5 Things Your Child’s Preschool Teacher Wants You to Know

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For many years before I became a stay at home mom, I worked as a teacher (and later a manager and then an owner) in several different daycare centers. Though each childcare center is certainly different, there are a few universal truths to which anyone who has ever worked in one can attest. Here are the big ones:

1. We actually do love your children like our own (but we swear we’re not trying to replace you.) Despite what you may think, childcare workers make terrible, scary-bad money. In addition to being grossly underpaid, we are often short-handed and typically don’t get the respect that our colleagues who teach in the higher grades do. So trust me when I say that we’re there because we really, really love kids. And glitter in our hair. And bleach stains all over our clothes. Plus, there’s a certain bond that forms when you willingly extract the boogers from the nose of a person to which you did not yourself give birth. But, we know our boundaries, and, at the end of the day you still hold the title of the lifetime nose-pickers, mom and dad.

2. We really wish you’d keep your sick kid at home. Trust me, we get it. Your boss is an asshole who doesn’t have kids and can’t understand why you need to take a 12th day off this month to tend to your perpetually-sick offspring. Or your child was vomiting Exorcist-style all night but she seems 100% back to normal this morning, so why not send her to school? Because, even after working for years on end around children, some childcare workers still get every single illness that passes through our classrooms, especially since we are the one constant in the room. Yes, we do understand that it’s daycare—kids are going to get sick and so will we; it’s inevitable. But, if there’s any way you can contribute to the general health of the class, we’re begging you to please do it. And don’t send your feverish kid in hyped up on Tylenol. You know we’re just gonna call you in 2 hours when it wears off.

3. We LOVE when you tell us how much you appreciate us. The days are long when you’re responsible for wrangling 20-something paint-smearing, diaper-soiling toddlers who can’t verbalize their love for you through anything other than sharing their bodily fluids. Don’t get me wrong—the work is fun and rewarding and some days it feels like the best job on earth (who else gets to color and make Play-doh at work?) but it is also incredibly demanding and sometimes thankless. When you go out of your way to give us kudos for the work we do, it really means the world to us, whether you realize it or not. And if you bring us snacks? Well, we just might follow you home.

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4. We sympathize with you when your kid gets bitten/scratched/pinched/kicked by another kid (and when your kid is the biter/scratcher/pincher/kicker.) I can’t tell you how much it sucks to have to relay the message to a parent that some harm came to his or her child while under our watch. Even though we’ve done it countless times and it may seem like business as usual, we feel horrible (and responsible) for every incident that we weren’t able to prevent. And, if your child happens to be the perpetrator, we feel for that too, because many of us have children ourselves and we know what it’s like to be the recipient of that information (sometimes it’s worse.) Just know that we don’t relish the task of spoiling your pickup with bad news—we truly hate saying it as much as you hate hearing it.

5. We want to know you, too (and for you to know us). While we’re always happy to talk about your child at drop-off and pickup, we also love the occasional chitchat about life outside of the four walls of daycare. We know everything there is to know about your child (her favorite story at circle time, the exact temperature she prefers her mac and cheese, the way she naps with her finger twisted in her blankie) but we want to get to know you too. Some of you aren’t talkers and that’s OK, but we love it when you open up to us about yourselves and your lives because your children are such a big part of ours. And when you ask about our lives? That’s pretty cool, too. We swear we have hobbies other than fingerpainting and reading Llama Llama in sing-song. After your kid graduates, go ahead and call us up for a drink. Trust me, us preschool teachers really know how to unwind.

Related post: Parents Of One Perfect Child Under Preschool Age

7 Reasons To Love The Terrible Twos

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You know that one friend that gets too drunk all the time? As the night goes on they get louder and louder. They stammer and stumble. They’ll pick a fight with anyone and cry over anything. They occasionally pee themselves. This is exactly what having a toddler is like.

Except that toddlers are also adorable. Their cuteness far exceeds their terribleness. It has to — this is evolution’s way of making sure that when they’re screaming on the floor in the middle of Target, we don’t just leave them there. In case you need reminding at the moment, here are seven reasons to love the terrible twos…

1. Their enthusiasm is contagious. To watch a kid squeal in delight over the littlest things puts everything else in perspective. Our kid loses her mind over things like bubbles, stickers, balloons, markers and glitter. It’s impossible not to get swept up in the moment and be excited right along with them. (Side note: This is also what makes holidays with toddlers the BEST.)

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2. Ain’t no party like a toddler party cuz a toddler party don’t stop. If left to their own devices, toddlers would only sleep after collapsing into some type of carb-induced coma. Turns out their nonstop energy also makes them the best dance/exercise/play/cleaning/cooking partners ever.

3. They genuinely WANT to help out. Ours helps with things like dishes, laundry, putting things away, and sorting. She seriously loves it. I hear that children eventually outgrown this desire to help so I plan to exploit, er, cultivate it while I still can.

4. They are great communicators. She can tell me her likes and dislikes. We can trade and make deals. She totally takes a bribe. I am counting the days until her six-month-old brother masters these skills.

5. They are still so small. Tiny clothes! Not to mention all the tiny hats and accessories. It’s cuteness overload pretty much all of the time.

6. Their love makes you melt. Our daughter will come up to me out of the blue to give me a hug and say, “I love you.” I can’t explain in words what this feels like, but it’s amazing. I even caught my husband welling up when it happened to him. He still claims something was in his eye.

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7. They are HILARIOUS. Toddlers want desperately to entertain you. They will sing, dance, make silly faces — whatever it takes to get you laughing. Sometimes they don’t even have to try. Their observations and expanding vocabulary are pretty amusing in their own right.

So yes, toddlers run around like little lushes most the time. But in the blink of an eye they’ll be grown. So take the time to notice and praise the amazing things your toddler does. And when you find them passed out on the floor, elbow-deep in a bag of chips, remember to be grateful that they’re still small enough to carry off to bed.

Related post: 10 Reasons Age Three is More Terrible Than Two

10 Reasons Age Three is More Terrible Than Two

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1. At two, they can barely talk. At three, they never shut the hell up.

2. At two, they cry. At three, they throw temper tantrums so epic, you become convinced that they are possessed by the devil.

3. At two, they’re happy to eat anything you present to them. At three, they eat only three foods (usually consisting of a starch and processed cheese).

4. At two, baths are a ten-minute event, the result of which is a clean child. At three, baths take over an hour, and result in a drenched bathroom, sopping wet mommy, and 16 used towels.

5. At two, they wear diapers that can be changed on your watch. At three, they’re potty trained and the world revolves around their bladders and bowels.

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6. At two, they are distracted by a box of Gerber Puffs at the grocery store. At three, they want to dictate your entire food list.

7. At two, they let you dress them, looking innocent and adorable. At three, they insist on picking out their clothes, looking like pint sized versions of mental institution inhabitants.

8. At two, they don’t like to get dirty. At three, they thrive on it.

9. At two, you can do things for them, saving infinite amounts of time. At three, they must do everything by themselves, taking FOR-fucking-EVER.

10. At two, manipulation is the last thing on their minds. At three, they own you. And they know it.

Related post: 20 Reasons My Two Year Old Had a Hard Day

10 Comebacks to “Well Meaning” Questions About Potty Training

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Potty training! If you’re yearning for a way to turn your life into an inescapable urine soaked hell, get back on that potty training wagon! (Yes I bet there’s at least one previous potty training failure in your history. How do I know? Because…. um…. no reason.)

Here are some retorts to the well meaning friends, family members, and goddamn strangers on the street that think it is their place to ever-so-gently ask you questions about potty training…

1. My son was trained at 17 months. Really? I was busy teaching my kid Spanish and Mandarin then. And the didgeridoo.

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2. Have you tried no diaper? Have you tried to get feces out of upholstery?

3. When she’s ready, she’s ready. You’re right. And, when she can barter it for a bike and an XBox, she’s ready too.

4. Have you tried a sticker chart? Yes, every time I don’t have a nervous breakdown before noon, I get to pick my favorite princess.

5. Have you heard of elimination communication? Too bad you didn’t try when she was younger. Totally! When my husband gets an oil change for our DeLorean, I’ll just zip back to the moment of her birth and do it all differently.

6. Have you tried M&M’s? Have you seen my ass?

7. Preschool will help with it. Awesome! If you don’t mind my asking, how much extra do you pay for the teachers to come by and clean up pee from your hardwood floor?

8. She’ll just copy her older sister. So funny! That only seems to work for learning the F word.

9. Using Pullups helped my son. He thought it was like underwear. If your kid doesn’t equate a Pullup with a diaper, you must immediately contact Mensa.

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10. It will get better! When you bring over a sponge, some carpet cleaner, and some vodka, it certainly will.

So, when you have your lovely, well meaning, bizarrely potty-training invested relatives over for Thanksgiving, be sure to have these comebacks memorized.

Also, FYI, the smell of a freshly baked pumpkin pie almost covers up the stench of excrement.  So shove that storebought one in the oven and turn it to 350. You’re welcome. Happy Thanksgiving!

Related post: A Parent’s Prayer for Potty Training in the Digital Age

You Might Have a 3 Year Old If…

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You Might Have a 3 Year Old If...

1. You wish that, when God created children, he remembered to install a mute button.

2. The bigger the rush you are in, the more your child walks like he’s wearing cement boots in a vat of molasses.

3. You feel like you’ve become trapped in the movie Memento, as he tells the same story to you time and time again, always with vigor. You’ve tried to perfect the art of inserting “uh huhs” at the right time but you know (and he knows) you’re not quite there.

4. You are forced to listen to pop music ad nauseum, as Katy Perry is his “fravorite” singer.

5. You’ve decided whomever dubbed them the “terrible twos” is either dumb or has never had a three-year-old.

6. Where you once nibbled on his toes and body parts with abandon, you now wish he wore plastic wrap over his whole body. You’ve seen where he puts things, and it isn’t pretty. You hold hands but cringe knowing he considers booger picking an Olympic sport.

7. After a day with him, you find your new mantra is “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.”

8. Sometimes your only goal for the day is to get him through parking lots without dying. He walks through them like one of the patients who have just escaped catatonia in the movie Awakenings. His mouth is agape and he zigzags like he’s trying to escape an alligator. You only narrowly escape your goal.

9. He will never remember to put his yogurt wrapper in the garbage but will never, EVER forget the ONE time you ran a red light. Let it go, Dude!

10. He’s never tired until … zzzzzzz …

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11. He could care less what you dress him in, which you take advantage of far too often.

12. Put any same-sized human next to him, and they are instantly friends.

13. Finding two matching shoes is more difficult than solving the Pythagorean theorem. Same goes for socks.

14. You do not want to sit too close, as the insults about blemishes, yellow teeth, nose hairs, etc., will crush your soul.

15. Although you could have sworn you just cut them, his toenails will always look like those of Howard Hughes.

16. He’ll eat fruit like it’s crack but any veggies get a “What’s dis?”

17. He’s a major conservationist, as he not only lets the yellow mellow but he also doesn’t flush the brown down.

18. Talk of any vulgar bodily function will send him into a fit of laughter that you think could kill him.

19. He is a terror at home but his preschool teacher and babysitter report he is nothing but an angel. Figures.

20. Despite any of the bad stuff goes with it, you wish so badly you could create a machine that freezes him at this age, as he is bursting with cuteness.