Monday, June 11, 2012

I Am a Daycare Provider

Inspired by the "I Am Canadian!" rant of yesteryear, I created my own little rant about what I do.  If there is another one out there in the interwebs, I'm not aware of it so, for all my home daycare peeps, this is for you.

I'm not a teacher
or a medical professional.
I don't live in a drop in centre,
Eat twinkies,
Or own a school bus.
And I don't know Sally, Johnny or Yazir from the neighborhood, although I'm certain they're really nice kids.

I have a house, not a motel.
I speak Toddler and Sandbox-English, not Gibberish, 
and I pronounce it "communication" not "*crickets".

I can proudly navigate a quad stroller through narrow store aisles.

I believe in sharing, not selfishness.
Being seen AND heard,
and that dirt washes off with a little soap and water.

Happy juice is chocolate milk!
Playtime is Learning time!
And it is pronounced "PLEASE", not "Gimme"; PLEASE!

Home Daycare is your child's second home, 
the first to fix boo boos in your absence, 
and the next best thing to being there yourself.  

My name is Skye and I am a Home Daycare Provider.

Thank you.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Around the World: Conclusion

May 18, 2012

When I first decided to blog about my travel journals, I had to decide how to handle a perplexing problem. I had no choice but to omit certain people that were present for various parts of my travels for different reasons. In some cases, names were changed, in others, the combined experience was absorbed as my own. I considered the impact this decision would have on retelling this story as one of fact while not disturbing sleeping dogs.

With all my heart, I thank my husband and children for their tireless support, for giving me the time required to put each entry together.  Without your encouragement, I would never have been able to complete this project that has haunted me for so long.  I also wish to thank you, loyal blog follower, for reading and sharing this adventure with me again.  

There is something liberating about living out of a backpack. Being reduced to basics and essentials for an extended period makes life uniquely simple. Exploring different countries and learning about different cultures is educational for everyone, but especially so from a female perspective. 

Especially valuable for a young woman are the life-skills one learns on a long term trip.  Not only did I learn a little self defense, I had daily lessons in budgeting, planning, communication, geography, history, language skills and math.  Finding your way around a strange city that doesn't speak a language you understand can be a very entertaining way to develop some useful problem solving and critical thinking skills.  In fact, many employers view a long term trip as time spent gathering useful skills and real world experience.  

In a way, I still travel, in the sense that I am on a great adventure.  In the two decades that have passed since my time abroad, my knapsack has gotten bigger. It's now a 3 bedroom house that permanently contains a husband and two children.  It's not quite as portable, but it exists on the same principle.  Things work best when they're somewhat organized, which means I know where things are.  It is, by no means, neat and tidy. The stairs are constantly covered with frequently used items that don't have a permanent home. Very much like a day pack that contains things I use on a daily basis.  Surfaces are magnets for clutter.  Notes, receipts, hair ties, school stuff, pieces of toys that young toddlers could ingest or need to be repaired.  Much like corners in the bottom of a backpack where souvenirs and other items tend to gather when they haven't been needed in a while.  I usually know where to find something. It's a lot like shoving a hand blindly into a pocket looking for my passport.  It's in here, somewhere.

Our little family lives in a daycare.  In its natural state, it has crafts in various states of completion that spread over tables and walls; art supplies that leak out of drawers; dismantled toys in a continuous state of reconstruction. Papers, crumbs, bits of Play-Doh and little hand-prints decorate almost everything; the result of the cyclonic destruction only a distracted four year old, two curious toddlers, three adventurous six year olds and a rambunctious nine year old can create.

This is my backpack now.  It anchors me in this safe haven, yet remains in constant motion.  Every day is a new adventure, filled with moments both chaotic and content, and mixed with a whole lot of curiosity.  I have searched the world over and discovered that where I am is where I have always wanted to be. 

Wife.  Mother.  Family.

• ¤ •

"I may not have gone everywhere I wanted to go, but I think I ended up where I needed to be."
~Douglas Adams

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Around the World: Homecoming

May 17, 1992

I'm on my way back to Toronto.  I have stuffed my backpack to it's absolute maximum capacity, having carefully wrapped anything fragile in smelly socks and stinky shirts.  On the plane, I have a bag stuffed with  shoes and the coat I bought to keep me warm that I only wore once, and another bag of records stuffed into the overhead compartment.  Two bottles of duty free liquor are stowed under my seat.

The last flight of my journey touches down safely at Pearson.  After clunking my way through the narrow airplane aisle with my collection of carry-on baggage, I splurge on the first trolley I find.  I join the crowd of passengers waiting patiently for their luggage and watch for my backpack to appear on the luggage carousel.

Airports have become a common occurrence, and navigating them has become second nature.  After a brief stop at Immigration and a wave past Customs, this adventure of a lifetime will come to an end.

Immigration takes my passport, asks me a few questions about all the stamps and scribbles some mysterious code in red ink on the customs form I completed on the plane.   I join the line to exit the security area, expecting the usual wave to bypass customs when I notice that the people ahead of me all have cards with their mysterious code scribbled in black.  My turn comes to show the form and my homecoming is suddenly delayed.

"In here, miss," the official says, guiding me into a private room. 

My backpack is opened, and my carefully packed souvenirs are taken out one by one to be inspected, identified and explained.  For the next two hours, a pair of customs officials carefully inspect my backpack, suffering the stench of dirty socks and underwear.  Finally satisfied that the most offensive crime I have committed is being in desperate need of some soap, I am finally granted clearance.

My journey is complete.  I have come home.

• ¤ •

“Returning home is the most difficult part of long-distance hiking; You have grown outside the puzzle and your piece no longer fits.” 
~Cindy Ross