today was a school day, and a snow day. my kids had school, and yet most of the local schools were closed. that means i only had 9 kids at my house, not the 14 or 17 i would normally have on a school day.
i'm sure people see those numbers and are thinking "how on earth do you actually take care of that many kids." well, most of these kids are 3rd grade and older. in fact, the ages are my five 11, 9, 6, 4, and 2. then family A is 11, 10, and 5 with a new baby that will be here in the next couple of weeks. family B is 12, 10, 8, and 4. family C is 11, 8, and 2. family D is 11, and 6. most of these kids are technically allowed to stay home alone. i have been very lucky with the families i watch. they are very good kids. they are all fairly well behaved (but they are kids! they have their moments) and polite. the parents are so very nice. i have no complaints when it comes to the quality of people i deal with. i am truly blessed with the kind of people in my life.
how do i feed them all? well, we eat in shifts usually. the youngers go first, and then the older kids. i am very strict on this...just ask my 11 yr old. he got in big trouble for eating ahead of the other kids and had to go help shovel snow for his grandparents. it may not sound like a big deal (and it wasn't) but when i have a large number of kids, i have to feed the little guys first or they may not get enough. those big kids can really put away some food! i only had 9 today, but i fixed 20 hotdogs, 3 boxes of mac and cheese, sliced 3 apples and peeled 4 oranges. i don't know if that sounds like much, but it was all gone by the end of lunch.
what do they do all day? well, hmmm, beside drive me completely crazy? really they are good kids. they may get on my nerves more when they are stuck in the house, but that would be the case with 1 kid or 17. when it's summer, we swim everyday. every single day. they are outside every single day. well, unless it's storming. but even those days, if we have any time at all that is clear, they are outside. snow days are a little tougher. they are usually stuck in the house those days. they play in the basement or upstairs. they play on the main level too. ok i guess you can't throw a stick without hitting a couple kids on snow days.
is it hard on my kids having to share me? it is. i won't lie. they do get jealous. but they also have friends to play with every day. i think they handle the sharing part pretty well. in fact, i don't think i have had any of the "it's mine" issues with my own kids. i have had the "she's my mommy, not yours" issues come up. but that was just because one of the little guys i watch started to call me mom. only because that's what he heard me being called all the time. we straightened it out, and he now calls me by my name, but he still calls my hubby dad. very funny when we see him out at school or church functions and he waves to him saying "dad". hubby finds it hilarious. i don't think his parents have realized what he's saying.
i do enjoy taking care of these kids. they are like family to me. i won't say i love them like my own kids. i do love them like they are my nieces and nephews though.
as much as i do love them, i will not be doing this forever. i am planning on going back to school after my youngest is in school. i may put it off long enough for the youngest kid i watch to get into school, but i don't know. i love taking care of kids. i also would like to have a real job someday. you know, with co-workers and adult conversation. that would be nice.
that can wait for now.