Really?! One Surprising Summer Childcare Option

This week is our first full week of summer vacation. School officially ended mid-last week, and we started off this week by being part of our church’s vacation bible school.  I have volunteered in years past and am volunteering again this year. The best part – both of my children are now attending as “campers.”  It IS a really wonderful week for kids, volunteers, and adults alike.

The theme is Cave Quest, which is woven through each activity, from games, music, and art / science, to Bible stories, video and snack. So much happens during this week from 9am – 12 noon.  It is jam-packed with fun, and these take-home secret maps.

Cave Quest Vacation Bible School

Top Secret Maps contain the Bible Story of the day and remind kids of what they learned.

This year there is record attendance – especially with the lower aged kids (starting at age 3). It really is a blessing!  Yesterday, as part of the kitchen, I helped prepare 200 waffles for snack.  Yikes – so glad we had a lot of hands to help and an industrial sized kitchen. I’m happy to contribute to some of the work of each day and love hearing my kids stories as we drive home each day. Today the Golden Rule was one of the lessons learned – and I was so pleased when I saw my son sharing at lunchtime without being asked.

I had asked some coordinators about the high attendance, knowing that we pulled from area churches. One parent shared that she knows of families who use Vacation Bible School as a form of inexpensive childcare, signing their kids up for three or five different sessions in the area! Really?! I found this surprising! I guess that’s one way of getting mornings free for several weeks, and there ARE worse things that you could have your kids attend. I’d like to think of vacation bible school as MUCH more than childcare…Kids are learning about their faith, meeting other kids, and having fun!

Are there other unique ways that parents find childcare that you find surprising?!

Not Sensitive – Just Crabby!

I am feeling a little crabby.

I can’t help but feel crabby when I have a head cold, I keep waking up to single digit temperatures, and I still see snow on the ground!  When will winter end?!  Plus my NCAA bracket is completely busted thanks to the loss of my Wisconsin Badgers.  Crabby!

Whenever I use the word crabby, I am reminded of the daily report card that day care would use.  There were three check boxes to describe the child’s mood for the day.

Your child was feeling:

  • Happy
  • Tired
  • Sensitive

Notice it would say sensitive – not crabby!  On days when sensitive was checked, I’d ask, “Was she crabby today?”  The teacher would calmly reply, “Yes, she was a bit sensitive.”  No, just say it with me – CRABBY!

We say crabby all the time in our house. You ARE crabby, and saying sensitive just doesn’t cut the mustard! Big sister will throw a tantrum, go to her room, and (on really awesome days) put herself down for a nap.  When I ask her how she’s doing after the tantrum settles down, she’ll say, “I was a little crabby…”

I say you need to just be crabby and get it out of your system! I have good things in the works that are already replacing my crabbiness, so I know this crabby time will pass.  In the meantime, don’t call me sensitive – crabby is just fine with me!

Separation Celebration!

We all know a lot about separation anxiety and how difficult it can be to leave your screaming child with another caregiver.  I’ve dropped both of my babies off at daycare, before I quit my job just over a year ago.  Though I know both of my children would eventually calm down and enjoy playing (or so the teachers told me), it still can tug at my heart strings leaving unhappy children.

In stark contrast to separation anxiety, I’ve lately been feeling more Separation Celebration! Let’s start with a definition:

Separation Celebration – proud, happy goodbyes, when you see your child excited to leave you to experience new and different things with other children and teachers.

I first experienced this last week, when I left my 3 year old daughter with her swimming teacher for her class, after being in the water with her for the first few class sessions.  First off I was happy NOT to get in the chlorinated water, and second I have been feeling that my daughter is ready for more time away from me.  Since she had some difficulty listening to the teacher in previous swimming classes, we weren’t sure how it would go when she’d be on her own.  With some apprehension – and forewarning from the teacher that there may be tears – I held her hand and walked her to her class.  She simply let go of my hand and went to her teacher – all without any tears, screaming, or protests!

I was impressed! I walked away from the class, so she couldn’t see me, but covertly spied on her from afar.  I saw my daughter happily kicking, paddling, jumping in, and splashing around according to her teacher’s instructions.  I could not have been prouder!  After class, she ran (whoops – walk around the pool sweetie) back to me, happy as a clam.  Later in the week she told me she now can put her ear in the water. She’s proud of what she’s learning too.

My second separation celebration also occurred last week, when I dropped both kids in childcare at the Y, so I could go to a body flow class (tai chi, yoga, pilates mix set to music). While my 17 month old son was a little upset, my daughter was excited to go play. After a wonderful class, I picked them up and we hung around the play area for snack time and more playing.  My daughter met some other kids around 3 years old, and said, “Look mom, I’m making friends.”  Again, I was thrilled to see her having fun and enjoying the company of her “friends.”

My firstborn is growing up for sure!

It is so rewarding to see and experience your child coming into his or her own.  To be able to get dressed, use the bathroom, eat, and get ready to leave the house with minimal help (and tantrums) is a HUGE accomplishment. I even see big sister telling little brother how to behave. “You don’t throw your food on the floor” is what she has been saying lately.

She’s definitely ready for  3 year old preschool – something I hope to have her by Fall, when I hope to be back at work in either a part time or full time capacity.  It’s reassuring, knowing my husband and I have done a lot of the heavy-lifting of parenting (and will continue to do so), that has helped prepare our daughter for the next phase – going to school. I’m excited for her to learn from teachers other than me and Daddy O (or other relatives and babysitters) because it really takes a village, as they say, to raise a child.

The separation is good for both parent and child. I love my time away to get out and recharge. And as parents, we need our date nights for a chance to reconnect and not only talk all about the kids. We owe it to ourselves as moms to take care of our OWN needs too in order to be a happy, healthy mom and wife, who can set a good example for our children.