If you have already heard me tell this story, my apologies. Due to recent events, I am addressing it again.
.:: Ten years ago I drove by a log home and fell in love. The log home was beautiful, and horses roamed about the property. Being a dreamer, I envisioned a life behind the doors and windows of the log home. In addition, I noted the playground and kids I would see on occasion. Though I had no kids at the time, I made a mental note of the log home, wondering if the owner had an in-home daycare.
Fast forward a few years, when my husband and I welcomed the birth of our first son. Initially, Joe stayed with our next door neighbor, while my husband and I went to work. I still passed the log home daily on my way to work. One morning, I noticed a sign in the yard of the log home. ‘Montessori Style Child Care, 3yr – Pre School, Space available.’
I knew it. I knew the log home was also an in-home daycare. And, I knew I wanted my son to be a part of that life. Though Joe was not yet the age listed on the sign, I still dialed the number to obtain more information. Happily, the woman was willing to consider caring for our 10 month old, so we scheduled a meeting with her.
I will never forget the first time I walked through the door of the log home – now referred to as the Log Lodge. I was overcome with a sense of peace. The demeanor of the woman, the atmosphere within the classroom, and the picturesque setting of their farm-like property was beautiful and peaceful. The woman, I’ll call her Beatrix Potter, spoke calmly and quietly. Though the voices in my head are rarely silenced, I found they, too, were mesmerized by the overwhelming peace this woman emulated. Rob, Joe and I fell in love with her instantly. We went home with the hope she liked us as much as we liked her.
Fast forward to today, our second child is finishing up his last year with Beatrix Potter. Both Joe and Charlie have each spent over four years in Beatrix’s care, and neither Rob nor I have any regrets.
This morning, when I dropped Charlie off at Beatrix’s house, she came out to our car with freshly made pancakes. It is, after all, Fun Friday. Beatrix always makes pancakes on Fun Friday. Why did she come out to our car with pancakes? Because she knew Joe would love to have a couple. And, with a smile on his face, Joe happily accepted the edible gift from her and uttered a quick “Thank you!”
As I drove away with Joe, now in Kindergarten, he asked, “When can I go back to visit Ms. Potter for the day?” I replied, “Well, Joe. Things have changed, and some of the Moms don’t like the big kids mingling with the little kids.” “Why not?” He asked. I did not have an answer.
In the good ol’ days, Joe would have been able to go back and visit pretty much any time he wanted to visit. Beatrix’s door was always open for her ‘graduates’. But, as the years have passed, new kids have arrived. And as new kids arrive, they bring their parents. And parents? Parents ruin everything.
Beatrix Potter has been taking care of kids in her home for nearly 20 yrs. In addition to caring for other kids, she has raised two of her own children, home schooling them for their first two years of school. Educating and caring for children is something Beatrix does well. In fact, I will go so far as to say Beatrix educates and cares for children better than most parents and teachers. Don’t believe me? Look at the children she has taught. Watching the children, brought up by Beatrix, interact with the world is an amazing thing to behold. All of the children are kind, considerate and helpful to anyone and everyone, regardless of age, size, type, etc. Moreover, the children genuinely care about and love each other.
Childcare is Beatrix’s business, and she knows how to manage her business in a way that fits her ideals, values, beliefs and lifestyle. And, her main goal is to run her business in the best interest of the children. The children. Not the parents. (It’s quite a concept, really.) And frankly, Beatrix’s business is run more like a Mom runs her family. There are no playbooks at Beatrix’s Log Lodge, just respect, both given and received.
Generally speaking, leaving your children with a childcare provider is a decision for which you have full control. You – the parent(s) – seek out and find what you consider to be the best place to leave your children for the day. Again, generally speaking, you are not forced to take your child(ren) to a predetermined daycare. Furthermore, with traditional daycare centers, there are policies and strict guidelines in place to keep the business running smoothly, as well as keeping the children safe. Daycare centers are all over the place. If you aren’t satisfied with one place, it is not hard to find other locations.
Those who choose to leave their kids with Beatrix know their kids are getting the absolute best childcare in the comfort of a home environment. And I repeat, I said ‘choose’. In my opinion, Beatrix provides the crème de la crème of in-home childcare. And, just as one would adhere to the policies and procedures of a traditional daycare center, shouldn’t one adhere to Ms. Potter’s polices and procedures, even if the policies and procedures are not filled with formalities and fine print? At what point does one parent have the right to change something that has been in place – well greased and well liked by all the other parents – for nearly 20yrs? If a parent is not happy with the environment, shouldn’t s/he then move along and find something s/he does like? Why must s/he feel the need to ruin it for the rest of the parents and perhaps the childcare provider as well? And, if I haven’t been clear enough – I am talking about one parent. One.
This is not a case of neglect, abuse or favoritism. In my opinion, this is a case of one controlling and dominating parent feeling the need to control and dominate the place she chose to take her children. My heart breaks for Beatrix, and my heart breaks for the children within Beatrix’s care. She has spent nearly 20yrs focusing on nothing but the best for the children – her children. I feel as though I am watching Beatrix get bullied and beaten by a Mom who doesn’t know how to grasp the concept of peace, tranquility and Kum’ba’ya. Goodness knows, those concepts have worked brilliantly well for all who have come along Beatrix’s path for nearly 20yrs.
With respect, I say to the Mom, “Please go find another sandbox to formalize, control, and sterilize. Your kids can stay in our sandbox, they understand and appreciate a sense of peace and tranquility. But you? You don’t get it. And, we don’t want what you are pushing on us. Thanks! Have a nice day.”
Be kind, and take care of yourself and each other.