do at home daycare.
I handled up on what I had to do and got them in their napping spots as instructed. But nap-time is over now and my mom still isn’t home. Back to the front lines I go.
Here’s to diapers being dry and my impending retirement which starts as soon as my mom walks through the door.
Praise to the moms out there. This job isn’t for the faint of heart.