It’s September and there are pictures being sent around, happy pictures of children in their new school uniform, smart uniform for a new term.
I was sent one such picture yesterday, two smiling brothers, arms around each other. One with a cheeky little face – his giggle almost came out of the picture – the other more subdued. These aren’t relatives but I’ve known both these boys from a very early age, the younger one before he was born.
I childminded them and other children I see around our village. The younger boy has his last day with us next week and then that’s it, no more childminding, the end of an era.
I started training to childmind when D was 18 months old, so (gosh) nearly 9 years ago. The training was basically common sense and then followed Ofsted inspections, all quite nerve-racking at the time.
Having previously been a commuting (to Central London) working mum, I felt I could understand the angst and worries that the parents would feel when they were searching for childcare. It also backfired though if, in conversation with a child, they’d mention that they’d been sick in the night but had been told not to tell anyone. I remember one Christmas we were all laid up with a vomiting bug that had been “generously” passed over!
But that aside, I really enjoyed it. Pre school children are like little sponges with their willingness to learn and their enthusiasm, I learnt from them and they from me.
I did wonder if any would leave once D’s autism diagnosis was confirmed, but thankfully the parents had known her before her diagnosis, she was the same after, albeit with a “label”. Similarly with T. It did make me decide that I would not longer advertise though and just let the existing children get through to school age and then stop, which is where I am now.
Just like the boys in the photo, the elder is now 7.5 and he came to us as a six month old, his brother is 4.5.
What I won’t miss are interrupted toilet visits or that feeling that the house isn’t ours until 6pm, the house and garden will be a lot quieter during the day and less cluttered too, all the baby and pre school toys/equipment have been put in the loft, hopefully one day mini T’s or D’s will use with them.
I’m glad I did it, I wonder what I’ll do next.
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