Activities & Milestones…

More often than not my boss is right on track. Once in a while I’m left scratching my head, but not too often. Basically, she’s got a lot on her plate and usually rises to the occasion. She has a lot of love and empathy for all of our children and it shows in how she treats them. Even the kid (not one of our babies, but much older) misbehaving in the lunchroom. Well, bless his heart.

This is our dining area lunch table. Yes, it’s that low…

I don’t know if she was purposely looking for something or stumbled upon a program she brought to our attention this spring. A new way of tracking what we do to and with every baby in our care during the day. Our old way was a printed sheet of paper. Parents filled out their baby’s name, the date, how their baby fared during the night and the last time they ate (the baby, we do not care when mom and dad last partook). These were the top 3 lines. The rest of the sheet was divided in 2 sections with several columns. First, eating and diaper changing took up about 8 lines. We noted the time, if it was solid food, a bottle, wet or poopy diaper. Then scribbled our initials in the last column. There was a space for a comment in case he refused food, ate half, fussed for more, or had a red hiney that required diaper cream after a diaper change. The last small section was on when and how long they slept during naps. 

Enter the new program designed to simplify our lives on how we track our babes throughout the day. (This geriatric dinosaur has so many issues with change that requires brain power). Tracy brought in a laptop for us to use. I’ve not used a computer since I got my first iPad over 6 years ago. Normally I’m the one who opens most mornings, thus it’s my job to get the computer out, plug it in and set it up for the day. I did not remember how to turn on a computer. Michelle had to show me. Several times. Slowly. The laptop had no mouse. I can’t do that whole hocus-pocus thingy with my finger. (My index finger, come on, get serious) Ninfa brought in a mouse from home. (I tell you I’m more work than I’m worth). Luckily the babies love me, or I’d be no use to anyone around here. 

Part of our younger baby section…

I had hoped to get rid of our ginormous dry erase board once this Neanderthal learned the computer ropes, but it’s still needed for timing diaper changes and food/bottles. Three columns, starting with their name, when their diaper is due to be changed, plus the next approximate feeding time, whether it’s a bottle or food. We find some babies can go a bit longer than their schedule, others need their food or bottle several minutes before. Kind of a loosely timed demand schedule I guess. We’re not going to let a four month old cry very long before we get his bottle. They fidget, suck their fingers, complain and you just know they ready to eat. The bigger kids tend to congregate by the kitchen gate, trying to hunt you down as you pass by (often to get that complaining little one his bottle). They all have their own tell. Little shyster card sharks. 

On the new computer program all of our babies names are on top. You click on their name, scroll (yes, I can scroll) down to the appropriate category (there’s a whole lot of them) but usually only the top few are most frequently used. Solid food, bottle, sleep, diaper, cup, incident report, or activity. The activity button includes things like tummy time, playing with others, going outdoors, art project, or the category I use everyday, brushing their teeth. I remind them as they’re finishing a meal it’s dental hygiene week (dental hygiene week is every week, the toddlers just haven’t called me on it-yet) and I’ve set the timer for 90 seconds of rigorous brushing, which usually garners me some blank stares or a waving of their hands with a yada-yada-yada. Although they tend to get excited when I bring them their tooth brush and sing the song about brushing. And unless I’ve cleared their table or tray tops, you’d be surprised how many brush for 30 seconds, fling that sucker across the room, and go right back to eating, after they solemnly swore they were “all done.” They are not to be fully trusted where food is involved. It’s a learning process for them and me. If I don’t get sidetracked, we brush after breakfast, but there have been days when it’s during a lull in the morning (a lull lasts approximately 38 seconds) or after lunch if they’re not too tired. 

Scary, but the bigger kids love this thing. Steps and a slide…

The keyboard has been my biggest stumbling block. At home I use an iPad mini. Phones have grown to the same approximate size. Keyboard letters are very close together. You know how wordy I tend to be? So I want to add a note to some things I accomplished with their little one. “He loved his Mac and cheese, but I made the mistake of mixing in his veggie. Although he loved the broccoli yesterday, he managed to maneuver every single piece of cauliflower back out of his mouth today. Amazing to watch really.” Try typing that when the keyboard letters are about a mile and a half apart. Mistake is my middle name. And I’m anal about mistakes. So this takes me a LONG TIME. The rest of the girls waltz up there and are gone in like 30 seconds. Saying the same darn thing! But I think it’s those  insignificant comments which mean something to the parents when they’re reading the email they get after they get home. How well their baby fared. I don’t want to group 4 babies together to say, “they ate pizza, applesauce, and drank 4 oz. of milk. If he flicked his toothbrush and filled my face with spit while brushing, well Mom can just visualize that little scenario as she reading that night. Smiling, I hope. 

So we have this category I don’t use frequently but I love it. It’s called Milestones. None of my children were in daycare, but as a parent I would guess this category would be a love/hate relationship. You want to know what your baby’s doing and if he does/discovers something, but you want them to do it at home. In front of you and daddy first. I get it. But. If I’m holding a 5 month old and she has a tiny rattle in one hand, should she move it to the other hand, I’m gonna put that down in a the milestone column. At least until mom says, “oh yeah, she’s been doing that since last weekend.” Same thing when they get up on their knees and start rocking, army crawling, drinking out of a straw from their sippy cup for the first time. If I notice a new little saw blade tooth has popped through a gum while she’s laughing when I’m changing her diaper, it’s gonna get jotted down. I’d want to know. Sorry new mommies. This caregiver is sharing. And dang proud (right along with you) of their little and major accomplishments. 

Table & chairs to practice climbing…

The new format has gotten easier, but I’m still painfully slow. At pretty much everything. While this bothers me tremendously, the babies tend to be quite patient when I’m doing something with them. Like singing. They’ll forgive almost anything if I’m singing a song for them. Any song or commercial jingle. They care not that I’m off key, or when I’m making a complete fool of myself. The goofier I act, the more enthralled they become. And really, who am I trying to please-teach-nurture-entertain? The babies. That’s right. It’s why I show up, and buy stuff for our room. Making the best home for our babies when they’re not at home….

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