What do you do when you can't turn down the volume in your day? Really. I truly want to know your answer.
I run a daycare. I must have known that I would have 'days like this'. Why am I so shell shocked by yesterday?
Because I was told, "NO MORE NAPS" for my Wild Child. I have no idea what expression my face contorted to when this mother told me this mere seconds after she walked in the door. But it couldn't have been pretty.
This child is a wild one. The more tired he gets, the wilder he gets. He will stand up and simply scream a mixture of consonants and vowels that nowhere nearly resemble any word within our language. Then bursts of energy explode within him. I swear that he does these things uncontrollably in an effort to keep himself awake.
And I have an epidemic of children-copying-each-other going on here. Need I say more?
Our Monday usually starts off like a picture postcard. Kids come in and slowly discover the new toys I have brought out for the new week. There is a gentle segue into the week ahead of us. I sit back. I take pictures. I breathe deeply knowing the moment won't last. But I savor those moments for as long as I have them.
There was NO peace. Not from the moment go. Wild Child started running and screaming the moment he walked in the door and started leading the others down a terribly steep and slippery slope. And it was not yet 8:00 a.m.
I gathered them for breakfast. That helped. But not much. And not for long.
I sat down on the floor with them and I 'led them in play' with a new educational toy about letters. I lost them after ... no. I didn't lose them. I never really had them to begin with. But we sat down and sang about six letters.
I have been working on an alphabet book for them and had several pictures with things that begin with the letter "A" for them to cut out. The scissors held great fascination. I lost the two-year-old at 'hello'. The four-year-old was intrigued and had the attitude of never giving up. The three-year-old Wild Child cut his paper into tiny smithereens (I guess I should have warned his mother about this at the day's end but the ringing in my ears had not yet stopped from his incessant screams so I forgot. I hope he didn't cut his mom's hair last night).
Then we read "The A Book". They were so far gone by this time that I knew I was singing to the choir.
So we went outside. I thought that it was warmer than it actually was. The wind chill was c-c-c-cold! I accidentally froze them into submission for as long as our walk lasted. I enjoyed this in a frigid and cold sort of way ...
We came back inside and I turned on "Max and Ruby". Ahhh. The combination of thawing out and the mesmerizing effect of the TV was a winner. I had exactly ... ten minutes or less to savor this first voluntary moment of calmness within our day.
And it was only 10:30.
It was the longest day in my history of babysitting. I survived. The children survived. But I was such a wreck at the day's end, that I turned off all of the lights (including the Christmas lights) upstairs and retreated into the quietest, most secluded corner in the house.
The only reason we all made it through the day intact is because I laid the Wild Child down for a nap. I didn't let him sleep long. He woke up in the same agitated over-the-top obnoxious mood that he was in before he went to sleep (still tired, obviously). But I had one and a half hours of complete quiet. I couldn't even enjoy it because I knew that it was not what this mother had instructed me to do.
I may have to 'quit' this child. He is beyond my reach. I have taken care of him for fifteen months of his forty one months of living. One third of his life. And I have made no headway with this situation that I recognized long ago. It has gone from bad to worse.
I have no choice but to try this all over again today. I will see how it goes. But you can be certain that a conversation with the mother is formulating in my mind. I can't go on like this (to make matters worse, this is the same mom that is habitually a half hour to one and a half hours late - with no phone call). My solution is sounding easier by the moment.
Sorry about the rant. Sometimes my answers come to me when I write. So I wrote. I still don't know my answer because I don't like to give up on children. But I have to be working together on this, with the parent. Therein lies my answer ...
We are in on this together or you are on your own. When it comes to relationships of any kind, this has been my final answer. I am a three strikes, you are out kind-of-girl.