Help me make sense of this.
My experience with day care is limited – as in, it is non-existent. So I’m trying not to judge this. I don’t know what-all the rules and regulations are.
But if today is any indicator, their name is Legion.
For years I have been watching a day care provider lady bring a gang of kids to the pool where ours take swimming lessons. I keep having to remind myself that it’s a new batch of kids every year and not that these kids have stayed the same size that they were when my 20-somethings were five. See what I mean about my experience being nil?
This summer there were six boys and three girls – ages 3-4. Some were still in swimmies – special swimming diapers that don’t absorb King Kong’s weight in water. I am glad I had a big family just so that I could experience these marvels of modern technology. They were invented, I think, sometime around my fourth child’s birth.
The day care kids trooped into the pool area in an impressive neat, quiet, single file. They headed for the baby pool where I was sitting alone on a bench, facing away from the sun and trying not to go blind while watching Melanie and Joe take a lesson in the main pool. Once in a while I’d stick my feet in to cool off.
The baby pool is a glorious twenty-plus feet across, is about ten inches deep, and has a small, gurgly fountain in the middle. As soon as the kids saw it they broke ranks and headed straight for it.
This prompted Day Care Lady to state Rule Number One:
Shoes were quickly off and their joy knew no bounds. One chubby, little dark girl jumped straight in and stood still, staring at the water. She emitted one scream after another like a clock striking the hour:
This prompted Day Care Lady to emit Rule Number Two:
Meanwhile, several of the boys ran and jumped in the water.
Rule Number Three:
Here, I must say, she had the letter of the law. There was a sign on the pavement that read: “Don’t Run.”
I watched her young assistant point it out to the boys. They responded by looking guilty, like they’d been caught sneaking a bit of running when no one was supposed to be looking. One of them, however, had the cojones to challenge her.
“It says, Run.”
“No, it doesn’t. It says, ‘DON’T run’.”
Pointing: “This right here says, ‘Run.'”
I knew what was going on inside his idealistic, young head: This is a pool. You’re supposed to run and jump in it. Obviously Lady, you are wrong about the signs.
By the way, did someone say jump? Don’t even think it. Next to the “Don’t Run” sign was another that read: “No Diving.”
Well, right. Ten inches of water here. It’s all fun and games until somebody’s brain abruptly short circuits.
But the sign refers to diving, right?
Provider Lady pointed to it and explained, “It says, ‘No Diving.’ That means,
Way, way, way, WAIT!
Okay, okay, this is none of my business. I’m keeping my mouth shut.
Then it was time for Rule Number – what are we up to now? Five.
Dangerous activity, that.
Six quickly followed:
I was just waiting for Rule Number Seven. Go ahead, go ahead and say it:
Okay, she didn’t say it.
But when a kid announced – the way boys are wont to do, by grabbing self in front and looking panic stricken -that he had to visit the bathroom, the real Rule Number Seven came out:
“You know the rule. There are too many children to watch. You’ll just have to hold it until we get back to school.”
Two adults for nine kids. This is a lot of families I know. Not mine. We only have seven. And to be fair, they are not all three years old.
But I have had my share of inconvenient bathroom visits involving wet bathing suits, sand, and vast distances in which the bathroom is often just a mirage on the horizon. At least here there was no sand and you could actually throw a stone and hit the bathroom.
Whenever one of these inconvenient bathroom needs occurs all you do is say, “All right – who ELSE has to go to the bathroom?” Then you take half of them with you or send an older sibling because usually by the time you have that many kids, somebody’s old enough to put on potty duty.
I know what you are going to tell me. It cannot work that way. These kids are not hers. They belong to other people.
Yes, and I can imagine the stress that must go with that. What if you lose one of them? What if one of them gets hurt? (What if one of them wets his pants or pees in the pool also comes to mind.)
Just then Melanie and Joe interrupted my thoughts (they are good at that) and ran up to me to announce that their swimming lesson was over.
“Watch this, Mom!” they shouted. They ran back to the main pool and hurled themselves in.
Anyway, as I was about to say, this lady obviously knows what she’s doing because after all these years she’s still in business. You have to have a lot of rules for the safety of the children and, let’s face it, to protect yourself.
If that’s what you were going to tell me, then I agree completely.
Just don’t tell me that it’s my kids who aren’t having any fun because they don’t go to school.
Copyright 2012 Susie Lloyd