Sorry, I Just Don’t Have Anything Available at the Moment

I once wrote about how hard it can be for parents to choose an appropriate daycare that suits their needs and the needs of their child. On the flip side of that coin (my side) is how hard it can be for a child care provider to find suitable clients.

I’m actually pretty lucky- the part of the city I live in is filled with families and there’s generally a shortage of childcare. Usually I have full- or near-full enrollment and a waiting list. Last fall, however, there was a mass exodus of babies from my daycare and at the start of this year I had to build my clientele back up from nearly nothing. I had a lot of meetings with a lot of potential clients, some of whom I booked, some of whom I never heard from again and some of whom I WISHED I would never hear from again.

As I said in the aforementioned post, when I try to sell someone on chosing to enroll their child in my daycare, what I’m actually selling them on is me, and in a way this is also true for parents- THEY have to sell ME on the idea that they’ll be the sort of people I’ll want to deal with on a daily basis. I’ve often said that one of the most difficult parts of daycare is dealing with the parents, and the more a person comes across as crazy, annoying or demanding in our initial meetings, the less likely it is that I’m going to say “Yes, I TOTALLY have space for your child! Let’s get your paperwork started!”

I recently had a woman come by who was looking for daycare. She showed up unannounced, without calling first. In fact, we’d never even spoken before. She wasn’t sure when she wanted her daughter to start daycare, but she did want to begin with just eight hours a week. At one point she observed that it was quiet in my house, and when I told her it was nap time and all the kids were resting, she said “I don’t know how you’d get my daughter to get to take a nap, she still nurses for an hour before she’ll sleep!” Then she looked pointedly at my chest O__O

As far as selling me on the idea of having her as a client, she did almost everything wrong! Let’s look at her mistakes:

While I’m sure some child care providers don’t take issue with this, I find it intensely annoying. There are certain times of the day when I’m busy with the kids, or about to go out, or all the parents are picking up their kids and I need to talk to them, my current, paying clients, not some stranger who just showed up. Even during nap time I have stuff to do- maybe I’m cleaning the floors or the hamster cage, or maybe I just want to relax in my sweatpants eating Hickory Sticks and wasting time on the internet. When people call me for the first time I tell them they can come by whenever is convenient for them BUT they need to make arrangements with me first, even if it’s just giving me a couple of hours notice so I can make sure the house is reasonably clean, crate the dogs and psych myself up to meet someone new.

This particular woman was looking for just eight hours a week. EIGHT HOURS. That’s what a babysitter is for, not a licensed child care provider. Maybe that’s all the child care she wants or needs or can afford, but for me, it is a colossal waste of time. That’s just one day a week. I would either have to squeeze the kid into my part-time space, or wait until a full-time space opened up, but booking a one-day-a-week kid into a five-days-a-week space makes literally no financial sense.

Additionally, the reason she wanted just eight hours is she wanted to ease her child into daycare, but doing it that way is like trying to pull a Band-Aid off slowly- it hurts more than just ripping it off in one fell swoop. K, one of my current part-timers, used to only come two half days a week, and he cried and was miserable every time he came here for a year. A YEAR OF MISERY FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED. It wasn’t until I stopped offering half-days and he started coming more regularly that he settled in.

Conversely, Baby M, who started four days a week in March, is now completely comfortable here, even with the setback of my going on vacation three weeks after she started. Now when I open the door she tries to leap out of her mother’s arms and as soon as she’s put down goes barreling into the living room to play, with nary a glance at her mother. She has to be tricked into coming back to the foyer for a goodbye hug! And this was a kid who, when she was first here, screamed hysterically for hours every day. If you want to get your child used to being in child care you have to just PUT THEM IN CHILD CARE, like hard-core. The more infrequent and sporadic their attendance, the more likely they are to have a terrible time.

Heaven forfend I should criticize another person’s parenting choice. If people want to cosleep or put their child in a crib, breastfeed for an extended period or bottlefeed, use cloth diapers or use disposable diapers, then they can go right ahead and do whatever! None of this affects me in any way- unless that child starts coming to my daycare.

Your child won’t sleep without nursing first? Then they are going to have a terrible time in daycare, because a child care provider is not a wet nurse. Some people carry their kids around to get them to sleep. With five other kids and a schedule to keep, I can’t do that. Some people lay down and nap with their kids. Again, I can’t do that. Some people let their child roam around the house with handfuls of Cheerios and some people put their child down for a nap with a bottle of juice. No and no!

When a parent makes the decision to put their child into daycare, then they need to make the effort to start changing things at home so the transition in to care isn’t completely traumatic. For example, before Baby M started her mom started adjusting what time she took her naps so that when she started here, having a shorter morning nap and a longer & earlier afternoon nap wasn’t a total shock to her system. Although her entry wasn’t totally smooth it was certainly easier than if her mom hadn’t done anything at all, which was good for me, the mom AND the baby.

There are some other things a potential client can do that make me run screaming in the opposite direction:

Potential Mistake #1: BEING CRAZY
One time I had a guy show up unannounced at the end of the day when the kids were being picked up. This was annoying enough, but he also parked his truck illegally, blocking the entire alley and several of my neighbors’ cars. When I realized this I said I would email him the information he wanted and made him leave, but I later found out that once he got out there one of my neighbors had words with him and the guy freaked out, started screaming and they got in a fist fight. WHAT. Then my neighbor complained to the management office and I got in trouble! Please remember I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW THE GUY, OR THAT HE WAS COMING. I ended up just emailing him that I would be unable to meet his child care needs but best of luck in his future endeavors, etc etc, because I didn’t even want to call such a whack job!

In the years that I’ve been doing childcare, I’ve come to realize that the people who are most demanding are the people who, when you acquiesce, are the least appreciative. If you give them an inch with regards to scheduling or fees they will take ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND MILES.

One family said they desperately needed child care four days a week, but I only had three days available and they couldn’t afford the 4 day fee anyway. They begged and pestered and cajoled until I relented and gave them 4 days at the 3 day rate and waived the deposit. I helped them fill out all their subsidy paperwork and explained everything to them. After all that, they only brought their daughter five days in two months and then withdrew her with no notice. When the subsidy was finally approved (after they’d stopped coming) they expected me to claim it for the full 20 days each month so they could get all that money back, even though that would mean I was defrauding the government. I was like, “Let me get this straight: you dicked me around after I did you a favour, and now you want me to do you another favour? An illegal favour??? I don’t think so!“ I filed a claim for only the days their child had actually attended, and when they didn’t get back as much money as they’d wanted they kept calling and harassing me for months.

Another woman, fresh out of a bad relationship, gave me a big sob story and begged me to waive the deposit and accept only her portion of the fee until the subsidy was approved- the client is supposed to pay the full amount of the fee and I refund them the subsidy portion. I felt bad for her so I agreed, but when the subsidy WASN’T approved she just vanished, owing me $1,500. Ouch. OUCH!

A lot of people seem to think that because my job involves cute little babies, I’m doing it out of the goodness of my heart, but this is a business, not a charity. I’m doing this to make money so I can pay my bills and give my daughter piano lessons and buy fancy shoes if I want! I made some mistakes in the past by being too nice and too flexible, but now if someone wants more for less, I tell then that unfortunately, that isn’t possible, and if they are a crazy annoying freak I say “I’m sorry, I don’t have anything available at the moment, but if you’d like I can add you to my waiting list and call you if anything opens up.” But I never call them, and you know what? I’m okay with that.

Mini Mint Brownie Cupcakes

Lots of Mini-Brownies

I’ve been meaning to make these since FOREVER and last night I finally picked up the last couple ingredients I needed. This is another recipe from Crepes of Wrath, although I mini-ized it since we all know I’m obsessed with tiny food. The recipe makes 24 mini brownie cupcakes and all the instructions are the same except obviously I used Junior Mints instead of York Peppermint Patties, I used a teaspoon to fill the cups instead of a tablespoon and I only baked them for 15 minutes. They could have probably stayed in for a couple more but I didn’t want to risk burning them because I used up all my butter and baker’s chocolate on this batch, and I ate all the spare mints (AN ENTIRE BOX AND A HALF I’M SO GROSS).

Mini Brownie Cupcake with Mint

Anyway I’m always nervous when trying new recipes for the first time but with minimal ingredients, these were really easy to make and turned out perfectly. I had asked Sydney (from CoW) if she thought making them with Junior Mints was a good idea, and while she was totally on board, she mentioned that because of the gel-like consistency of the mint filling they might turn “soupy,” but luckily that didn’t happen- I think this was due in part to the ultra-short baking time.

Symphony Likes Brownies

I was worried Sym wouldn’t like them (they aren’t very sweet) but that definitely wasn’t a problem!

Food is BACK

It’s been a while since I made a food post! I skipped making the planned meal on Friday night; I had to go shopping with Symphony after work and by the time we got home I was too tired to make anything more complicated than scrambled eggs, and we didn’t have lunch at home on Saturday because of the birthday party and wedding situation.

Sweet Soy Glazed Chicken and Onions with Steamed Broccoli and Rice
Sweet Soy Glazed Chicken and Onions with Steamed Broccoli and Rice

However, I more than made up for it last night with this delicious meal! The chicken recipe is from Crepes of Wrath and it’s one of my favorites. The only :/ thing was the rice wasn’t perfect. I mix together white & brown rice and getting the cooking time right is a little tricky. Overall though, a totally awesome dinner.

Weekend Part Two: Sunday in the City

After all the chaos and driving around the Lower Mainland on Saturday I was happy to have a nice, relaxing day on Sunday. I also didn’t sleep very well (possibly because of stuffing my face with sugary sweets from the candy bar at the wedding the night before) so I was pretty tired and not up for any intense adventuring. I also wasn’t up for any intense dressing so I wore this comfy yet awesome maxi dress which is my new favorite.

Sunday's Dress

I got it at the Old Navy in Kahului when we were killing time before our return flight back in March and I hadn’t worn it yet, but after all the compliments I got on it I will definitely be rocking it non-stop this summer. Fun fact about how terrible I am: I put it on when we got home from he wedding and said to Taylor “I’m going to sleep in this dress tonight and then tomorrow, I’m going to wear it to brunch.” And I did.

Date Brunch
Date Brunch
Date Brunch

In spite of being slightly overcast, it was really bright out and some of us can’t find our sunglasses.

Date Brunch

We saw this girl at Ikea in Coquitlam on Saturday. WHAT ARE THE ODDS??

Date Brunch

We started the day right with a delicious brunch. We swung by the Templeton but the wait was too long (this is the case 75% of the time) so instead we continued on to Glowbal (also the case 75% of the time).

Date Brunch

When you sit down they bring you tiny donuts and a mini-smoothie (not pictured but it was strawberry/blueberry/cranberry/mint and oh so delicious).

Date Brunch
Date Brunch

Toy car from the Cougar table at the wedding.

Date Brunch

Sculpture in like, the least-inviting park in the city. The whole thing is rough, pokey cobblestones. What’s wrong with grass?

Date Brunch
Date Brunch

I have NO IDEA how Taylor managed to sneak out of the house wearing this light grey shoes with black socks combination. I’ll have to be more vigilant in the future.

After eating we wandered around for a little while, sort of shopping but not really. I wanted to get a new pair of Vans KVDs but I couldn’t find the checkered ones and we were both too tired to search all over the city for them. Instead we came home and watched the season finale of SNL. After that Taylor went to the gym and OH MY GOSH I CAN’T BELIEVE IT but I went too. I stopped going when I got sick and had a stuffed up bloody nose for like, a month, but I’m finally re-motivated and well enough to go. Of course, all I did was like, the laziest 30 minutes of elliptical ever, but it’s a start!

Weekend Part One: Saturday in the Suburbs

Pre-Wedding Guest Face

This weekend seemed like it was just a series of scheduling nightmares, but it actually turned out really well!

Saturday was Taylor’s cousin’s wedding, so originally I’d arranged for Sym to go to her dad’s early that day. Unfortunately both of us forgot about this so when Clay told me he had a fight that night I was like “oh that’s cool, I’ll just keep Sym!” Whoops. When I realized the mix up Clay arranged for his mom to have Sym for the weekend, so she (and Dougal) were supposed to be picked up Friday night. However, Sym got invited to her best friend Ali’s birthday party on Saturday from eleven until two (she was actually invited to THREE birthday parties this weekend, wth) and I didn’t want her to have to miss it because of all this grown-up stuff. I had to arrange for her grandma to pick her up from the party at two, since we had to leave for the wedding at noon, but since we wouldn’t be home she couldn’t pick up Dougal, so Clay (who has a key) had to stop by before his fight at five to take the dogs out. Got that? I know, it’s complicated!

Sym Pedicure

Before I took Sym to Ali’s I painted her toes for her with this pink MAC Hello Kitty polish she got for her birthday. I thought it went really well with her turquoise denim miniskirt which looks like the exact sort of thing a young Jessica Wakefield would have picked out to compliment her blue-green eyes.

After I dropped her off I had to rush and get ready myself. I wore this probably too-short grey chiffon dress I bought on Friday night at Urban Outfitters. It also turned out to have the annoying habit of showing parts of my bra. Lesson learned: always shop well in advance so you have time to deal with your clothing’s foibles.

Saturday's Dress

Too Many Choices

I wasn’t sure what shoes I was going to wear with it so I ended up bringing two pairs, my turquoise MbMJ peep-toe heels (these are actually my own wedding shoes) and some flat strappy sandals. I also brought my cardi Uggs to wear in the car on the way home. Footwear-wise, I was prepared for almost any eventuality!

In the Zipcar on our way out of the city.

Ikea Break

The wedding was out in the suburbs so we made a detour to buy shelf brackets at Ikea. Originally I was going to get bookends but I couldn’t find the ones I wanted and we were in a hurry so instead I got these cool Ekby Mans brackets in black. Of course, now I’m rethinking my dvd shelf situation and I think I’m going to re-do the whole wall, which means lots of patching holes and repainting. Oops!

Anyway, after a quick ice cream cone we were back on the road. Eating in the car actually ended up being kind of a theme for the day.

Car Ice Cream

Now, the next part was the only part of the weekend that sucked. After driving through the back end of god-knows-where to get to the hall, we arrived at literally the last minute to find NO ONE there. All week long I’d been asking Taylor “So where is this wedding? Are you sure? And the ceremony and the reception are in the same place? Are you sure?” Taylor told me many times that yes, he was sure the ceremony and the reception were both at the same place, and he knew this because even though he’d thrown the invitation away already (!!!) he’d made it an event in his Google calendar and copied down all the information just right.

Except for the part where the ceremony was at the groom’s parents’ house in Delta at 2 pm and the reception was at a hall in Langley at 5 pm. So at two o’clock, guess where we were? THE FRIGGING HALL. Taylor tried calling his mom to figure out what was going on but she’d already turned her phone off, so he called his sister Jaime, who luckily picked up. She and her boyfriend Shaun had only been invited to the reception and were just checking into their hotel. We figured that we must not have been invited to the ceremony either and Taylor was just confused about the time, so we decided to go over their hotel and hang out. In truth, we were ALL invited to the ceremony, but Jamie and Sean unfortunately got the wrong invitation, and Taylor is just. Well. Let’s say easily confused.

Taylor making his “guilty” face.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Me making my “I’m not mad; I’m just disappointed” face.

I was pretty livid at this point. I’d gotten up and ready super early and made everyone rearrange their plans re: Sym and the dogs so we could go to this thing at two, when we (as we still thought) didn’t even have to be there until five! We could have picked Sym up from the birthday party and then dropped her off at her grandparents’ house ourselves! We could have spent way more time at Ikea! We cold have EATEN SOMETHING- all I’d had besides my Ikea ice cream was a bowl of granola at like, ten am, which I thought would be okay because if the ceremony at reception are at the same place, there usually isn’t a huge gap between the couple getting married and their guests getting something to eat. I was basically STARVING by this point, which certainly wasn’t helping my mood, so after having a cocktail

Mike & Heather's Wedding

and enjoying some creepy and hideous hotel room art

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Mike & Heather's Wedding

we followed the only reasonable course of action: eating McNuggets and Big Macs in the car in the McDonald’s parking lot.

Car Nuggets

This cheered me up quite a bit and by the time we were done it was time to head to the hall for real. Although I was secretly dreading the whole thing and threatened several times to take a cab all the way home, it was actually a super fun reception.

Mike & Heather's Wedding

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Mike (the groom) is apparently really into cars, so all the tables were named after different ones and had little coordinating Hot Wheels toys.
Mike & Heather's Wedding

Mike & Heather's Wedding
My plastic cup of white wine. I eventually procured an entire bottle from another table- ours only had red.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Taylor’s sister Jaime was at our table.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
More people at our table: Taylor’s hilarious cousin Carla (center), her date Paul and another cousin’s girlfriend who looks like Hayden Panettiere.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Taylor’s moms, Darlene and Yvonne. They were at the Cougar table, haha.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Mike stopped by our table for a swig of Paul’s Fireball whisky.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Mike and Heather’s first dance.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Heather’s dance with her father is interrupted by Mike’s dad and uncle doing a little dance of their own.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Stay classy, Tanie Laramie.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Sometimes I CAN make a regular face for pictures. I think there was also a horrible one but my wonderful husband didn’t upload it. I love that man!

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Taylor and I on the patio.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Mike & Heather's Wedding
Taylor’s mom, Darlene.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Mike & Heather's Wedding
Taylor’s stepmom, Yvonne. I wish I had a picture of her with her brothers (Mike’s dad and uncle from the dancing picture) because they look so much alike it is almost freaky.

Mike & Heather's Wedding
Mike & Heather's Wedding
You can always tell when I’m thinking about whatever it is I’m talking about (and I’m always talking about something) because I look up. I don’t know why.

We only stayed until about 9:30- we had to get home early to prevent any dog-related disasters. I ended up wearing my MbMJ heels to the wedding and my feet were KILLING ME so Taylor thoughtfully lent me his size 12 men’s shoes and walked to the car in his sock feet.

Clown Shoes

Now that’s love.

A Procomplaination!

A Proclamation!

That’s right, it’s Child Care Month in BC and next Thursday is CHILD CARE PROVIDER APPRECIATION DAY. Am I going to print out this proclamation out and stick it up on the wall in the hopes that my clients give me cards and flowers and maybe some bottles of wine? Yes. Yes I am. They have to, it’s BY COMMAND.

What I’m going to do right now, though, is celebrate Child Care Month by COMPLAINING ABOUT WORK.



Seriously, this job is driving me crazy. Usually it’s the drag of crushing paperwork every month or neurotic, irritating parents, but this week it’s the kids themselves that are getting on my each and every nerve. LET’S DISCUSS (and yes, I’m mean and a terrible person, etc. God. I’m nice TO THEIR FACES, what more do you want?):

Baby M
She is SO NAUGHTY. When she’s not safely contained in a highchair/stroller/playpen she is misbehaving, and it’s not just baby-doesn’t-know-any-better misbehaving, it’s willful disobedience. She waits until I’m distracted by one of the other kids or a parent and makes a break down the hall to the bedrooms (all of which are non-play areas) or, if we’re outside, heads straight for the stairs or front gate. She takes toys and books from the other kids constantly and yesterday I caught her beating my cat with a doll. It was a cloth doll, luckily, but she was still about one second away from getting her eyes scratched out by Claire.
Jungle Cat
“I do not approve of such shenanigans.”
And the thing is, she KNOWS she isn’t supposed to do these things, because otherwise why would she wait until my back was turned to do them? She’s so sneaky and I can never relax or sit down or play with the other kids because she requires CONSTANT VIGILANCE.


He is a whiner. No, scratch that, he’s a Whiner with a capital W. In the last four hours he’s moaned to me eight times that he wishes his mom could pick him up. He bumped his elbow on the path outside and staggered around clutching it for twenty minutes making horrible groaning sounds. When he wants something to drink he goes “I’mmmmmmm thiiiiirrrrrrrrstyyyyyyyyyyy” and when I remind him to please ask me nicely he goes “Mayyyyyy I pleeeeeeeease haaaaaaave sooooooooooommmmmmmmmmme waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaterrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.” Once I finally ran out of patience so I asked him “Can you please try asking me without whining?” and he said “Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.”


Maybe some of this would help.
It’s aggravating. He’s also kind of a histrionic drama queen- last night when his grandma was picking him up he was running to get his lunch bag when he tripped and fell down and started screaming. No, scratch that, he was Screaming, with a capital S. I ran over because I thought maybe he’d hit his face on the cement path but when I got there he was clutching his knee. I pried his hands away, expecting to see a huge bloody mess, but there was nothing. NO. THING. It was literally the world’s most superficially skinned knee and he was still. screaming. Like, bloody murder screaming. Of course this was the exact moment all the other parents arrived to pick up their kids so I had to explain his non-injury to everyone else, and they were all like suuuuuuuuure you didn’t break that kid. Great.

I love B. Everyone loves B, she’s so cute and smart and funny. But. She’s developed these really weird phobias about plants. Like, flower petals and leaves.


Maybe this fine film really affected her.
There’s this overgrown bush beside the path and this morning a small branch with like three leaves on it was knocked into the stroller as we went past. It landed by B’s feet and she just started screaming and crying and thrashing around trying to get away from it. The same thing happened the other month when the cherry trees were in bloom- some petals drifted down and landed on her and she freaked out! No amount of explaining and demonstrating the harmlessness of these things calms her down. It’s really weird and kind of frustrating because um. THERE ARE TREES AND BUSHES AND FLOWERS EVERYWHERE.

So that’s that. Luckily the week is winding down nicely- today I have four daycare kids instead of the five I’ve had for the rest of the week, and tomorrow I’ll only have two, and then, hooray hooray, it’s the weekend again!

*don’t really call the cops, okay?

Monday I Mean Wednesday Night

I swear this is my last post today! Anyway for some reason I thought it was Monday today, which is weird because yesterday I also thought it was Monday. This is making the week go by very quickly!

Pork Chop, Carrot Fries & Salad

Tonight’s dinner was brown sugar glazed pork chops, carrot fries and a salad. This was an absurdly easy meal because each dish only took three ingredients: pork chops+brown sugar+butter; carrot sticks+olive oil+salt; butter lettuce+orange cherry tomatoes+yellow pepper. The fries and chops even cooked at the same temperature (400°F) so I didn’t have to do any oven fiddling! I would say this was a total success.

In unrelated-to-dinner news, my newest client asked if his daughter (CF) could come four days a week instead of three, starting May 31st. This is awesome because a) more money which is always good, and b) the extra day he wants is Monday- currently she comes Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday, so I’ll still have an easy day on Fridays! Wins all around!

Where the City Meets the Ocean


On Tuesdays after piano lessons I take Symphony to her dad’s house. It was a cold, dark, bleak walk during the fall and winter, except for during the Olympics, when it was still cold and dark, but less bleak. Now that it’s definitely spring out though, it’s beautiful.

Pre-Sunset at Sunset Beach

Sym with Dandelion


Every time we would pass this sculpture Symphony would tell me it was rings for giants to get married. Turns out the title is “Engagement.”

English Bay

After dropping Sym off I was greeted in the backyard by my neighbors shi tzu Harley, or as I call him Harls Barkley.

Harls Barkley

I discovered yesterday that I had reached the last page of my Moleskine notebook. I texted Taylor about it (clearly it was a momentous event) and when I got home there was a brand new one waiting on the table for me, all ready to be filled with to-do lists and meal plans.

New Moleskine

How could I ever be mad at someone so thoughtful? And cute. Someone so thoughtful and cute.

Taylor & Kichou

The Final Three

Sun, Earth, Mini-Mecha-Fawn Progress

I’m so close to being done!! The Sun just needs to be assembled. Mini-Mecha-Fawn still needs eyes, flames from his rocket feet and outlining.

I’ve really been putting off doing the Earth, I’ll admit it. It’s just… it’s almost as fiddly with detail as Jupiter, but much, much smaller. After painting the blue of the ocean last week I’d basically stalled out on it, but I REALLY want to finish these so today I finally started on some detail, and you know what? I AM VERY IMPRESSED WITH MYSELF.


I just need to throw a little continent action in the northern hemisphere and layer up those clouds and this is going to be totally perfecto!