I have a good friend who is a child care provider. So when she found herself in a bind, I told her I’d be happy to watch the kids for a couple of hours; eight children, all under the age of four.
I did this yesterday.
Today, I’m writing to you from a locked treatment facility for the emotionally disturbed.
Being a parent, it’s not like I didn’t know what to expect.
I was prepared.
I came with a plan.
I had ideas for things to do.
And, if all else failed, I came with a bungee cord large enough to wrap all eight of them together in the middle of the lawn.
For the purpose of this column (or, more specifically, for the purpose of protecting myself from an investigation by the Child Protection Agency) I’ll only refer to the kids by nickname. “Bonnie and Clyde,” for example, were both less than two years old and always planning a getaway. I know this because they would often sit together babbling quietly, then suddenly climb to their feet and make a break for it, stumbling across the yard with both hands in the air. I have no idea where they planned to go once they made it to “the outside” (which seemed to be anywhere beyond the grass), but I took the keys to the Barbie Jeep anyway.
And let me just say that, for any men who might find themselves in this situation, I’d suggest wearing an athletic cup. That’s because, for some reason, all children believe that the only way to get your attention is to stand directly in front of you, wait until you’re not looking, and then poke you directly in the [censored].
I say this all in retrospect, having NOT brought an athletic supporter and, instead, resorting to the next best thing: Duct-taping a coffee mug to myself. This worked just fine and was fairly comfortable. So comfortable, in fact, that I completely forgot about it until went into the local coffee shop and asked for my free refill. At which point I was told the policy would be changing — effective immediately.
As anyone will tell you, the key to supervising children is keeping them active. Provide them with things to do and they’ll be totally unaware that you are, in effect, slowly going insane. To accomplish this, we played softball, soccer, hop-scotch and then colored a giant dragon that I drew on the sidewalk in chalk. Thanks to this planning and organization, these activities kept everyone entertained for well over 15 minutes.
Which left me with another hour to fill.
Desperate, I did what any good child care provider would do in this situation:
I kindled their imaginations by telling them I had a giant snake in the car.
This, of course, was very exciting, and we spent the next 10 minutes talking about how big it was, where it came from, and whether or not it had once been an executive from ENRON.
Everything was going great until, naturally, they demanded to see it. Now, because I didn’t actually HAVE a 50-foot anaconda in the car, I was left with only one option, which was to tell them it must’ve escaped.
If you’ve never heard the sound of eight small children screaming at once, you can experience the same thing by sticking a bull horn next to your ear and pushing the siren button. Even “Bonnie and Clyde,” who had no idea what was going on, began screaming — hands in the air and stumbling across the grass to freedom.
I should explain that our my friend’s home is somewhat secluded, which is what kept anyone from reporting a strange man with a coffee mug strapped to his pants chasing down a herd of screaming children on the front lawn. On the bright side, it did shave another 20 minutes off the clock, which left me with just enough time to get everyone calmed down and back inside before anyone showed up.
To the parents, I apologize for any future psychological treatment your children may require. To my friend, I’ve gained an even higher level of appreciation for what you do.
And to my wife and family:
They say I can leave any day now — just as soon as I give up the coffee mug.
(You can write to Ned Hickson at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at Siuslaw News, P.O. Box 10, Florence, Or. 97439)
58 thoughts on “Screaming children and a 50-foot snake; welcome to Uncle Ned’s day care”
this may be too soon in our relationship to say this, but i love you…thank you, for the very big smile this morning!
You’re very welcome; it’s never too early to make someone smile. On a side note, I really wish I could remember if I washed this cup out before I made my coffee…
Wait just one second, rougedmount, I loved him first. Back off. I nearly spilled my coffee, UncaNed, and the mug isn’t even taped to my nether regions.
Unless it’s iced coffee, that was a lucky break.
Even iced wouldn’t have been lucky today — our temps have plunged from the 70s to the 30s. Nice April Fool joke by Mother Nature.
She’s probably just getting back at all of us for those old margarine commercials, “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature…!”
Of course! I hadn’t even thought of that …
Oooooo Ned… you scandalous little monkey, you. You’ve got the ladies fighting over you and your coffee mug! ^^^
It’s nothing special, really. Although it does have a Jolly Roger on it… wait, we’re still talking about my coffee mug, right?
We are! Wait, are we?
I’m going to evade that question before I incriminate myself any further.
OMG… you are one brave person (doesn’t matter what sex you are —- eight children under the age of 4 is eight too many children under the age of 4)!
Where were you BEFORE I said, “Sure, I’ll watch them it’ll be fun!”
Whenever I think something might be “fun”, I check myself. Because I’m ALWAYS wrong about it. ALWAYS!
And I was having my own “fun” at the shit show that was a restaurant on a holiday. Ridiculous.
Hey, you never know; Rob Lowe may have dropped in. Literally — his jet pack may have malfunctioned…
The real question here is: was that mug a venti or a grande?
Hahahaha!! Only my barista knows for sure!
This reminds me of the time that my husband dressed up as Darth Maul to run a Star Wars party for our eldest. 10 six year olds to entertain for two hours. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so scared 😀
Brave man! But at least he had a two-sided lightsaber to defend himself.
Indeed he did. He is not a man to go into battle inadequately equipped 😉
If he takes on any Padawan learners, let me know; my coffee mug and I will wait patiently.
Taking on that many under 4s Ned? I think the Force is already with you. And your coffee mug.
Hahahaha! Good point 🙂
My daughter has worked in day care for 25 years. I can’t wait to send this to her! This was hilarious!
Give up the cup, Ned.
Thanks! I hope she doesn’t turn me in 🙂 Oh, and the cup has been surrendered. But I don’t think I’ll ever be able to drink out of it again..
Keep your cup! In situations like these, it might be the only thing you have to hang onto! 🙂
That’s true! Especially since it appears the only shred of masculinity I have left is under that cup.
What an awful way to spend the day. Two kids is enough for me.
At least when it was over, I could walk away. Of course, I walk away to four teens of my own at home!
Forgive me for being overly politically correct but what happens if the kids go home and say to their parents,,, “A strange man was at daycare today. He said he had a 10ft snake and we went to look for it”! Ha ha! In case you don’t get my humor..
LOL! Maybe if the snake was smaller…
Oh Children!!! I just snorted from laughing so much my dog thinks I have something up my nose (he keeps trying to smell me up there). I applaud you sir! Eight is a lot of kids! I remember taking care of one little girl an entire summer for eight hours a day… I had to call for back-up one day. It is a lot of work!
On a more serious note: Slowly remove the duct tape from your hand and coffee mug… it will be okay… it will be okay… if not, I have sent a St. Bernard with coffee, and no, I didn’t tell him that he might lose his luggage. I figured you have a better chance of getting that coffee if he knows his luggage is in no danger 🙂
Hahahaha! I think your omission about his luggage probably increased both our chances of survival! But please, I hope he isn’t bringing a Mexican mocha; that hasn’t worked out too well for me in the past 😉
haha! sucka >.> She laughed all the way to her appointment, you know that right?
No doubt! She probably taped it with a nanny-cam to watch later with popcorn, beer and a group of her fellow child care provider friends!
You are a real friend to this lady. I have a T-shirt that I bought from from my website store, It says
“Yes, it is true. They are indeed Made of Brass”
You could totally wear that shirt.
Hahaha! And I totally would 🙂
i love everything about this. i happen to have 3 daughters who have all decided to have 2 children within a few years of each other, thus i have 6 grandies, ages 9 mos. to 5 years old. also teach jr. kindergarten (4 and 5s) full day, 18 kids and love every minute of it. i love the chaos, the mayhem, the way things always run amok. laugh every day and sometimes cry. oops, it kind of sounds like i’ve crossed over into some state of walking insanity….
As long as you’re not being dragged into insanity but go willingly, I suppose it’s not a problem 😉 And my hat is off to you for what you do every day as a teacher.
You’re lucky it wasn’t a Darth Vader mug. The kidlets might have taken light sabers to your [censored] to get your attention. Thank gawd for small favors…
… nice…. Who says it wasn’t a Big Gulp I was wearing? Oh, wait — I’m a man…
one of the funniest yet !
Thanks, Terry 🙂
I’ve experienced the awkward “poke” before. That visual was hilarious!
I had too, just not so many times in two hours. I was wondering if they thought it was a doorbell.
Very funny! I’ve been in the child care business for 25 years so I really did enjoy this! Oh and I nominated you for a Versatile blogger award if you’re so inclined to accept! http://wp.me/p2E0IW-aw
Wow, my day care career I was done after two hours. Twenty-five years is amazing. And many thanks for the nomination, grannyK!
Very welcome…and you can fill in for me at work anytime…lol. Just remember the snake this time
I’ll NEVER make that mistake again! I mean about not actually bringing a large snake as my enforcer…
Eight! Ned, your courage and bravado are myth worthy – your creative distraction a masterpiece of strategy. I’ll trade my shield for your coffee cup – grin!
I appreciate that. I like to think of myself as the William Wallace of child care.
I told my boyfriend I would read to him from the only blog that I follow (yours). And then I regretted it, because reading aloud is incredibly hard to do when you’re laughing so hard you feel like you’re going to choke. And then you look at the pee-colored iced tea in your glass and wonder what the inside of that coffee mug would look like by now, and it just sets you off all over again.
I’m glad you clarified it was mine you were reading from. If there was someone else out there with a urine-stained coffee mug, I was going to be pissed! Ok, sorry — bad choice of words. But I’m flattered to know when you two look at your iced tea, you think of my coffee mug.
Heh…. but even that did not make me not want to have kids 😉 although an army of babysitters would help I guess…
You’re right. This was intended to be a cautionary tale. Definitely have kids; just don’t have me babysit.
Way to cause chaos at the daycare! 🙂
What can I say? It’s a gift.