Monday, July 19, 2010

(Gran) "Daddy Daycare"

We've had a lot of fun with our grandchildren over the years. This picture from the summer of 1990 (20 years ago!!) shows Grandpa Bud watching over Alyssa in the wading pool at Legion Park near our home in West Des Moines. Katrina is in her purple bathing suit looking to see what her little sister is up to while Zach is in the figured white trunks in the background, merrily splashing away.
I'll always be grateful for days like these spent with my grandchildren as they grew up. I'm so lucky we lived near them.

Now we have great-grandchildren to enjoy. And although we probably won't be as much a part of their lives as we were the grand kids, it will still be fun and memorable to be around them.
In this picture, cousins, Ridge (Brock's son) and Rodney (Katrina's son), are playing at our home last Saturday - looks like they are wrestling.
The subject of day care came up while they were here. I don't know what the statistics are, but I'm sure almost all children now spend at least some time in the care of others while their parents earn a living. My generation was probably the last one to be raised by a mother who did not work outside the home.
I was lucky when Doug was little and I went back to work because my Mom was willing to take care of him. I did not have to worry about him during the day while I was at the office. I knew he was in good hands. He did occasionally stay at Marilyn Mitchell's and Carolyn Dixon's. In both those homes he had other little kids to learn to get along with.
By the time I moved to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, Doug was in kindergarten. I've forgotten the name of the family he stayed with after school, but remember they had a boy his age. And the family that he stayed with the two evenings a week while I took college courses in Cedar Rapids doted on him - they had four girls and were happy to have a little boy around.
Finding reliable day care for Kari and Preston was a little more difficult. I didn't know anyone in West Des Moines. It was a case of picking someone out of the ads. Some of them didn't last too long. When Kari was a toddler, I picked her up after work one day and the woman was so apologetic because her little boy had bitten Kari. O.K. - that can happen. But when it happened again, I looked for someone new to watch her. And got really lucky - the principal at Denny's school had a next door neighbor who wanted to do day care. Shirley was just the opposite of the previous woman - she did too good a job. Kari became a part of the Water's family. I remember the night I went to pick her up after work and she cried because she wanted to stay with Shirley instead of going home with me! Then I cried. I was devastated.
When I had Preston, Shirley didn't want to take care of two, so I was searching again. The woman I picked out - again from an ad in the shopper - was young with two little ones of her own. She didn't have a phone so I couldn't call her during the day to see how things were going. When Kari started talking about going to another house during the day, I began to wonder what was going on. I learned that the day care provider was leaving my children and hers with someone else while she did what?? I never did find out.
Luck was with me again when I found Marianne Bradley in Urbandale. She was a single mother with a son between the ages of Kari & Preston. In order to stay home with him she started a day-care business. She had a large number of kids, but she was organized and set up to care for them. The downstairs of her split level home had a large, well-stocked play room and a separate room with cots for nap time. Her back yard was fenced. Marianne became a friend as well as my kid's day care provider.
I hope Ridge & Rodney's parents are able to find competent and caring providers for them while they are working. It's hard enough having to leave them with someone else. Knowing they are well cared for can make it a little easier to leave them.

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