I hope my epitaph reads, “Brilliant wife, mother and nana. Friend to all and loved by all who knew her.” In actuality it will probably say, “Fun, with a little sprinkle of crazy. Spent her life surrounded by tiny humans.” I’ve always been a “kid” person. When I was barely more than a child myself, I started babysitting for people in my church. My first real job was leading a summer playground group for elementary students. My first grown-up job was as a licensing agent for home daycare providers on our military base. I still rock babies in the church nursery and I’m also rocking the whole grandma thing now.
I know a few things about kids. First, I know that there’s no issue you have with your kids that someone else hasn’t already had with theirs. When my younger son was 3, he stuck a broken piece from a Matchbox car up his nose. Alllllll the way up his nose. So far up his nose that we had to go to the emergency room to get it extracted. All the way down the highway my husband and I argued about which one of us had to tell the receptionist why we were there. It was going to be so embarrassing! I finally drew the short straw and plodded toward the desk cringing at the words I was going to have to say. With a beet red face I blurted out our problem and the receptionist barely looked up from her paperwork as she said, “Oh yeah….third one today.”
Second, I know that every child is different and what works for every other Pinterest mother might not work for you. Sometimes you have to just keep throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks. Our son (yes, the younger one—are you starting to get a picture of him yet?) was a world class fit thrower. His temper tantrums were legendary. For him, the terrible twos started at 18 months and ended somewhere around 4 years old. I had tried many different methods of dealing with this behavior, but one night I’d had enough and put him to bed at 7:00 to save my own sanity. The next morning, a different kid rolled down those stairs. A light dawned on me and I actually heard angels singing. For two and a half years I had been doing battle with a kid who was tired. He didn’t ACT tired and he was able to sleep until he woke up on his own, but he most certainly needed more sleep. That act of desperation was the answer I had been looking for but I was looking in all the wrong places.
In the 30 years I’ve worked in the field of child care and preschool, I’ve learned a few things. Maybe some of those things will help you as you navigate the murky waters of parenthood. Maybe you’ll teach me some new things as you comment about what I write. Either way, I hope we can be friends. I’m still gunning for that “Friend to all and loved by all who knew her” thing, but if I miss that mark, I can guarantee that I’ll hit the “Fun, with a little sprinkle of crazy” head on.
Hi! I'm Janet and I've been the Director of the Before and After School and Smart Start Preschool Programs at the Troy Rec since 1994. My hubby and I have been married 30 years and we have two grown sons. Each of them is married and blessing us with grandchildren left and right. Life is good even when the nest is empty!