Your Toddler Will Self-Destruct in 24 Hours

The rules were not made to be broken. They were made to help daycare maximize their profits while minimizing the amount of time spent actually caring for a child. Our current daycare (and I say "current" because I know the clock is ticking on that situation) has mastered the art of money for nothing. Case in point, Alexis can only be there 10 hours before "excess fees" start kicking in. And they kick in at 10 hours and 1 minute. There's nothing that fuels road rage quite like insane traffic coupled with $5 being ripped from you pocket ever few minutes. Well, maybe the knowledge that part of your daycare fees are supposed to cover meals but you have to pack a lunch nearly every day anyway. That'll surely bring a smile to your face.

The latest and greatest example started out innocently enough. When Alexis woke up yesterday morning, it was obvious that she wasn't feeling well. She didn't have any symptoms per se, but she was clearly not all together OK. I debated for a minute then decided she could very well just be tired. That kid loves to sleep. I mean REALLY loves to sleep. Lately, she's been loving it so much that she's been waking me up two or three times a night to tell me just how much she loves it. "MUMMMMMMMMY! MUMMMMMMMMMMY! MUMMMMMMMMMMMY! Good night!" We had that little exchange at least five times Sunday night, so tired really was a possibility. As a final test, I took her temperature. A perfect 98.6, so off to school she went.

It lasted a total of two hours. Then came The Call. Fortunately for all parties involved, Alexis' favorite teacher was the caller and I happen to trust her completely. So when she said Alexis was crashing, I knew it was time to pick her up early. Before I could get there, her temp escalated to 100 degrees. Oh, and she threw up all over her favorite teacher. A sign of true love, I know.

Anyway, when I got there she was passed out asleep in the corner. Considering there were 19 screaming toddlers running to and fro about less than three inches from her face, I took that as a sign that she was in rough shape. I took her home and before I could sit on the couch, she was sound asleep in my arms. So we bonded over a lovely little nap.

She woke up less than two hours later and immediately declared, "Cracker?" I took that as meaning she was hungry and not making a rather inappropriate reference to my pale skin. I handed her a cracker then ran for cover. Remember, she had thrown up all over a teacher; I wasn't about to suffer the same fate. But the first cracker ended with a second cracker and then a third and then some milk. And nothing happened. Other than Alexis running all around the living room like a maniac, that is. Apparently a two-hour nap was just the trick she needed to resume normal activities. She stayed fine and dandy for the rest of the day and even survived a few hours alone with Daddy.

This morning when she woke up, I carefully inspected the toddler for any signs of illness. There were none to be found anywhere. But it didn't matter because the daycare owner called us, as we were walking out the door to go to work/school, and said something along the lines of don't you dare bring your kid here because blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, contagious, blah, blah, blah, fever, blah, blah, blah, 24 hours, blah, blah, blah, threw up, blah, blah, blah, goodbye. I think somewhere in there I tried to argue about 21 hours being awfully close to 24 hours, but I can't really be sure. It might have just been in my head because getting a word in edgewise with that woman requires something akin to a miracle.

So Alexis spent the day coloring, watching Signing Time (over and over and over and over), sliding, running around in her play house, and generally being a really, really healthy and hyper kid while I stayed glued to my laptop. Of course Alexis couldn't get kicked out of school on a day when I could just take the day off and enjoy her company. No, instead I got to work even more hours than I would have if I'd been in the office. And I got to stew over the fact that I was paying someone to watch her for the day while she sat three feet from me. Perfect.


The Swings

There was one ride that Alexis liked at Kennywood. She probably rode the thing about five times. One of those times led to the most amazing parental bonding I have ever seen.

Ever been out and public and encountered That Kid? You know, the one that is out to ruin everything for everyone? He's the one that's running, jumping, screaming, and generally carrying on. If you say don't touch it, he punches it. If you ask him to sit still, he starts running circles around you. If you tell him to "Shhh . . ." he yells, "Screw you!" The biggest problem is that clearly he isn't old enough for you to just deal with him yourself. So you look around for a parent. SHOCK! There isn't one anywhere in sight. A little bit of the mystery surrounding why this kid is likely to become a resident of the State penitentiary before he ever attends first grade is now a little clearer, but that still doesn't fix the problem. His actions are having a direct impact on YOUR kid and it needs to stop.

That Kid was on the swings with Alexis and Peyton. Fortunately for me, Alexis was fifteen feet away. Unfortunately for Peyton's Mom, That Kid was directly behind Peyton. Kicking him. Over and over again. So Peyton's Mom turns to me and we start discussing the little punk. It only takes a second for all the other parents to join in on the discussion. First, there's Cautious (aka Tattle-Tale) Mom. "I would say something. You really should say something. They should stop him." Then there's Everything Can be Solved with Violence Dad. "I would kick his little butt." And let's not forget the Sweary McCusserton Parents. "Knock it the *bleepity bleep bleep* off, you little *bleepity bleep bleep*." Solidarity at it's best. Eventually all the kids got loaded up and the swings started so that the little weasel couldn't reach anyone else. But I strongly suspect that kid had a whole lot to do with why Peyton only wanted to ride the swings that one time.


Caution: Cute Overload Ahead

We really try to make sure to visit the best cities have to offer whether visiting or living there. We're still guilty of ignoring a lot of what makes Pittsburgh great, but we are working on it. It was in that vein of enjoying the city that we ventured to Kennywood yesterday. We've been there before, but yesterday was the first time we did it with the contorted sensibilities only the parents of a one-year old possess. Just to keep it exciting, we met some other contorted people there--Peyton's parents, Jill and Shawn/Itch/Steelers (Alexis renamed him--I believe his parents intended for his name to be Rich).

First of all, Daddy knew we were meeting Alexis' boyfriend there. And yet, he dressed her in a "Hug Me" t-shirt. That's pretty much asking for this to happen:

Oh, but there's more:

Clearly, they can't stand one another.

As for the rides, I would have thought that Alexis would be all about them. After all, she spends most of her time getting hauled around like this:

Instead, she thought most of the rides were something akin to Chinese water torture. While she makes me play Ring-Around-the-Rosie with her every ten minutes all day long, she wasn't a fan of the spinning.

That photo is deceiving. There were a lot more tears and screams that you can see. But that was NOTHING compared to new public enemy #1, the Crazy Trolley. It's a trolley car that goes around like a Ferris wheel. We had the front row and Alexis was seated in between Daddy and myself. At first, she was all giggly that she was allowed to sit on the bench by herself. But then the thing started to move. I literally felt the moment when terror went racing through her body. And she screamed. And she cried. And she screamed. And she cried. And I think she will have a Ferris wheel phobia for her entire life. Sorry, kiddo. We didn't know.