- Family and Parenting
Generations Day Care Part Two: The First Day
The First Day isn't always the Smoothest
Sarah was my supervisor and Amanda was an assistant like me. The very first day of my summer job, we were going to the rec center to go swimming. My main responsibility was to go into the men's locker room with the boys, a place the women obviously couldn't go. The two boys I was told to keep the closest eye on were Spencer and Mark, six year-old twins.
The twins were almost completely identical and at first I wondered how I was supposed to tell them apart. But as luck would have it, Spencer had a very small mark on his ear that gave him away instantly.
I held Mark and Spencer's hands and acted as caboose while Sarah and Amanda took up the front of the line. So far, so good. When we got to the rec center I went in with the boys and made sure they stopped in the showers before we went into the pool.
One of the biggest shortcomings in a swimming trip is the complete inability swim. As such I had to wade in the shallow end of the pool, but for the most part I had a very good time. We played rounds of Marco Polo and when the swimming hour was over we went back into the locker room to dry off and get dressed.
The two oldest boys, Preston and Danny, were fine. They got showered and dressed without hassle and were out in the lobby with the girls in no time. But the youngest kids, Spencer, Mark and another boy named Raymond took forever standing in the shower. Spencer and Mark were just plain hyperactive and Raymond seemed nervous about me all together and I was at a loss on how to get them to hurry up and get dressed.
Finally, after about twenty minutes we were out of the locker room and on our way back to the school. I could almost imagine Sarah and Amanda scrutinizing me the entire afternoon and after that day I was sure they could have found a dozen or so people who could do the job better than me. But I really wanted to do well here and so I tried to make up for it.
At snack time I poured the milk and as I did I learned the names of each of the children (changed for the purposes of the article, obviously).
Spencer, Cameron, Raymond, Rachel, Preston, Chelsea, Megan, Megan C., Sara, Danny, Larissa, and Kelly. More would arrive in later weeks of course but for now I had their names.
After snack we had circle. Tiffany read to the kids and I sat with them. The book she read was generally tied in with a special weekly theme like “Bullies, Meanies, and Heroes” or “Surprises”, etc.
Towards the end of the day parents came to pick up their children. First Spencer and Cameron, then Chelsea and Megan, then Megan C, Danny and Sara, Larissa, and Preston. Raymond and his older sister Rachel were the only ones remaining.
Sarah went back to the main office at the daycare and Amanda and I took the kids outside. It was too nice a day to remain indoors and at the time Catamount had a really nice playground. (The school is now closed and is up for bids to prospective buyers) We played rounds of hide and seek, I pushed the kids on the tire swing and eventually we rounded off the day sitting in the large tire hammock.
"So how did you end up with this job?" Amanda asked, casually. It was the first time we had to talk all afternoon.
"I chose it," I replied, honestly but humbled. "I've always wanted to work with kids...although I don't think I'm very good at it."
"No one starts off perfect," Pam told me. "Next time the kids take too long in the shower and they don't come out, just turn the water off and kind of guide them out."
I was glad she wasn't upset with me. More to the point she was willing to offer me advice on how to do a better job. As the days went on, I slowly lost the nervous feeling and it was replaced by something else...confidence.