Wednesday, October 7, 2009


Watching a child's self-esteem grow right along with them is a most rewarding experience. One of the things I like to achieve in my child care home is helping the kids to discover their self-worth. It's a goal with every child that comes through my door. What an important time in life to begin learning that you are important. You are loved. You can do anything. You are special. Reminds me of a Barney song! Come on, you know you want to. Sing a verse. I won't tell.

Some children struggle with this more than others. These are the ones that usually try to hide a mistake, hang their heads; even at age three, or aren't quick to give out answers because they may be wrong. What a sad sight. Children so young shouldn't feel insecure. My work is cut out with these kids. I love praising them and giving them positives and watching their sense of accomplishment after a craft. I believe God has put this kind of child in my home for a reason. I can love them right through Him and I don't know any better kind of love.

Other children must have been born with value because there is nothing to teach them about feeling good about themselves. They already do! You know the ones I'm talking about.

We were getting ready for lunch to start the other day. The children had all been seated and were waiting, as patiently as children do, for their food. I was plating our well-rounded, cover the pyramid in all the right portions meal when out of nowhere A* holds up his index finger and formally declares, "Miss Sheri, I'm awesome!"

In my amazed, cheerful and most whimsical voice, (and knowing he wouldn't have a clue what the words meant as long as the voice was positive) I replied, "And you certainly don't have an ego problem either, do you?"

A* put on his biggest, grandest smile, puffed out his chest and proudly stated, "NO, I'm GREAT! In fact, I'm good at everything."

Don't you wish all children entered their schooling years feeling such empowerment? Oh, that they could get all the way through their education with a high self-esteem. Just think of the impact on our crazy world.

So as I get through the rest of my day with a little warm fuzzy smile because A* knows he is awesome; here's hoping the rest of you feel just a little bit awesome yourselves!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I've never been much of a fan of nicknames, but lately they have been on my mind. And here's why. You see, I'm getting up there in years. In addition to getting older, all three of my children are grown and away from the house. One is in college, one is married, and one I'm guessing will be married by this time next year. As goes the proper sequencing of life, I can only assume that one day, hopefully not very soon, I will be a grandmother.

Am I ready? With fear of sounding too positive or anxious, because I definitely don't want it coming too soon, yes I think I am ready. Which brings me to my problem. What do I want to be called?

Like I've said, I'm really not crazy about nicknames. When I was pregnant with my first child, my father-in-law had already chosen the nickname "scooter" for this baby. Can I just say, for the record, I did NOT want my absolutely beautiful (because I knew he would be) brand new baby being referred to as a scooter! I was horrified! When he was born, guess what happened? That's right! I loved my father-in-law but he called my son scooter! Oh my gosh! I absolutely had to stop this in its tracks! I have no memory of how this happened but we must have been successful because my baby was no longer a scooter and the next two babies were not graced with such an experience. Or should I say, such nicknames!

I realize I'm way off track, but I wonder if you might think me crazy to learn that my husband and I had our own little nicknames for the kids. Something about them being yours must make this okay, right? He called our beautiful daughter; you guessed it, "beautiful." And she will always, always be my "bunny-boo," but I don't know why. My husband called the boys "tiger" and "buffalo" when they were young. I never nicknamed the boys. I must have been afraid of a scooter tumbling recklessly from my mouth.

Back to my dilemma. Doing child care for all these years, I've heard my share of nicknames for the grandparents. The men have been Grandaddy, Pops, PawPaw, and Grandpa. Of course I'll leave this choice up to my husband. For those of you that know me all-too-well, you also know he'll choose something I like, right! Yes indeed! He came from a line of "Papaws." Don't confuse this with PawPaw. PawPaw I can handle, but Papaw . . . I just don't know. Pronounced papaw (like pap) and all of us girls hate anything that comes remotely close to mentioning that dreadful word! But, yes honey! You can choose (carefully) what you want the grandkids to call you!

As women, I think we take this much more seriously. We want an endearing name. We want one that reflects our personality. We want our dear grandchildren to think fondly and only of us when they hear it. Why is there always so much more for us, as women, to think about? So I must come up with something perfect for me. In my child care and other places, I've heard Meemaw, Gran, Granny, Grandma, Granmommy, and Nana to name a few.

I can honestly say I've never wanted to be a Granny. Although a good friend is probably the best granny you'd ever want to have. And when a dear friend of mine had her first child, I fondly remember her very proper mother telling me that they were going to be called "grandmother" and "grandfather." I often wonder if that played out. We'll have to ask her. She's an artist who referred many of you to my blog so I'll bet she's reading and will give us an answer.

My favorite story, though, about names for grandmothers comes from a little girl at my child care home who had a Nana. She loved and adored her Nana. Each day at pick-up time she would run to the door, very glad to see her, and exclaim, "Hi Nana!" One day another little girl was involved in this interaction. This is how it went.

A* exclaimed, "Hi Nana!" which was evidently puzzling to the other little girl.

M* looked at me quite quizically and then looked at Nana, and finally at A*. Once they were out the door and on their way home, M* looked at me again with that ever-so-baffled look; and asked "Why does she call her grandma a banana?"

And, as you've heard me say before, this is the point I hide those rising chuckles. Yes, nicknames (specifically for grandmothers) have been on my mind. I hopefully have a minimum of five years to figure this out; and with optimism I consider closer to ten. I'll keep pondering. Give me your ideas and your favorites! I might just find one I like. In the meantime, I know I can eliminate Granny. And, I'm practically positive I DON'T want to be a Banana!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

All-Star Wrestler

In my business, parents are the ones to beware! I've always said there's not a toddler out there that I can't love. But the parents? We interview for parents to become clients, not children. The children are just an added bonus! Actually God has given me a spirit of love, so I've been blessed to have wondeful relationships with my parents. And I've made some life-long friends too. But I'll be the first to admit, parents can be funny. And sometimes my head just shakes while I ponder . . . what were they thinking? And let me just add right now, for the record. I've spent much time shaking my head over some of my own parenting choices. Haven't we all? The stories I could share. But let's get back on track here.

I had a dad once who didn't get his boy until the third try. And he obviously couldn't wait to share his manly-man joys and activities with his little guy. By the way of a side note to all you parents out there. You can't hide anything; there is really no point in even trying. The children reveal it all while at day care! Sometimes good. Sometimes naughty. Sometimes sad. Sometimes funny. I'll be sure to share some of these stories on later blogs.

But getting back to our guys' manly-man activities. K* was a wonderful three year old who came to my home with one of his older sisters. As sweet as he was though, you never knew what to expect from him. What he might do. What he might say. At the beginning of one day care week, while the kids were busy playing, K* proceded to climb up on the couch. I watched with my provider eyes to see what he was going to do next. And it all happened at once.

He started to stand on the couch. Just as he began standing, I was saying, "K* remember we don't stand on the furniture. Couches are for sitting." Of course, as you might suspect, I didn't get that whole sentence out of my mouth. K* was up on the couch, standing on the edge. Then he jumped off (fortunately missing any other children) and shouted, "BODY SLAM!" At first I wasn't quite sure what he had said and wondered what in the world he was doing. But as the week went on and K* continued this reckless activity, I quickly figured it out. Over the next couple of days in the midst of normal activity, I would hear K*'s voice, "BODY SLAM." Now I might just add that K*'s intent was not to miss the other children. He wanted to land on them but fortunately his timing was a little off. Of course, as we are all aware, practice makes perfect!

Each time, the behavior was disciplined. But when it didn't slow down, it became time for intervention. Dad rarely came to the house for drop-off or pick-up of the kids, so I asked mom one day, "Does dad watch all-star wrestling with K*?"

Trying to hide her exasperation she responded, "Oh yes. K*, dad, uncle, all hollering together in the front room. Every weekend."

As I went on to tell her the daily activity of her own little all-star, she was horrified. We both shook our heads, but we both got quite a chuckle too. It really was funny. So I, in my firm provider manner, told her K* was not allowed to watch All Star Wrestling with dad any more. He clearly was not old enough to understand and separate deceptive acts from reality. Until he was, K* needed to stop watching.

And they did stop allowing him to see this crazy activity. Thankfully no children were hurt but I shook my head and pondered . . . What were they thinking?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Something New

It's been 18 years since I first opened my in-home child care business. So many things have happened during this time. I'm quite sure I've experienced every emotion there is. I've cried and I've laughed. I always thought the child caring experience would make a terrific book, but who has time to write? I'm running after kids all day! Although writing a book is on my "bucket list." And I have in fact written a children's book that I would love to have published. All I need is an illustrator. Visions from my head absolutely do not make it to paper. Not my thing. But oh, how I've gotten off the topic.

Another thing I've always wanted to try is writing a blog. This is a definite first for me and I'm not terribly sure where to start. Who would possibly want to read this stuff anyway? Perhaps my family. Maybe some other providers out there who just need a story in the middle of their day. Who knows? I suppose I'll begin by just writing for myself.

I have so many stories. Someday I may go back and recap some from the past. But for now, here's what happened yesterday.

The kids were spinning in the living room. This was after preschool time and while they were waiting for me to get lunch on the table. Kids love to spin. There was a time I thought getting dizzy was fun. I used to be a great amusement park guest. However, three pregnancies took care of that. I can no longer get dizzy! urp

Anyway (off track again) the kids were spinning. A* came running into the kitchen and had his hand covering his privates. He asks, "What is this thing called that is next to my penis?"

Quizically and cautiously I replied in a questioning manner, "A testicle?"

"Yeah, that's it. Well I need to rest because it got crunched."

At this point in any exchange, I typically find myself holding back the giggles that are lurking behind my smile. And so I replied to A*, "You're right. You should probably take a rest."

He didn't. I think he just wanted me to know. He ran right back out of the kitchen and proceded to continue spinning.