Here is part of an email that I sent to my provider friend Dee:
“The kids are pushing me around – you know when you get sick and you don’t have the energy to fight the battles all day, and then they start to try to take over? I was so sick on Tues. I had to close – throwup bug. And I haven’t been at full strength since….they sense weakness.”
Hence, a few days later, we had to have an “Amy wears the pants!” day. I hate Amy wears the pants day. I like it much better when it’s all sweet and easy, we can all just hang out and get along and follow the routine. Wearing the pants takes far too much effort for me.
My day care mentors, women who’ve been at this for years and take no lip, are just firm all the time. That way they don’t have to have a wears-the-pants day, because they’re always in charge. But I get lazy, so I admit I set myself up for this.
I’m more of an, “OK, you want to jump on the couch today so go ahead, but tomorrow when somebody bumps their head I’ll make you stop” kind of provider. This is clearly not the best plan, but hey – it’s fun to jump on the couch.
On Amy-wears-the-pants-day three kids came in tired and it showed. They were cranky and quick to melt down. There was a lot of fighting over toys (why is it always fighting over toys? Can’t they come up with something else to fight over?).
We were also having some bigger issues. The first was opening the front door. The older ones like to come in the porch, go right through and shut the house door on the younger ones, who wail in psychic pain.
It’s not just the danger that the little ones might get their fingers pinched, but the big ones go in with their shoes on and they’re not allowed to do that (shoes and socks go in cubbies!! I won’t find them ditched around the house all day!).
And well, you know what, I’M the grownup and it’s MY house and I say when we open the doors!!
I had an ingenious solution to this problem: I finally put a child lock on the damn thing.
The other big issue was with keeping food at the table and not walking all over the house with it. I have three who are in the process of graduating from high chairs to big kid chairs and I’m not afraid to tell you – it’s not going great. Peanut butter hands here, there and everywhere.
So it got to where we weren’t really having any fun, I was just walking around bellowing orders and repeating rules. And I knew it, and there was nothing I could do about it.
On a day when I’m not coming off a stomach bug, I would have the energy to turn it around. I could sing a song, play a game, use my happy voice and invented characters and distract them into having a good time.
But I didn’t have it in me today, and that’s OK. It’s hard to reign them in once they’ve gotten a bit loose with the rules. And sometimes this happens and life goes on. Tomorrow is another day (and by then I might have been able to eat more than a bowl of white rice for dinner).