Each week I have the pleasure of working with little children for about 50 hours a week. Currently the oldest of these children is my own 31 month old. All of the children and their parents are truly fabulous and they’re a delight to work with.
If my own little one and her big sister are included in the count, I currently have 9 children who come to my home weekly. Ever aware of my own limitations and legal issues, I never have that many all at once! Current Virginia law allows me to watch a certain number of children without my own children “counting” in their point system. I’ve heard rumors this might change and if it does, I’ll be rather put-out.
By May, the number of children will be at 10. One of the mothers in on the path to stay-at-home-mommy-hood but in her place, a boy will be returning with his new baby sister!!
I’ve have friends and strangers alike ask me, “How do you do it??” In an email just last night a neighbor said, “I saw you and your troops walking one afternoon and it made me laugh…looked like a well oiled machine…everyone holding someone’s hand and following you perfectly. I need to take lessons from you…I can’t keep my two in line!”
Comments like that really make my day because the work I do is hard but nobody really sees just what I do.
There are in my home ten things that I simply could not live without.
I take that back: I could live without them but I’d probably hate my job if I had to!
#1: By far the most useful thing I’ve purchased for my business in this little potty by Baby Bjorn. It’s small enough that as soon as an infant can self-sit, he can put his legs on the floor and balance on this while going without needing me to help him keep his balance.
Since I begin potty-awareness as soon as solid foods are introduced, this is a very important thing! Plus, I can put this in the van for the “Oh I’ve gotta go NOW!” moments the younger children sometimes have when we’re shopping.
#2: When our toilet seat broke I sent my husband to Home Depot to purchase a new one. My only two requirements were that it be elongated and white to fit our toilet. He saw this and purchased it without asking me about it first.
Best. Toilet Seat. Ever!!
No more of those gross padded toilet inserts so the little girls don’t fall in! This toilet seat insert is compact, all smooth lines for easy sanitizing, and hides itself within the lid automatically when the toilet seat shuts thanks to a nifty magnet.
It’s also a slow-closing lid so that fingers don’t get smashed and sleeping babies don’t get awoken by the smack of a falling toilet lid. It has a very small lip for little boys but I find they generally do better with a full straddle rather than a tuck ‘n duck.
#3: If you’ve ever had to shop for a baby and toddler things you know they can get pricey. From blankets to silverware to bibs: the price adds up fast! Rather than buying all those very necessary things, I’ve taken to making as many of them as I can by myself. I enjoy creating useful things with my sewing machines and since most of the things I sew are used for my business, if they aren’t perfect it’s okay.
To date I have sewn the following for my business:
- 2 nap time mat covers
- 6 oversized, absorbant, waterproof bibs
- 3 cloth pull-ups
- 4 nap time blankets
- 2 zippered bags for blocks
- a cinch sack for the stroller rain covers
- seat cover for the chair the booster seat sits on at the table
- 3 stroller blankets: basically a long sleeved, overly long A-line fleece dress with a slit for the stroller or car seat buckles to fit through.
- 2 double layer fleece hats
I use my machine often enough that it has a permanent place in my dining room.
#4: Truly, if you have more than one child sized coat, this is a very inexpensive thing to make life much easier! My coat rack sits right behind our door so it is completely out of the way. The hooks stand out just about the same distance as the door stopper. Only the bulkier coats, if there are quite a few of them, seem to affect how wide I can open the door.
The parents can take their child’s coat off right as they enter and put it on again right before they leave without trying to cram it in a tightly packed diaper bag. This also gives me quick and easy access to all the coats for our trips outside.
I hung this low enough that the taller children can even remove the coats themselves! So with the nifty coat-putting-on-technique my former daycare provider showed me, these children can get their coats and put them on by themselves before they are 2 years old.
#5: I realize that many people aren’t willing to make any attempts at plumping whatsoever. It can be intimidating, I know! We just installed a new toilet and a faucet this weekend and it took 3 trips to Home Depot before we were done . . .but that’s because I thought I had bought the wrong size connector hose for the toilet, bought a shorter one, then found out the original was the right size after all!
But really, it’s not hard to replace a faucet and this faucet is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Like many kitchen faucets, this one pulls out so that little fingers can reach! In the photo I have it pulled out ever so slightly so you can see the joint.
Our half-bath is small, so keeping a 2-step stool for little children to reach the faucet isn’t practical. I know they sell faucet extenders that look like cute little duckies, but guests use this too and I wanted to bathroom to maintain its more adult appearance.
I could easily pick the child up and bend them over the sink, but that doesn’t gel with my independence-teaching style of child-rearing. If the children are too short to reach the handles, I help them turn the water on and off and just hold the spout out for them to wash themselves.