Saturday, June 8, 2013

A Year In Review--Facebook Statuses from My Time at the Daycare

Well, another chapter in my life has come to an end. Yesterday was my last day at the daycare. 

Overall, it was a good experience. Having not had the opportunity to babysit when I was younger, I didn't really have any experience with very young children, and actually, before I started, it was quite daunting. I hadn't ever really talked with kids this age, hadn't played with them, hadn't changed a diaper.

Now I can say that I'm confident working with small children. And what a feeling it is to be able to say that! I am certain that I don't want to work with this age as my career, but confidence was absolutely worth the year I put in.

To celebrate the end of this chapter, I have compiled ALL of the Facebook statuses I've posted about the children over the past year. I've also annotated some for further information. Listen under a cut because there are so many.

June 1, 2012 - Today the two-year-olds and I practiced playing pretend with physical objects. Just because I'm -pretending- to eat plastic food doesn't mean I -actually- put it in my mouth. MOST of them got the hang of it! :) I also found that one of the two-year-olds know the ENTIRE alphabet. Any letter at all that we gave him couldn't stump him! His dad worked a lot with him, and the boy was eager to show us how smart he was! [Oh man, I miss this little one so much. He termed when his mom had a second child and never came back.]

June 3 - Oooh. When I have a "class" at work, I should totally get them started on ten frames. I've always loved the ten frames concept but never thought I'd work with students young enough to use them. How exciting! [A great idea that never came to fruition. I had a class of my own for only a short while. I preferred to be a float teacher.]

June 8 - My background in elementary made me take for granted the wonders of effective communication skills.

June 9 - The toddlers shared their runny noses with me. My throat hurts from mucus.

June 15 - I work with a very fussy toddler (he's probably around 18 months?) who cries during our two-hour nap period. Most of what I've read about very young children points me towards wanting to allow him to cry it out (after checking that nothing's harming him, of course, and letting him know that I'm there and that he's safe) to build his ability to self-soothe. There are the other children to think about, too, though, and he keeps many of them awake during nap time. But if I pick him up, he'll come to depend on me doing so every day. Parent-friends, what should I do? [He termed soon after, so I guess it didn't matter much anyway. :/]

June 25 - One of my co-workers is on vacation this week, and I'm covering her 6:30-2:30 shift. I wasn't sure what to expect, but after the first day, I kind of want these to be my regular hours. I really liked coming to work in the early morning when all the children are sleepy and well-behaved, getting to work with just one or two little ones before outside time, and getting home with plenty of evening free time to myself. This will be a good week ♥

June 26 - Today I gave my first Waldorf-inspired lesson: 15 minutes of vertical line study with six 2- and 3-year-olds.

June 28 - I asked a 3-year-old that has had defiance issues with me in the past to put his socks back on. He pouted, threw them down, and crossed his arms in response. I left him be for a minute because I was dealing with something else at the time, and when I looked back, he had put his socks back on and was running to play with a friend. Woah! I called his name and walked towards him because I knew he wasn't one to come when called, and then got down to his level to give him over-the-top praise. Then he and the friend wanted to help me put away nap cots, a chore normally reserved for teachers in the toddler rooms, but because I knew he needed more positive feedback from me today as well as a chance to do something significant, I let them help and gave them more over-the-top praise when we finished. It's been a good day, but I'm glad to be home ♥

June 29 - I spent the last 15-20-ish minutes of our outside time today hugging 2- and 3-year-olds "bad guys" to turn them into back into "good guys." One child wanted the process repeated four or five times, and, at one point, I realized that I had a pile of five children in my lap. "Oh, look at this pile of love I have!" Time for my Friday afternoon nap ♥

July 11 - Numbers were low today, so I was the only younger toddler teacher today, and we had a whole half of the building to ourselves. What did we do? One of our biggest highlights was probably my youngest (who is probably somewhere between 16 and 18 months, I forgot to check) practicing going down the slide on her bottom (with help from me each time because she still wants to go down on her tummy). And because I was the only adult in the vicinity, I sang softly in Japanese when we needed to quiet to prepare for nap time. That's something I'm too shy to do if anyone else is listening.

July 19 - A two-year-old asked for more pineapple during lunch today. I told him to finish the other food on his plate first, and he cried crocodile tears for ten minutes. Frustrated, I put some green beans on my plate and sat down next to him, making a big show about how yummy I thought they were until he happily finished everything on his plate and the extra pineapple I gave him. Then we went back to the room for nap, and I watched the rain while seven children slept peacefully behind me ♥

July 20 - I am SO glad it's the weekend. Not that I don't love those kids, but holy COW, they were so whiny today! Time for sleep.

July 25 - Seven little ones today, including a new little girl that cried at every little transition (and whose cries turned into SCREAMS many times) and another one that refused to nap and chose instead to cry inconsolably almost the entire last hour (but at least she didn't wake up the new little one! The new one slept peacefully all nap long after I gave her her pacifier). Seven is a VERY large number to have of two-year-olds. After a long, loud day, I treated myself to a new skirt from the thrift store and some yummies from the [local sweets shop].

July 25 - After an evening of relaxing, I was successfully able to remember my favorite part of the day: It was Splash Party (sprinkler play, which happens once a week), and one boy--usually quite a handful--dried off and came to lay his head on my lap. Relishing this rare moment of calm for him, I lovingly scratched his back. A girl watched us from a couple feet off, then came to join us on the grass and watch me closer. A few moments passed, and then she began to copy my hand movements, touching the boy's back softly. "Oh, [girl] is touching [boy] so gently. He likes those soft, gentle touches. See the smile he's giving us?" She grinned up at me. ♥

July 26 - I can't help but be proud of myself today. Two of my little ones seemed uninterested in nap time, but I stayed quiet, not allowing myself to speak to them unnecessarily. One of them has actually only slept for minutes at a time the whole week, and I decided to merely move her cot to a darker corner that was farther from the window and other children. I walked over to her and whispered simply, "Stand up, please." She stood up, I pushed the cot into the corner, and she laid down and fell right asleep. The other girl was tougher, because it's only her second day with us. To her, I only said, "See all of our friends? They're all sleeping because it's nap time." "Mm-mm!" she whimpered in protest. I smiled and went to sit down. She fretted silently for about twenty minutes, at times standing on the floor with her head down on the cot. It was very difficult to restrain myself from saying anything, but then she slept peacefully for more than an hour!

July 27 - Today was my last day with the toddlers for a while ;-; Next week I'm working 9-6 with 12 preschoolers, and I'm not excited about either of those numbers. They're still trying to get things sorted out at work, but hopefully they'll succeed soon.

July 28 - One thing I realized this week that I'll absolutely need in my future 2-year-olds classroom is a Montessori-style dressing frame, an item used to practice fastening clothes fasteners, like snaps and buttons.

July 30 - I only had 5 preschoolers before lunch, and we were able to work for a little longer than half an hour individually, Montessori-style. One girl practiced filling the entire Lego placemat with Legos, taking them off, and putting them on again. Another girl sorted wooden cylinders by color and in rainbow order. Then she stacked all of the same colored cylinders in perfect towers. All unprompted! One younger boy chose merely to watch, which is absolutely an acceptable activity. If only it was always as wonderful as this morning ♥

August 13 - For some reason, our dramatic play this both today and Friday has consisted of eating "bad"/"hot" cookies. Interesting. I expect it will continue this week, and I'm not sure what it means. I've tried telling the kids not to eat them, to throw them away and make good cookies, to wait until they cool down, and to drink some cold water after they eat them. I know this is an important lesson for them somehow, but it still makes me wonder why. I may never know, but I'll always listen, follow, and play along.

August 15 - With forty-five minutes left of work, only three kids remaining to be picked up, and all three pacified playing "train" by lining up all of the little yellow chairs, I set myself to begin the task of clearing unnecessary toys from my shelves. I pulled three boxes, but there still seem to be a lot of toys in my professional opinion. Yes, I DO have my own toddler classroom, but don't get too excited yet, even bigger things are in the works! [Those bigger things were getting a job at the Montessori school I had volunteered at, but it never came to be because the enrollment there was too low to warrant the hiring of a new teacher. Again, I only held the classroom for a short while because I realized I liked being a float teacher more. I liked the flexibility of going into many different classrooms and getting to know ALL of the children well.]

August 21 - There's been a lot of monster talk recently. Today, the boy whose thing it was last week was to eat pretend cookies and spit them out because they were either too yucky or too hot, mixed the two scenarios. When a friend called out, "Monster!" he['d] run over to where the friend was pointing, take a "bite" out of the air (complete with the bite sound effect he always does--"Aaom"), then stick his tongue out and say, "Bleh! Yucky monster!"

August 22 - Alright, who was it? Who stole my patience? I need that for my job, so please give it back.

August 23 - Overall, better day today! My class made a cooperative abstract painting together on butcher paper (and no one even got paint on their clothes!), and we did some yoga after nap. Fun times in Ms. Holly's class!

August 24 - I love the rain. Except for when I have to go out in it. And when I will have up to 8 toddlers driving me crazy because they can't go outside. And when I forgot to roll my window up. Then it's not so awesome.

August 24 - A sleepy, rainy Friday with only four of my own kids and muffins on my lunch break. They've closed another room and given me two kids from there. Yesterday when they gave me kids from a closed room, it threw me off. Hopefully today will be better.

August 25 - A sweet from yesterday: a little girl hopping on her hands and knees like a bunny down the length of the bench I'm sitting on and back again, saying my name with each hop, "Ha-di. Ha-di. Ha-di."

September 7 - Playing "drive-through window" with two four-year-olds,
Boy: What would you like?
Me: I'll have some apples, please.
Girl: *looking down at the toys available* Oh, we don't have any apples.
Me: Oh, what do you have?
Girl: *obtains a plastic slice of pizza her friend found* We have this pizza.
Me: That'll be fine. I'll take the pizza, please.
Girl: *hands it over* It's got peppermint on it...
Me: *assuming she meant "pepperoni"* Good, I like that kind.
Girl: ...and it's also got mint jelly tea on it, too.
Me: Oh, how interesting. I'm sure it'll be delicious.

September 7 - This morning, my class of toddlers made rainbows by gluing colored bits of construction paper in an arc I drew on white paper, and it reminded me of the warm-up stretches I did in ballet when I was, like, four. I led my class in similar stretches after nap today. "What color do you want to paint your rainbow? Blue? Alright reach for that blue paint. Now start over here to one side and let's paint our rainbow blue all the way up~ and over to the other side. Oh! Look how beautiful it is!" And repeat for each child.

September 25 - There was a new boy at work today that tested my patience. I had to tell him calmly that he needed to ask for water nicely and that I wouldn't give it to him while he was whining. (He never did.) Then I had to stand by him and say calmly but firmly that some toys he wanted to play with weren't available (they're kept on a separate shelf than the toys the kids have free range on) and hold them calmly and firmly in place. I'm excited to see him again tomorrow and watch his progress over the next couple of weeks ♥ [If this was who I remember him to be, he DID progress. And it was amazing. But soon afterwards, I made the transition to working more with the preschoolers than the toddlers, and unfortunately, while I was on the other side, he did something (biting?) to get both he and his older brother kicked out. I was heartbroken.]

September 26 - A team of 4-year-olds took me on a dead bug hunting expedition during afternoon recess today. We discussed how we can look at dead bugs, but touching them would make us sick. (Also how we should wash our hands after coming inside, even if we didn't touch dead bugs, and after petting dogs and cats, as well.) Afterwards, together we watched a tiny, live spider crawl up a strand of web and tried very hard not to disturb her. We succeeded for about five whole minutes before someone blew her away.

September 27 - The preschool teachers decided they wanted to hold races with the kids today, so we got to stay outside longer than normal. I sat with the kids that didn't want to participate and helped draw an entire sidewalk chalk rainbow city. My face often hurts by the time I get home from how much I smile during the day. ♥

September 28 - We got to eat our snack outside while we watched the airshow today! What a treat! Most of the kids loved it, but I had a couple of little ones that burrowed into me every time a jet flew by. One flew so low it even scared me! But most of the older ones were totally into it. "Airplanes, Miss Holly!" they told me, serious in their enthusiasm. ♥

September 28 - Oh, one more story. At the end of the day, there were only two kids left. I was singing "Old McDonald" to entertain the two-year-old, but soon ran out of animals. Inspired by the pink stuffed unicorn the four-year-old was clutching, I sang the next verse about a unicorn. The four-year-old was delighted and eagerly offered suggestions about further verses. As long as she could tell me what sound they made, I sang about everything she wanted, including a tiger, a meerkat, and even an apple, whose sound is apparently the crunch that's made when it's bitten into.

October 4 - I love my job, right? I know I do. It's just that on days where one child fights sleep for an hour and forty-five minutes (of a 2-hour nap), another throws up, another has a bloody nose on your shirt, and yet another tries to take toys from others all afternoon, it's hard to remember.

October 12 - There's a child I work with frequently that cries and fusses in his cot during nap time. Today I sat next to him, frustrated at first, and asked why he was upset. "My blanket..." he whined. I looked down and discovered it wasn't covering his feet. I adjusted it a little lower to cover his feet and asked, "Better?" He nodded and went right to sleep. It's difficult for adults to see from a child's point of view, but with a little listening and patience, you can make a world of difference.

October 24 - Oh, okay, a story from work before I go to sleep. I occasionally work with a class of four-year-olds, and I always look forward to it because of one boy that constantly challenges me. Today was another tough day for us, but two things stood out to me. First, after he wrinkled all of the pages in the recycling box so that the other children couldn't color on the backs, I approached him to talk about what he did, also commenting that another boy was sad he couldn't color. "I don't want to apologize!" he told me emphatically. "That's okay, you don't have to," I replied. But having said that, he walked over to the other boy and apologized on his own accord. :) Leaving out all of the other messy drama that didn't end so well, I eventually had to close that room, send the kids with other preschool teachers, and go in for a toddler teacher, but before he left, he sought me out to apologize for the rough time and give me a hug. It may or may not have been at the request of Mom, but it still made me happy. ♥

October 25 - I really didn't feel 24 until I started training 19- and 21-year-olds. Also, something I've come to appreciate about my day-care job is how it acclimates you to child vomit. Still scary stuff, but it toughens you up when you have to deal with it every few weeks.

October 26 - Well.. no voice this morning. Let's drink some tea to see if we can get it back. I'm not sure how effective of a toddler teacher I'll be with no voice. Thankfully (or unfortunately?) I'm still training someone today, so there will be another teacher in the room with me.

October 29 - I imagine working in geriatrics would be similar to my job working with toddlers. They both need the same things: bright smiles; soft, comforting voices; and gentle, reassuring touches. They also have trouble leaving their families and depend on someone saying, "I'll be back in a little while. Have fun!" and leaving confidently without looking back. The difference is that my kids learn a little every day, where as the elderly lose a little every day. I don't think I could do it. [Reflections from interacting with my grandmother, whom my family moved across the country so that she could be put into a home near us. I hadn't seen her for a long time, and certainly not in this condition. I was surprised at how well I could handle it--I just pretended like I was at work.]

October 30 - I got to hang out with the oldest class today, the 4- to 5-year-olds, and had a wonderful time, as always. When I first arrived, two girls were sitting across from each other at the table with over-sized coloring pages and were finding it difficult to both color at the same time. All nine children gathered around the tables to help the discussion the ensued about how they could both could color. Many suggestions were submitted from peers, ("One of them could move." "They could take turns coloring." "They could color smaller pages." "They could both stop coloring and do something else." "They could take their pages home to color." "They could turn the pages sideways.") all of which were applauded, but all unsatisfactory to the girls. Our conversation lasted a full fifteen minutes, but was unfortunately cut short when the 19-year-old I'm training, frustrated, told one of the girls to go sit next to her to color. Arrrg! :/ We probably wouldn't have come to a solution before we were called to snack, but telling children what to do does nothing for them, especially when they're at an age where they can think critically and solve problems by themselves. [Dear god, by the end of my time here, this became my absolute FAVORITE class to work with. I will miss these children so much.]

October 31 - I get to work a few extra hours today to help with Halloween celebrations at the daycare. I'm excited to see all of the kids in costumes their teachers made for them, but that still means that I have to get out of bed.

November 5 - One of the office workers went home sick, so I got to sit behind the desk for a while today. I got to welcome parents, use the intercom, crunch numbers, make copies for lesson plans, fold cot sheets, and answer the phone. What fun! It's always a treat for me to do something new. And when one preschooler saw me, she said, "Miss Holly, you're the office!?" "Yep, I'm the office today," I replied. [Ah yes, I did get to run the office quite a few times. It was lovely--a rush of responsibility--but the toughest part was remembering all the parents. I never got them all, and spent most of the time there asking, "Who are you here for?" That was a little embarrassing.]

November 6 - Two four-year-olds were having some dramatic play as I walked over and took a seat.
Child 1: Oh, I need to check the time. *Walks to one side of the classroom and looks up into space* It's sixty-one-thirty-one! *dramatic face* :o
Child 2: Oh, I need to check the time, too. *Walks to the other side of the room and looks up into space in the opposite direction* It's one-eight-nine over here!
Child 1: *dramatic face* :o
Uninvolved five-year-old nearby: One of those clocks must be wrong.

November 8 - My four- and five-year-olds were exploring absurdist humor today. All of the quips were Why questions, but the only one I remember now is, "Why is there a tutu on my shoe?" They were all pretty similar, though. A younger four-year-old desperately wanted to participate, though she didn't quite understand the humor yet. "Why am I biting my finger?" she offered. The others ignored her, so I smiled to show my approval, and she grinned.

November 9 - The three-year-olds all wanted to be my kitties today, and the only one that didn't want to be a kitty kept telling me that my kitties were dying. She said I would have to go buy new ones at the pet store. Another child decided against being a kitty, too, and let her know that the kitties weren't dead, they were just sleeping. I wonder what she was trying to work through with her play...

November 12 - "Throw the basketball on my head," I overheard a four-year-old say. I immediately rushed over to intervene. "No, let's not encourage that," I told the group, smiled, then turned to give them space while staying in the vicinity in case further support was necessary. The four-year-old must have made some silent motion for the play to continue. When I heard an older five-year-old tell him, "No, we're not encouraging that," I knew it was safe to leave them by themselves again.

November 13 - I did stories with the 4- and 5-year-olds today, Vivian Gussin Paley style. (I.e., asked, "Who wants to tell me a story and have me write it down?", put names on a list, and wrote what they dictated.) The Halloween theme is still very much alive--I had many stories about Dracula, monsters, and zombies. One five-year-old told me a story that was more than a page long, and she was -quite- proud. :)

November 13 - Also, dramatic play was dramatic again today. For my non-educator friends, it's funny because "dramatic play" is just the term for playing pretend, but when the play goes somewhat similar to a soap opera, with such unexpected and Shamalanian twists such as today's "No.. the phone is dead!", it literally gets quite dramatic!

November 20 - Two three-year-olds were playing with legos this afternoon.
Child 1: *Holds up her creation and points it at Miss Holly* Pow pow!
Miss Holly: Oh! *leans over in her chair, as if shot*
Child 2: No guns in school!
Miss Holly: Oh really? How come?
Child 2: Because they're mean.
Miss Holly: Oh, I see. [Child 1], [Child 2] says we can't have guns in school because they're mean.
Child 2: That's right. That's why I'm making a sword to cut down her gun.

November 30 - I GET to go to work early this morning, I GET to. I GET to see the kids during lunch time, make a little extra money (to make up for missing a day and a half recently), and then I get to come home and go to sleep or watch television or play video games on a Friday evening.

December 6 - No matter how much I dread the day, when I walk into work and children shout, "Miss Holly!" with love and joy in their voices, I melt. Yes, children, together we can make it. ♥

December 7 - Christmas at the daycare was pretty adorable. I only got to see two classes sing because I was busy helping, but oh well. They even let me go home early because I came in early. I was looking forward to some extra hours, but I'll get them tomorrow when I renew my CPR license. (Is it a license? I'm not even sure.) [It's a certification. Anyway, Christmas was the first week of December to allow all the children to participate before they went away on vacations.]

December 8 - One of my bosses thanked me for my participation in the CPR class today. If anything happens at work, apparently I'll be the natural leader because everyone else is afraid to act. Also, I decided that when I have kids, they're joining me for CPR classes starting at age, like, 8 or 9 or so, because I want them to have those sorts of things in the back of their minds and not sit like bumps on logs. I want them to be questioners and leaders like their mommy (and hopefully even more so).

December 11 - I caught a three-year-old singing the ABC song today. It ended, "Now I A-B-C-C-C, next time wonder what you are!"

December 13 - All of our toddler bathrooms are decorated by the lead teachers. I was in one with Finding Nemo wall stickers yesterday when I overheard a three-year-old say a few times, "You're mean!" I turned around to find him looking at a picture of one of Nemo's friends, the girly purple/pink octopus. I asked him about it. "That's what she says," he told me of the character. "Oh, that's what the octopus said in the movie," I restated. "Nooo~.." was the response. "No?" "No, she's not a applesauce, she's a fish!"

December 27 - Whenever possible, I prefer to summon children that are "misbehaving" and talk with them about it rather that shout at them across the room. Today a two-and-a-half-year-old knew he had been "caught" when I called him to me and wouldn't budge. He was obviously used to being scolded and wanted to resist it from me. So I went to get him, sobbing at this point, and sat him next to me. When he finished crying, we talked minimally about how important it is to come when called and then practiced it a few times. I had him walk over to a wall, called his name, and gave him a high five and a genuine "Thank you for coming when I called you," when he came. Two other boys watched us and then wanted to play the game as well, ad nauseum. Eventually I had to recruit a little girl to call them and give the high fives for me. :)

January 3, 2013 - "I'm about ta turn into the moon." *stands with hands and feet spread all the way apart*
"I'm about ta turn into an egg." *lies on her back with her hands and feet curled up above her*
"I'm about ta turn into a cookie." *lays flat on the ground*
"I'm about ta turn into a cookie-egg!" *copies egg motion*
I love three-year-olds.

January 4 - The three-year-olds were at it again today, playing their creative game of pretending to be inanimate objects. There were the usual--the egg, the baby various animals that hatched from the egg, the sun and moon, the grass and water, and talking versions of each of those things, but today there were more practical items, such as pants and glasses, even hair and mustaches. I gave a comment and action to each item, "Oh, glasses, I'm gonna put you on my face so I can see," and then a show of putting my face against their stomach. "Oh, shoes, I'm gonna put you on my feet so they don't get hurt when I walk around," and putting my feet gently into the curve they made with their bodies. It was a rousing, silly game, and when one boy announced he was turning into a toilet, and I said, "A toilet? What am I going to do with you? ... I'm going to pee into you!" we all found ourselves in hysterical laughter, still giggling twenty minutes later. Some days I simply LOVE my job. ♥

January 9 - Occasionally I play a game with the toddlers, especially the younger ones, I made up around when I first started working at the daycare. It's part name exposure, part affection/trust building, and part physical movement. I sit on the floor, the children take turns standing behind me. I say, "Who~'s behind me?" and slowly turn around to face them. When I see their face, I make a surprised face and say their first name in a happy tone. Then I place an arm behind them and swoop them off their feet and into my lap in a big, snuggly embrace while saying their full name. ALL the children giggle at each turn, the ones playing and the ones spectating or waiting, and they want to play it endlessly.

January 17 - Trained a new lady today who actually seems pretty great for once. She spoke respectfully to the children and actually treated them like people. She mentioned that she's a big technology fan, and we even briefly spoke on gun play pedagogy. I'm excited for this one. [Gah, unfortunately this one was let go shortly afterwards, and drama happened. Over the next five months, many new hires were brought in, many were let go, and much drama happened. One of the biggest things I'm not going to miss, unfortunately.]

January 21 - I LOVE training someone who is competent and a natural with kids. It makes my life so much easier.

January 29 - The secretary is on vacation this week, and the replacement has country music playing instead of the usual lullabies [during naptime]. I can't focus on my book. I think I'm dying. Someone help. [Hahaha. This was a thing.]

January 29 - Children often run to me to report injustices. Sometimes they can't even articulate the full scenario, opting merely to state, "He told me, 'No,'" and refusing to give me more details. Occasionally after a long day of this, I clocked out, and when the next person comes to me with injustice another child has committed, I instruct the child, "Well, tell her not to." Assuredly, they always turn back to the other child and say sincerely, "Not to."

February 7 - There's a five-year-old that I have the pleasure of working with occasionally. He doesn't receive kindness and respect at home, so he's still learning about those concepts. I can tell that it's really tough for him, but he actually does try, as long as I'm patient with him. I really enjoy our time together. ♥ [This, the older brother of the young boy that got the both of them kicked out. Utter sadness. :( ]

February 12 - Trying to fall asleep, but all I can think of is talking about fire safety with the five-year-olds today and their excitement when we roleplayed "stop, drop, and roll." I love them. ♥

February 14 - As much as I was indifferent to holidays before, working at a day care is starting to make me hate them. There were twice as many kids as there normally are because their moms wanted them to be able to participate in Valentine's Day parties. They were encouraged to eat sugar CONTINUOUSLY throughout the day, and the poor nutrition led them to behave poorly. A ton of kids, crazed with sugar, whining because their mommies stayed for the party but then left and didn't take them, thus hitting and pushing their friends and not following directions? Yeah, screw you, too, Valentine's Day.

February 18 - A four-year-old boy had a scratch on his arm, so during snack, I asked him where he got it, assuming the answer would be, "A cat," because that's what it appeared to me to be, or, "I fell," because that's a typical response at a day care. But what does he tell me? "A huge bird picked me up when I was in the crow's nest."

February 22 - Spent some time with the elementary-aged class today.
Girl 1: Look, Ms. Holly! We're building bombs.
Me: Oh, that sounds dangerous.
Girl 2: No, it's not dangerous unless they're lit.
Me: Ah. I'm glad you know what you're doing.
Girl 1: We do.
Girl 2: We always know what we're doing.

February 22 - Four-year-old boy describing how he got up after nap, "I just rolled out of bed... like a tumbleweed."

February 26 - I called a child, "Little Girl," out of frustration today and instantly regretted it. Uggh. I still feel terrible about it. How could I let myself do that? ... [and the follow-up reflection comment: When I thought about it at home, I did realize that I should have apologized to her, "I'm sorry I said that. I got frustrated and said something I didn't mean to say. You -do- need to follow directions, like I told you, but I said it in a mean way. I should have had more patience with my friends and spoken peacefully." Yeah, that's WAY more Montessori.]

February 28 - I attempted to explore patterns on a hundreds chart with four- and five-year-olds today, but they were more interested in criticizing and correcting my handwriting. Oh well, follow the children! Correcting shows some higher order thinking, after all!

February 28 - Also, this gem, from the store dramatic play:
Boy: I want to buy a horse.
Girl 1: That will be one dollar.
Girl 2: More like fifty pounds! Do you know how BIG those things are!?
I was going to ask if she was referring to the horse's weight or it's price if purchased in England, but I'm not sure she knew herself. So instead I just smiled and stated, "They ARE pretty big."

March 7 - I dreamed that one of the toddlers had parents that owned an antique store. They went off on an adventure at the ends of the world to find more things for their store, and then never came back. The girl was seven and able to run the store by herself, but she missed them. When I came into the store, she asked me if I would help her rescue them. I couldn't say no, so we began to make preparations. [Not strictly what I actually experienced, but still notable. I'm so attached to those children that I dreamed about them.]

March 9 - A four-year-old standing in front of me, but talking to himself, held a small seashell up to his ear. "Can you hear the ocean? ... No. I think the sharks are sleeping." I smiled and said, "You know, small animals used to live inside of those seashells before we got them." He hurriedly put it down on the table and told me, "I don't think I want to play with this anymore." "Don't worry. All the animals are gone now. They didn't need the shells anymore, so now we can admire them in our classroom." He accepted that statement, though still hesitant, and whenever he saw a shell throughout the rest of the day, he pointed at it and asked, "Is there an animal in THAT one?"

March 12 - Watched a five-year-old girl use a bubble wand as a magic wand for nearly ten minutes today. She said, "Alakazam, POOF!" every time she waved the bubbles out. Bubbles are magical. :)

March 28 - Aaand, a cute story from work to end the evening. The boy that was the moon and a cookie egg? He was exploring inanimate object personification again today.
"I'm sour cream."
"Mm, sour cream! I'm going to lick you--"
"No, I'm a -talking- sour cream."
"Ooh. Well, hello, Mr. Sour Cream."
"*grin* Hello."
I love this kid.

April 3 - I only got out one bottle of glue while the preschoolers were drawing, cutting, and pasting. It was mostly because there was only one girl working at first, and then when others came, I was too lazy to get up, but I used it as an excuse to have them practice using manners. We learned not to reach over someone else, to wait patiently, and to say, "Will you hand me the glue, please?" We also learned that "patient" can mean "to wait" or "what you are when you go to the doctor." A few of them needed many reminders, but most of them got it down. Now let's see what the knowledge retention looks like tomorrow!

April 6 - A small three-year-old reached for some dress-up clothes that were put away.
"Is this what you want?"
"This? You're sure?"
So I helped him into a pink princess dress and watched him twirl around the room for twenty minutes with a huge smile on his face. When his name was called over the intercom, I hurried to help him out of it before his dad had a chance to walk back and see him. His father is a police officer. I wonder what life has in store for this sweet little boy.

April 9 - I've had a McKenna and McKenzie in the same class, and sometimes those two PLUS Melissa and Mallory. I've even had classes with two Jackson or THREE Carsons. But today I had an Adien, Adrien, AND Adryn together. Come on, now...

April 11 - Oh gosh darn it. I switched shifts with another teacher today so she could do something she had to do, and one of the things she had listed on her circle time was "Stop, Drop, and Roll." I was elated--that's a super fun thing to teach!! The three- and four-year-olds and I had a fun time learning about it and practicing, but then I completely forgot to follow through after nap. Gaah.

April 25 - I put a coworker's class (3-year-olds) down for nap while she went on break. When she came back, she thanked me and told me she was in awe of how I can always get them all to sleep. She admitted that every day she hopes that it's me that comes in to give her her break. "I hope it's Holly, I hope it's Holly!" Hehe. ♥

April 25 - I suppose working at a daycare for one year and only being peed on once is a good ratio. [Thankfully it STAYED at that ratio, too!]

April 27 - On Friday, two wild rabbits found their way into the playground to eat grass in the rain right outside of the five-year-olds' window. We watched them for a long while, both before and after snack, observing as they ate and played. What an amazing opportunity! I'm so glad I could share this experience with the children.

May 17 - No matter how long one has done something, they still make mistakes. I must remember this when I have been a parent and a teacher for a long while. Despite my years of cat ownership and the endless pride I take in my knowledge of cat behavior and language, somehow, upon destroying my babies' world and uprooting them into a foreign universe, I only kept them to one safe room for an hour. We had to clean up cat poop and what may have been territory-marking spray. What's worse is the three terrified kitties I had to round up and comfort this morning. The kittens were still trembling when I had to leave for work. I put them all back in the safe room, cursing myself. I feel like a monster and a terrible mother. They are cats, and they will be fine. What's important to remember is that people make mistakes, despite how skilled they are in a matter. It's a lesson I'll carry with me. [Okay, so this isn't about my daycare job, but it's still an important occurrence  and I shared this lesson with the five-year-olds. It's sooo incredibly important to share with children honest, authentic stories about personal mistakes and learning.]

May 18 - Five-year-old girl, "She said my eyebrows are big."
Me, "That's okay, everyone is different. That's part of what makes us unique. Besides, my eyebrows are big, too, see?"
Her, "No they're not. They're little. And cute."
Me, "Oh.. well, thank you."
I should have replied that hers were cute, too, but the unexpected compliment took me off guard.

May 21 - Five-year-old boy 1: What that? *points to a container of Silly Putty*
Five-year-old boy 2: *Softly, sincerely, factually* It's a brain in an egg.

May 24 - Five-year-old boy 1: (Child 2), when I was four-- *realizes he's not paying attention* (Child 2)! Hey, (Child 2), when I was a hundred--
Five-year-old boy 2: *suddenly paying attention* You were NEVER a hundred!
Five-year-old boy 1: Oh. *Giggles and forgets what he was saying.*

May 29 - At the end of the day with only three children left at the center, the two older girls were playing "devil wolves," in which they developed and carried out an elaborate plan to kidnap everyone in the world and drown them in a lake, starting with the citizens of Ponyville.

June 6 - Today was such a wonderful day to take a class of five-year-olds out to play in the dirt and grass. I sat against the fence, one or two students sitting quietly next to me, watching the others play some distance away, while the wind kissed our sunscreen-coated skin and the clouds drifted slowly by. Tomorrow is my last day with these precious children. I'll miss them so.