Chauffeuring Alexis around to all of her Very Important 8 Year-Old Dealings is rapidly turning into a full time job, so it's only fair that we required her commit to a minor sacrifice to streamline our evenings. To fill the time between when she gets out of school and when the work day ends, she has previously attended an after-school program at a local elementary school. This year, however, she joins Mila at daycare. It's a relatively minor change in that she just gets on a different bus and hangs out at a different place for an hour every day, but it saves a solid 20 minutes.
There are advantages in addition to the time savings, of course. Want a set of eyes on daycare just to make sure things are going OK? Send in an 8 year-old. They can gather intelligence better than any government spy.
But there is an aspect to the whole thing I didn't consider.
The daycare that we selected for Mila is a small one. It's clean and neat and I didn't have the urge to stab any of the staff when I interrogated them with a list of questions 3 miles long. All good things, of course. But, it happens to be a daycare that doesn't try very hard to make money off of big kids. There are an ever-increasing number of options available for after school programs near us, so the daycare has seemingly pulled their hat out of that ring. It's still a thing they do, obviously, but it's not a thing they try to do.
That means Alexis is the only big kid there after 4:15.
She is definitely the kind of kid who loooooooves smaller kids, so that's mostly a very acceptable thing. She's happy to tie a preschooler's shoes, play Duck Duck Goose with a bunch of toddlers, or just stand there and answer questions. She's baffled by the fact that little kids don't keep their hands to themselves ("Mom, why do they keep hitting each other? They're just so ... violent!"), but mostly she really likes them.
The feeling is mutual.
Every day Alexis tells me about her day. She does a pretty solid job of saying more than just "It was fine," so it's not a surprise that she has given me the play-by-play each evening. Tonight she went through her usual spiel, quickly covering nearly every minute of her day. When she got to the daycare portion of the festivities, however, she paused.
"I finally figured it out," she said.
"What did you figure out?" I asked.
"Daycare. I figured out what it seems like," she said. "You know how in Toy Story there's the claw game and all of the aliens look up to the claw and are all like 'Ooooooh!'?"
"Yeah, I know what you mean," I replied.
"That's what daycare is like. I'm the claw and all of the kids are the aliens worshipping me."
Here's to hoping Alexis uses her power over the daycare minions wisely.