I started a Day Care in my home this month. It’s been kinda crazy and kinda tough, but it is worth it to me. I don’t lay awake at night worrying about how to make the money stretch. We have a plan to pay off our debt, and when that is done, I get to close the daycare!!
I thought about calling my day care Laughing Babies Day Care, mostly so that I would feel happier about it. I have always hated the day care names that are lame puns along the lines of “Krayon Kampus” and “Wee Care for Your Kids” But I hate even more day cares that are named overly sweet names like “Angel Keepers” and “Precious Moments Child Care”. Now I’m thinking Laughing Babies might be a little bit too much in that overly sweet category. (Plus no one is laughing).
The children I watch really love caterpillars, and lucky for them, I have a yard full of walnut trees, and the walnut trees are full of tent worms-which are basically fuzzy caterpillars. They gather handfulls of caterpillars each day. Sadly, the capterpillars don’t usually survive. Since they are a pest caterpillar, I don’t feel too bad about it.
Anyways, now I’m considering naming the day care “Caterpillar Campus” and in my mind it would always be “[Dead] Caterpillar Campus.” What do you guys think?
The 3 children I am taking care of are siblings, and they are sweet kids. Actually, the first few days, they were more like wild animals. But I have seen alot of improvement over the last 4 weeks, and I think they will do even better as more time goes by. I get the satisfaction of knowing that the mother and grandmother have both noticed big improvements in the kids behavior since I began caring for them. Also, Banana Cream Pie is much happier staying home instead of running errands all over town every day, and Baby Bean hasn’t seemed to notice one way or the other. I did have to sacrifice my almost daily exercise at the YMCA, but I do get to go to hot yoga one night a week, which I love, and I run around outside with the kids every day.
I have been calling them “Day Care Kids” but it seems like a slur, so I’ve decided to call them my “Extra Kids” from now on. My Extra Kids are super high energy compared to my own children. I play outside with them 2 or 3 hours every day to run off their energy and keep their minds busy with constructive things. This has been very good for Banana Cream Pie. She has always been happy to just sit on my lap all day and loves to watch movies. I tried to limit the movies before, but now she has a lot more active outside play than she ever got before. I can’t get any housework done during the day because the extra kids need CONSTANT UNWAVERING ATTENTION. Because of that, I’m not ever trying to “get something done” during the day, and Banana Cream Pie gets more of my attention than she used to.
Even though I don’t get anything done during the day, the house stays as clean as it did before because I am really strict about picking up toys before we move on to a new activity.
Also, I’ve been giving much opportunity to grow my capacity for patience and love. I’m learning how to not lose my temper when a child deliberately disobeys me or harms another child. I’m learning how to stay calm when the extra kids are screaming. (One of the extra kids is a screamer. She screams when she puts on her shoes and socks. She screams when she pulls up her pants in the bathroom. She screams when the tricycle she is riding won’t go fast enough. She screams when the magnetic wooden train won’t stay stuck together. She screams if one of the babies toddles within 3 feet of her (because she is sure they are there to take her toy). She screams if anyone touches her stuffed rhino. She screams if I put her in time out. But she does stay in time out until I say she can get up. I have been grateful since DAY ONE that she stays in time out until I say she can get out. If she didn’t, I don’t know what I would do.
The second week of day care was the hardest. I started feeling like I was seeing no improvement in the kids behavior and was worried they would act terrible forever. I was really worried that I didn’t have enough love in me to love them despite their bad behavior–and love is what I knew they needed in order to change their behavior. I was worried that I was too tired in the evening after 10 hours of Day Care to be a good mom for my school age kiddie pies. I told the DH that I didn’t know if my bucket was full enough to give so much. I read many scriptures about patience. These two were especially meaningful to me:
Psalms 37: 7-8 “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him…Cease from anger, and forsake wrath: fret not thyself in any wise to do evil.”
Alma 26:27 “Now when our hearts were depressed, and we were about to turn back, behold the Lord comforted us, and said” Go amongst thy brethren, the Lamanites, and bear with patience thine afflictions, and I will give unto you success.”
When I went to yoga, the teacher asked us all to choose a mantra for the evening to repeat to ourselves during our practice. She spent a long time explaining her favorite sanscrit mantra and what it means to her. I knew immediately what my mantra needed to be. So for my hour of yoga practice I repeated to myself “I have enough [love] and to spare. I actually prayed during yoga and asked Heavenly Father to fill me with his love so much that it would overflow out of me and onto everyone around me, especially my extra kids and my family. Though I had been tired and aching and stressed when I went to class, when I returned home I was happy, energized, and at peace. I realized that my bucket will be full enough if I ask for divine help. I realized that patience is really just another word for love. As I love my kids, I can be patient with them. It is when I become focused on myself that I become impatient. Most of all, I am grateful for Jesus Christ who is eternally patient with me as I struggle to overcome my sins and weaknesses.
Our hymn book has a hymn, “Scatter Sunshine” written by Lanta Wilson Smith. I’ve never liked it much because it is often played too slowly by the organist at church and it is just murderous to try to sing a lively song at funeral dirge pace. I have recently revisited that song and been learning the words to all the verses. It is now my go to song when I’m feeling grouchy or discouraged. I have a good friend who is a counselor and life coach. He recommends that when unwanted thoughts or emotions plague us, that we should copy the Savior and first say (out loud) “Get the behind me, Satan” and then sing our chosen hymn through several times, all the verses. I am finding this a much more effective way of using the hymns to raise my spirits than just listening to them or even than just singing through the ones I know. I had never learned any of the words of “Scatter Sunshine” by heart except the chorus. That is actually pretty unusual for me–when I sing stuff, I learn it quickly. But learning the words to the verses has been a great blessing to me this past couple of weeks. Verse 2 is my favorite:
Slightest actions often meet the sorest needs,
For the world wants daily, little kindly deeds.
Oh, what care and sorrow You may help remove,
With your songs and courage, Sympathy and love.
Scatter sunshine all along your way
Cheer and bless and brighten Every passing day.