I think I'm going to change the name of my childcare.
Den of Iniquity has a nice ring to it, don't you think?
The thing is, I'm tired of the charade.
What you see is what you get. You child is probably going to steal someone else's binky and suck on it. I don't disinfect the legos every day. My pancakes may be whole wheat, but I serve syrup with sugar in it. Unless your child is certifiably allergic to beef, I'm not going to freak out if they steal a piece of hamburger off another kid's plate and eat it. I probably won't even notice. And unless that mad cow epidemic you're worried about is breaking out, right now, you probably won't either. I don't have television; your children are going to actually play. They are going to get dirty. Your shoulder might get dirty if you arrive early and pick them up before I've hosed them off. They might eat some glue or taste the markers. They will use scissors. Other children will probably teach them to say things like Stupid and Retard. If you're lucky. I do my best to supervise things, but if they really want to be naughty, they are going to be naughty.
You have to realize we operate out of one big room. This is as supervised as it gets–there are no rooms or closets or nooks tucked away out of my sight. When they want to play hide and seek we have to turn off all the lights and shut the drapes because there aren't really any hiding places. I see almost everything that goes on. Almost.
So the other day, these two kids are being ultra sneaky.
I can tell they are watching me. They duck behind the curtains and I call them out. They try to sneak into the bathroom together when I turn to stir the eggs. I call, without even looking up."Only one at a time in the bathroom."
They hide behind the playpen together but the mesh sides aren't very concealing. And I keep looking at them.
They stand behind the rocking chair. Now here's a degree of privacy. As long as we can get the rest of the kids to leave us alone. So he tells his brother, hey, you want to play my DS? He offers everything. Reminds me of when my kids were little and I'd give them anything they wanted and more if they'd just let me have a two minute phone conversation in private.
Six and five. Boy, girl. I know what's going on. I think it's weird, because I don't remember liking boys at this age, and my kids haven't seemed to notice the opposite sex yet, but I'm pretty sure I know what they're doing.
What I should do is put them in time out, right now, I think. But they haven't actually done anything but be really chummy yet. Which is a nice change, actually, because usually he's teasing her to tears. So I'm standing there, thinking, does it really matter, really, if he gets her to kiss him? Besides, then I can put them in a good solid, deserved time out, right?
We have this rule that you only kiss people in your family, here. I don't care what you do at your house; in my house, you only kiss your parent or your siblings. On the cheek.
They know this. So if he does weasel a kiss out of her, what's the worst that can happen? I must admit, I'm a little amused by the whole thing.
The problem is, nobody will leave them alone. Brother keeps asking, how do I do this? Can I get to level nine if I do that? The sneaky pair keep dodging my raised eyebrow as I conveniently and frequently walk past. They know I'm on to them. It's become a challenge. I've laid down the gauntlet. We have to outwit daycare lady. Honestly, I think they'd been trying this for a couple of days, and never succeeded.
When I start pouring the pancake batter onto the griddle, they duck behind the chair. The door opens. Which is right beside the chair. In walks highstrung single mother of the year.
She comes directly to me. Did you know you have naked children behind the chair?
I come over. Sure enough, the five year old has taken her shirt off.
Mother of the Year scoops up her two year old from her chair at the table and hightails it out of this den of sin. Hired a private nanny, that night. Couldn't find any child care facilities with transparent furniture, I guess. I know kids will be curious, she says, but those kids are old enough to know better. My baby is just too vulnerable to be around children like that.
I have a six year old sex offender on the loose people! Take your kids and run!
Not that I wouldn't have been horrified maybe, if my only child were here, either. I don't know.
Here's what bothers me. That thought I had, way back there, when they were being sneaky, and I was pretty sure I knew what they were up to. Should I, at that point, have separated them? Innocent until proven guilty maybe doesn't apply to preschoolers. I probably should have distracted them with some other activity, right then and headed it off. Maybe I shouldn't have been watching out of the corner of my eye, amused, as the drama unfolded. Granted, I was thinking he was after more of a kiss on the cheek or something; I never dreamed it would occur to anyone to start disrobing.
I wouldn't have had to talk to parents. Mother of the Year would still be happy as a clam to bring her daughter here. Of course . . . then I'd still be filling out daily reports of what she ate and drank and did and read and didn't deposit in the toilet to keep maternal anxiety at bay.
Hmmmmm. Maybe I did the right thing, after all.