Posted in Sideshows

Finding My Place

My daughter spotted this Monarch Butterfly last weekend. If you know anything about Monarchs, you know adults observed this time of year are on their last days. They have returned to lay their eggs on milkweed plants and then they die.

I raced over to get a photo and realized the butterfly was not going very far. It climbed onto my sneaker and rested before fluttering off at an anemic pace.

As I was reviewing my photos today, this one reached out and said something that I was not outwardly aware of.

“You’ve found your place.” The photo shouted.

My most comfortable footwear has seen its better days but wears its age like a testimonial to fun. The butterfly sits and we shared in a moment…then off.

I would not trade those sneakers  (which I bought second hand from a thrift store) or the place where I was wearing them for pearls and lace.

Fancy I am not.

It’s okay for others but not for me.

I can be quite the chatterbox if a subject interests me. Spending my days with kids is fun but not full of deep thoughts or dialogs.

Most of all, I enjoy watching .

Kids and Nature are my favorite subjects and it wasn’t until I learned how to watch them, that I could thoroughly enjoy them.

Yes, I am fortunate to have found a place to enjoy…My place in this world.

After the initial posting of my photo and observation, I was thinking of a topic that the butterfly brought to mind.

That moment, and that butterfly, are traveling around the world via my blog.

Might they make a difference or effect someone?

I have not read this book but am familiar with Chaos Theory from many discussions I’ve had on the subject with a friend of mine. I’m putting this book on my wish list.

Ever wonder about the people you meet and experiences you have? Are coincidences real? Is everything related in some subliminal way?

I’ll be exploring these questions and so can you.

Posted in Susan's Family Day Care

What’s the BIG DEAL?

The Big Deal (TV channel)
The Big Deal (TV channel) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kids are, by nature, defiant. Check.

Kids will, one day, find out you are not able to supervise them every minute. Check.

Kids, especially preschoolers, function primarily on reverse psychology. Check.

These are universal truths that I am proclaiming, (and believe), in order to continue this train of thought.

It is a wonderful event when a parent embraces their role. I say,”Lucky kids.”

So what’s the BIG deal? Parents who make a BIG deal over little things.

  • Mom at bank counter raising her eyebrows and voice over the offering of a sugary treat to her child.
  • Dad becoming visibly shocked when baby daughter disrobes in front of boys.
  • A parent’s agony over the third word added to their child’s vocabulary. ( The word is “NO!” soon to be replaced by “why?”.)

Making a BIG deal over small, innocent events make them BIG deals. Big deals play badly with defiant, devious persons who specialize in rebellion. The knowledge that these things bother their parents gives little kids magnificent power. The BIG DEAL making improves the odds that kids will remember and use them again.

Case #567

I have a day care parent who wisely supervises her 5-year-old child’s TV viewing. The parent does not want her daughter concerned with the dating and teenage antics on Teen Nick programs. Again, great parenting philosophy that I agree with!

This parent has scoffed and sputtered about the subject in front of the 5-year-old on a regular basis. That 5-year-old is the only kid who changes my TV channel specifically to Teen Nick. Even the older kids, in my charge, ignore that the programming even exists. I rest my case…

In summary, being a diligent parent of young children, does not require the “making a Big Deal” attitude. In fact, you may be undermining your own goals.

BTW- Parents will have plenty of BIG DEAL opportunities when their kids become teenagers.

Posted in Sideshows, Susan's Family Day Care

Back to School Schedules

Ah…the anxiety is building and there’s electricity in the air. Back to School is one week away.

The kids don’t always put a voice to their feelings. I notice the subtle changes especially when they are driving me “nuts”! Bickering and restlessness have doubled here. The same thing happens as Christmas approaches too.

Certainly I enjoy the BIG kids around. They are extra hands and eyes at day care. Yet I am ready for some schedules and so are the kids. Schedules have a calming effect on us all.

Some people are schedule MAD, though. I like some spontaneity in my day or working with kids would make me crazy. Which makes me think of a funny tee-shirt that I saw,: “If you expect the unexpected then doesn’t the unexpected become expected?”

Everyone is different therefore every kid is different. I find some kids utterly lost and unhappy without a schedule. Others roll with every activity and carry on. How I try to be scheduled! Seems my attention span has been diminished to that of a two-year old sometimes. I love the days like the one where we discovered a honeybee swarm in the backyard. We were literally buzzing all day and lunch came around 1:30 instead of noon.

Once the city was doing some road work and putting in new drainage across the street. Backhoes, jack hammers and a huge cement mixer kept our attention all day! By the way, that cement mixer was expertly driven by a woman. WOW! That was something that I am glad that we witnessed.

There are learning experiences everywhere. So schedules are good and necessary, but never underestimate the power of being spontaneous. Heck, we survived a late lunch!

Posted in Sideshows


I’ve lived a sheltered working life. Even though my days are long and pay is short, I have always worked at home. In well over thirty years I have had only 2 sick days. If I am “under the weather”, I can wear a bathrobe. If it’s snowing, I have no car to clean off and no treacherous roads to navigate.

My husband has taken some vacation time at our “camp” this summer and I have had the opportunity to be a commuter. I’ve been driving about 40 minutes from New York State to my home to be there early in the morning for my day care kids. (I really dislike the heat and humidity and opted to work in an air-conditioned environment rather than play in the heat.)

It is good to try new things and I have a greater respect for all you commuters now. My dog doesn’t care for commuting since he likes to sleep in until 7:00 am. At least he doesn’t have to drive. The old thought wheels turn in my head especially in the morning and it’s creepy when I realize there are sections of roadway that I do not recall driving through. My hands are at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock and my posture is erect so I know my driving is defensive BUT was I careful enough? The early morning trek is through rural areas and I am super vigilant about deer on the move. If I were to drive that road everyday, I am sure the idea of “if” I hit a deer would change to “when” I would. Luckily the summer commute takes place after sunrise.

My boasts of a perfect driving record carry little weight for me now. How many hours have I really driven? How many chances have I been forced to take? Yikes! I think I’ll keep my mouth shut and leave the driving to you.

Posted in Sideshows

If I Had My Own TV Show

My life could be a funny subject!

Gate Keeper at the Day Care

It would be a situation comedy about a family day care provider and her precocious crew. There would never be a dull moment since kids are comedians by nature. I’ve done day care for so long, I would be my own best creative consultant. The actual kids on the show would not be stars, just ordinary kids.

There would be few lines to memorize because we would introduce amusing situations and let the kids react naturally!

I believe the show’s title would be,”You can Go Home Now!”

The frazzled lead character (a day care provider) would be pining to retire but cannot afford to. Through the years, she has developed odd but effective ways to deal with kids and their parents too. I might cast Whoopie Goldberg for the lead.

The politically correct, intellectual, first-time parents of her charges would provide many funny subjects which would go to show us all that kids have always been the same. It’s the parents who need help!

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Posted in Kid Story Ideas, Sideshows, Susan's Family Day Care

A kind word

There’s no substitute for the feeling one gets from being generous. Even though it is hard for little kids to share, they catch on to that feeling. We want kids to develop this generous nature but I do not think we should reward them with gifts.  I award my day care friends with a kind word and a hug. By giving kids rewards of tangible objects, we are sending the message that they get some thing for all their kindness. Isn’t what we want them to learn that kindness is its own reward?

I’ve had fun through the years training my pet dogs. I am no expert but I have read and studied about dog training. At the risk of sounding weird, I think toddler training and puppy training are very similar. I’ve noticed that the commands that I use are the same. Sit,stay,wait,come,good boy, are applicable to kids.

Kids and dogs both want the same thing. Positive attention is their favorite reward. They just really want to please their care giver more than anything.

My Jack Russell Terrier can be a stubborn little cus. I’ll let him out,once in awhile, in the middle of one of these balmy nights to do his business. I can tell he would prefer to linger. On occasion, I have lost my cool and growled at him to hurry up! I finally found the key. I start praising him in a gentle voice. “Come on my good boy.” “That’s MY good boy”. Works every time. I follow it with a few warm pats. (offering him a piece of ham never worked.) The essence is to make him want to come in. I use our friendship as the prize and he deems that a great trade.

My favorite prize for my children is a comment, “You made me smile!” or “I can tell that that made you feel good. Way to go!” A kind word and a hug  is a very powerful tool when it is sincere. Certainly, it is rewarding to all!