Tuesday, July 22, 2008

When I retire perhaps I'll be a daycare provider

I took a vacation day from pediatric practice a few weeks ago to accompany Just Four (and 15 classmates) on a trip to the National Zoo. My daughter and I (and 15 classmates) walked that whole zoo up and down. Fun but tiring, and I still crazily fantasize that someday when I retire from general pediatrics I'll be a day care provider. Assuming I receive the proper training, of course.

But for some time until I retire, I'll be a pediatrician and have children in day care, so I will struggle with various options when it comes to hiding or sharing a vast array of pediatric (and other) medical knowledge. Do I let them know that teething isn't the cause of the 102 fever? That one doesn't actually get a cold from being in the cold. That diarrhea is usually contagious but eczema is not.

Do I show them my technique for reducing a nursemaid's elbow? Perhaps it's best to just do it myself--on my own child yes (twice) but on a classmate? I'll presumably gain some cred in the process, as an unintended but welcome side effect. That cred can go a long way when I assure them that my child who was sent home yesterday vomiting raisins is actually fine today and able to stay and play.

And in preparation for my retirement position, I'll take note of all that I can learn from the day care providers. How do they get my children to nap, everyday, let alone getting 12 toddlers to do so, at the same time, under one roof? When I asked, they laughed it off. And when I asked again --it wasn't a rhetorical question-- they explained, "Oh we just tell them it's nap time and turn down the lights and read a quiet story." Ah, that's how they do it. I'll think I'll try that at home.

Someday I'll "retire" and become a day care provider so I can continue the teaching and learning cycle. I'll greet the parents in the morning and late afternoon with information about their precious children. I'll read books to my class, tell them stories, and hear their tales. I'll feed them healthy food. There will be no potato chips in my day care. They learn not to bite each other. I'll teach 16 preschoolers to skip and 12 toddlers to jump. They'll all know how to dance. I'll be tired, but I'll nap too. When I retire.


  1. I've often thought that I would love to be a Kindergarten teacher. People usually call me insane when I admit this, but for all the reasons you list, and the wonder of working with young children, I still feel this way. Perhaps in an alternate universe.

    (And I did consider pediatrics for a long time...)

  2. I love this post. I, too, always wonder at their ability to get a herd of toddlers to do anything, especially nap. Wow! It boggles the mind.

    thanks for this. It made me smile.

  3. See "Curbside Consultation" at

  4. lol. I am a day care provider. Your awe at getting 12 toddlers to do something makes me laugh. The secret... it's in the tone of voice, classroom environment, routine, and way we state the direction. Although your assessment that we don't know 102 fever isn't teething (over 100, and we have to send home), and eczema isn't contagious, but diarrhea is (3 or more and we have to send home) is a bit condescending. Your child that vomited yesterday is welcome to stay 24 hours after her last projectile, even with all your reassurances- it's state law. Although I do not possess an MD behind my name, I have taken health and first aid classes, and have been doing this a long time along with being the mother of 4, I know the difference between hand foot and mouth, allergic hives, and eczema. On most days, early childhood education is enjoyable and rewarding. Other days you get bitten, yelled at, thrown up on, and deal with attitude from parents. It's all in a days work.

  5. In no way did I intend to be condescending. Thanks for writing here, and thanks for nurturing and educating our children, all in a day's work.


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