Any accepting, or even choosing, art or literature of a lower standard, as good enough for children, is a disastrous and costly mistake. -- Arthur Rackham

Joyful Noise Day Care

I currentlyhave no openings, and at this time I have discontinued my waiting list.   Great Start Connect is an online data base for help in finding providers.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

My last post sparked some conversation; not from providers as I had hoped, but from retired licensing consultants!   Let me be perfectly clear; if and when I muse or complain about our rules, I'm not complining about those who must enforce them.   Licensing consultants are one of the few grown ups that I get to talk to during my work day that understand the finer points of my career.   They understand the overwhelming liability I carry for these children, and the complexity of running a business in a home where I both prepare food and handle bodily waste within several feet of each other.   They realize the amount of record keeping I must do in case of an accident and lawsuit.   I see them as a legal resource, technical advisor and sounding board.   If I could give them tea and cookies when they come for their annual visit, I would.   But they can't accept anything from me, not even that.   I'm not trying to be teacher's pet here.   I know some consultants are difficult and some people have had serious problems with them.   But not me.

But, there is one thing about that annual visit that I would change if I could.   It's a surprise visit.   Unannounced, unscheduled.   A necessary evil for sure.   What good is an inspection if you know the day and time it's coming, right?

We DO have some idea of when: every two years at license renewal time and about the same time of year at the interim.   So now, my license expires next week.   My fee has been paid, all the paperwork required for renewal has been sent in.   She could show up any time.   I've been saying that for weeks now.   Every car that slows down in front of the house gives me pause.

I'm not worried about the inspection itself.   Licensing is not out to shut down providers like me who do their best.   If I'm out of compliance I want to know and she'll tell me what to do to fix it and I will and all's well.   But what that takes to look at all my paperwork and the whole house is about two hours of my time.

Consultants are sensitive to the rhythms of my day, but the truth is, I have very little spare time.   They are aware that while they're here we will be interrupted and that I'm still working.   They can't inspect if no children are here.   In fact, if I have to change diapers in front of them they get to see in action that I follow the stringent diapering regulations.   But there is really no good time for me to drop almost everything to focus on another grown up.   I've had them show up at breakfast time (greeting families, food prep and clean up, surprise diapering,) mid-morning (diapering, outdoor play or special indoor activities,) late morning (lunch prep,) and nap time (best time but it often wakes the children.)

By the time nap time is over I can be pretty sure they won't show, so the suspense is postponed for the next day, until the glorious day when she knocks at my front door!   ( I wrote this before work this morning.   Guess who showed up today?   Yipeee!)

How do you feel about surprises, suspense, inspections and interruptions at work?

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

"You are not behind!  I don't want you to try to catch up; I just want you to jump in where we are.   O.K.?" Marla Cilley, a.k.a. The Fly Lady

To go out or stay in is the daily question in every season, especially winter.  Licensing says just do it, every day, except of course in extreme weather.   But extreme for a one year old is tolerable for a four year old.   So many factors go into the decision.   Does everyone have their outerwear?   If not, I have some spares but are the the right size?   Does anyone have a budding illness?   Sure, a recent "study"says going out in the cold doesn't make you sick.   But if you have a small ear ache, cold wind in the ear can definitely make it hurt worse.   We don't need a study to tell us that.   And for people who do not yet have the skill of blowing their nose, creating extra mucus by going out and in may be the tipping point that plugs those ears up even more.

Last year my yard developed an ice crust on the top that even the four legged dog could barely balance on.   The children still learning to walk slipped often, their faces coming perilously close to jagged ice made by footprints before them.   Licensing told me I could take them out on my porch for their daily dose of frigid fresh air, but don't they get quite enough of that just getting themselves here and home?   Don't tell me vitamin D is needed.   As bundled as they are and as low as the sun is here, they get more D sitting by the window indoors.

My current group is fragile, with the youngest no yet walking and only one with the maturity to be out without my eyes on them at all times.   So this is the 2019/2020 policy here:

  • With 45 minutes being the amount of time needed to get ready, did everyone arrive early enough to get out, play and get in before it's time to prepare lunch?
  • Does everyone have hear that fits, either mine or theirs?
  • Is the wind chill temperature above 15 degrees?   After researching, this seems the safest benchmark for infants and toddlers.
  • Is everyone is relatively good health?   (One licensing worker has told me that if they're not well enough to go out they shouldn't be here.   I disagree and nothing in the regulations says that I'm not allowed to care for ill children.   In fact some providers only care for children too ill to go to school. )

So today, though sunny, it was 15° with the wind chill and one child forgot their gear, so we stayed in.

Other home based providers who work alone, what are your outdoor policies and how does the age group that you care for determine your policy?

Sunday, February 3, 2019

This has been a productive weekend!   I've updated a few pages on the website, sanded a bit more of the bathroom walls in preparation for painting, found out what was in the LAST mystery box in the basement-workshop-man-cave and hauled one more bag of stuff from there to the recycle bin.   Also I made cookie dough for Wim's birthday tomorrow (his request, to go with popsicles,) shoveled slop off the steps, tidied up the floors and researched some activities.   That, along with the regular bookkeeping, laundry, visit to my mother-in-law, hunting and gathering and the time is magically gone.

This coming week looks to be another mixed bag of Michigan weather so be sure to bring the snowpants and boots; we'll see if the morning temperatures allow us to use them.   As of today the back yard is a beautiful wonderland of sparkling slush just waiting for some foot prints!   We have Wim's fifth birthday to celebrate on Monday and we'll see if the freezing rain brings us more snow days and school kids to play with later in the week.   I've added some new vacation days in spring to the calendar page and more to come as family weighs in with their schedules.

So, though this is short, it's better than nothing, but now I need to go put my feet up and relax becuase tomorrow will be here before we know it.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

I wish I could bring to this blog the magical blessedness of the children playing here in the backyard on this late June morning.   The day is the perfect temperature so we can go barefoot but don't have to sweat or spray ourselves with water to stay cool.   The leaves are all out on the trees and bushes so there are plenty of shady places to rest and hide. Mulberries are falling into the sandbox which sparks their creativity:   gather, collect, bargain, cook and then abandon them for Toby to find later when they're all napping.   One game flows into another, involving politics and negotiations worthy of the U.N. with as many differnt versions of the English language.   All amid a backdrop of pink roses and sweet peas, purple spiderwort, yellow dandilion and multicolored snapdragons that the children planted last week.   Birds are constantly chirping and zooming through the scene, bugs are busy being interesting and butterflies punctuate the view.

These are the idyllic days that, while they may not remember when they are grown, I hope are imprinting on their hearts to build a foundation of joy, peace, beauty, creativity, secutiy and awe.   A big hope, but somehow I think, a realistic one.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

After ignoring the weblog for over a year, my first temptation is to avoid the embarrassment of picking up again and just take it down, but that's just not right.   The truth is, that adjusting to being single again is a process of reinventing my whole life, and figuring out what needs to go, what needs to stay and what needs to get repaired or remodeled!   I think the website needs to stay, but time management has been getting repaired and remodeled, as all the chores become mine to do or delegate and I wrestle with the ubiquitous challenge that all self-employed people have of finding a balance between work and rest.   So, here I am, back again, resolved to blog on a more regular basis.   Whatever that means, it will mean entries closer together than this and the last one!

One of the things that makes it easier to ignore the weblog is the exsistence of the Joyful Noise Facebook page.   It's quicker for me to post current photos, comments and updates there so always keep an eye on that for the absolute latest.   This will be reserved for rambling, rants and more detailed requests of the daycare family and those who are interested in what our little life is like here.   You may think that now that I have a puppy I'm delusional when I expect to have MORE time to blog than before, but you would be forgetting that with a puppy here I'm much more likely to stay home, since now there's someone here who's so fun to hang out with.   So we'll see if he turns out to be inspiration or distraction as he keeps me from wandering too far or too long.

This last weekend was Poet's Night Out, a community poetry contest sposored by our library that I judge every year.   On Sunday we held a five hour writing workshop for the winners followed by an evening performance of their poetry (and mine and the other judge's) at the Opera House.   It's a wonderful event but a long day for me which is why I need the Monday off afterward to recoup.   I have to be at my best to be responsible for the lives of your little ones and after a day like that I'm still in a haze.   However, on that day off I did try to help our planning commission sort out the details of the Special Land Use Permit (SLUP) that they require Group Child Care Homes like me to obtain.   Currently they're reassessing the need for this requirement and of course I have an opinion which has been no secret over the years.   Part of caring for children is advocating for them and for child care regulations, which is difficult to say the least.   However the city employees were grateful for my help in locating the latest amendment to the SLUP and one commissioner thanked me for my letter.   We'll see in May if it makes any difference.

So, short and sweet is another key to more regular blog entries.   Besides the blog, I'll be trying to dust off the forgotten corners of the website and get back to posting recipes again.   Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

So, since I last wrote we DID get the new roof, back in October.   I can definitely feel the difference, and as we get into the colder months of winter now we'll see how much of a difference there is in our fuel costs.   We've sailed into and out of the holiday months and now into our new year.   Winter is solidly upon us and everyone has been really great about bringing outer wear on the appropriate days.   As we've discussed every other year, my policy is to keep the children in when the thermometer says 20° or below.   The older children are allowed to go out if they want, but anyone who is still in diapers does not have that option.   Their communication skills aren't developed enough to let me know how cold their fingers and toes are and the air is just too frigid to risk hurting their sensitive skin.   However, on the warmer days, we herd ourselves out there and I do my best to get all their hats and gloves and snowpants sorted back into the right cubbies when we come in.   Writing names or at least initials on the clothing helps a LOT!

One more bit of winter business we need to discuss is loading and unloading your children from vehicles.   Snowbanks, snow plows and darkness make this much more inconvienent and in many cases extremely hazardous so extra caution is essential.   Of course, pulling into the driveway is the safest spot, but if someone is already occupying that space please do not block them in.   You may think that you can drop off quick enough to let them out but the unforeseen usually happens when trying to say good-bye to preschoolers and they may be just one foot out the door and late for work.   Also, as discussed in the handbook, while a short good-bye is fine, tossing your child over the threshold and running back out again isn't really the ideal parting that you want to strive for.   So be sure to park safely, legally and with consideration to other parents.   That means that you may have to park in the street and if you don't want to trudge into the snowbanks, you may have to unload your child on the driver's side of the vehicle.   Please use extreme caution.   Also, remember that most of the children here are perfectly capable of walking from the car to the door themselves.   On icy streets and sidewalks, if you are holding tight to their hands, this is much safer than being carried, especially if Mom or Dad has decided to wear their high heels or slippery office shoes instead of boots.

Always, PLEASE, keep a watch out for plows. They come down the streets and sidewalks very fast and the heavy machinery is hard to steer and stop.   They often cannot see well through their steamy or frosty windows.   This also includes the plows that are working in and out of driveways in the neighborhoods, especially mine.   If there is a small plow working in or around my driveway or the ones directly across the street from me, please park with enough clearance so he can safely move in and around his work area.   (The same man does all three of us.)   Do not park in my driveway, across the mouth of my driveway or directly on either side of my drive or the ones he is working on across the street.   You will not only impede his ability to do his job, but you'll be endangering your life and the life of your child.   Also, you may get a dent in your vehicle!   I realize that with the icy roads some of you are late for work, but parking in the path of a moving plow is not a good way to make up for lost time.

My next job is to get all your year end statements ready and delivered to you while I get my own tax forms in ship shape for my appointment in two weeks.   The end of the year brings lots of new paperwork and inspections, so there will also be state paperwork to update in the next week or two.   In the meantime, the children told me to write "We Love Winter" on our little front porch chalkboard, they are so happy for all that new play stuff in the back yard.   We'll be enjoying it as much as we can before it's gone!

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