Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Paradigm Gap

At an interview: Mother: How do you keep the toddlers apart from the babies? Me: I don't. Very pregnant pause. Mum had worked in daycares prior to her maternity leave. In daycare centres, the infants and toddlers are kept separate for the infants' protection. Since I run a daycare, she reasoned, I, too, should keep the toddlers separate. I explained that this is a home daycare, and that therefore it's organized more like a family. My explanation was met with rather stoney silence. I knew these people weren't going to decide to leave their child with me. I knew I didn't want them, anyway. So I damned the torpedoes and got a little pointed with them. "Do you plan on having more children?" "Yes." "And when will you have your next?" "When Jr. is about two and a half or three." "I see. And how will you keep them apart?" An even more pregnant pause. The interview ended shortly thereafter. Byeeee!


Blogger Candace said...


I *do* wonder, though, if she kept them apart.

Because you *know* she tried.

9/13/2005 04:07:00 p.m.  
Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

Heh heh. Yeah. I actually like seeing all the kids together now. Lauren loves how the older kids dote on her. The old HDL separated them (and all the babies still got RSV).

9/13/2005 04:21:00 p.m.  
Anonymous MIM said...

I just lock them up in separate playpens.

9/13/2005 04:39:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Misfit: I hope she does, and that her little boat soon grinds to a halt on the shoals of reality. I also hope that she learns that toddlers can be kind and empathetic - if a little clumsy!

What she was not seeing was that large group daycare is a particular situation, and that some of the patterns that evolve for it are not done because they're the best way, but because they're making the best of it. This would be a case in point. It's better if different ages learn to get along, to help each other out. We separate them only because such large groups makes it too difficult to supervise safely - NOT because it's best for the children's development.

crayonz: What's not to like, from Lauren's viewpoint?? Everybody loves me, which is as it should be...
And meantime the older kids are learning kindness and nurturning and patience. It's all good!

mim: LOL. Now I never use them except for sleeping. When my own were young, I use the playpens in reverse. I didn't put the infant in one to keep it contained, but put my own children, at four years old and up, into one so that they could play with their Lego while the lego-munching baby crawled around freely! (This was a playpen that sat right on the floor, so weight limits weren't a concern.)

9/13/2005 05:21:00 p.m.  
Blogger Barbara said...

What a strange question to ask at a home daycare! She obviously doesn't understand the dynamics.

9/13/2005 09:11:00 p.m.  
Blogger Haley said...

You didn't! I'm so impressed. I never would have had the guts to point out their stupidity. I would have just rolled my eyes and let it go, knowing full well it was over.

Honestly. Keeping children apart. How foolish.

9/13/2005 09:45:00 p.m.  
Blogger kimmyk said...

LOL! Good for you ! That was perfect!

9/13/2005 10:49:00 p.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Barbara: Obviously not. And, just as obviously, she assumed that the way it's done in large group care is the right and only way it should be done, not understanding that the way it's done in large group care is merely a concession to necessity. Second-best, in fact.

Haley: Foolish, indeed. What I didn't ask, but wanted to, was "What do you think will happen if they're left together? How savage do you imagine toddlers are, anyway?"

kimmyk: Thanks! She was very dour and unsmiling; her husband equally so - despite his charming Irish brogue! I didn't want them in my daycare, so I simply had no reason not to!

9/14/2005 07:29:00 a.m.  
Blogger Simon Peter said...

That's a riot!

At our house, some of the princesses best, and quietest, play is when they're playing together nicely.

One of their games that cracks me up is when they reverse roles and little sister plays the big sister and big sister plays the little sister. That's so funny, in a very cute way.

It had honestly never occured to me that one might keep them apart. Other than when princess number two was an infant and we made certain that princess number one understood the "never wake a sleeping baby" rule, we've never placed restrictions on them.

9/14/2005 07:51:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

My former MIL once very kindly took my two older children for a week, leaving me with the baby (then 15 months or so). The idea was to give me a break. It turned out to be no such thing: lacking her buit-in playmates, the very bored baby was suddenly tremendously demanding. It was with great relief I welcomed back the older two at the end of that very long week!

Children play so nicely when different ages mingle routinely. I think it's unfortunate that because they're age-segragated for so much of their lives, many children only want to play with kids their own ages. (Another advantage of home-schooling BTW.)

Playing with children older and younger than themselves teaches them patience, kindness, nurturing, gives them something to aspire to, challenges them. It's a good thing.

9/14/2005 01:34:00 p.m.  
Blogger Anon said...

Keeping them apart is easy, staple the left hand of each toddler to one corner of the room.


9/15/2005 05:40:00 a.m.  
Blogger Mary P. said...

Well, of course. I'm sure if I'd said that to those parents, they'd have been just fine with me! Silly of me not to have thought of it...

9/15/2005 06:18:00 a.m.  

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