Camp is Over, Lessons were learned

Yay I do apologize for all of the parents who weren’t able to get your children into camp. This blog is not meant to stir up any ill feelings you had having to scramble for your little people.  I feel your pain in that would have led me into pure anxiety.  However I just want to do a dance that camp is over.  Trust and believe it’s not just that the start of school is literally around the corner, it has everything to do with what camp has meant for the Storr household.

My son was in another daycare and with that daycare they have a built-in camp.  He didn’t make it quite to his first full year.  The issue is simple, he was having issues adjusting. He was having issues with some of the kids and that’s all I will say to protect the innocent. However as a parent it was hard having to find alternatives for him.  I had to take him to counseling at some point which worked out since towards the end he was adjusting to life without his grandmother since her passing.  With all that was going on, I personally have to admit, I didn’t remove him in enough time.  Shocker I know. I battled taking him from the daycare because it was convenient for me to take him and his sibling to school and me to work.  The agony of having to start the process of locating another new school made my head hurt.  So I feel that my husband who took my lead and I just didn’t pull the trigger.  That is the one thing to date I regret.

Let me remind you that the very first daycare he was in since he was a baby discharged him and his siblings because they had contracted hand, foot and mouth virus which is a super common virus usually contracted in daycare go figure.  He never got over being in his mind thrown in the second daycare to be honest.  I don’t even ride past that old daycare anymore to avoid the why did she let us go questions.

In the turn of events, since not being enrolled in either daycare, my son has bounced back.  So in my mom heart, it has given me such a calm.  I went from getting calls daily because of my son’s responses to what was happening to none.  Not like a call but it wasn’t bad nope, to NONE.  Let me tell you how happy that has made me feel within itself.  He is back to enjoying going back to camp or as he calls it school since he starts kindergarten next week.  He smiles when you pick him up.  He is excited about all of the trips.  But it’s now coming to an end today.  It was great for him to have this positive experience before he starts school next week.

Let me say and make clear, I do not place blame at the previous daycare at all.  The first one I simply do not have anything positive to say on their behalf.  However the second one just wasn’t a good fit and if I be honest it wasn’t a good full fit for our family in the long run.  The reason is simple the second my son after a few months hadn’t adjusted I should have pulled him.  As a mom I should have set myself to the side on it and followed his cue.  It would have saved time and energy but we all live and learn.

Camp has done both he and his oldest sibling super well.  One its been a great peace not having to pay for field trips in addition to his tuition weekly.  Lawd, trying to keep straight who goes where and spending money for all is a lot in itself.  This camp provided all of that with the tuition and all the kids had the same things except if there was an allergy issue.  Do you know how much of a mom win that is?  A huge one.  So they won me over right from the start. Was it more money?  Absolutely.  But like my husband and I say you get what you pay for.  So we adjusted.  the kids had a blast.  Some of their trips I was kind of jelly over.  They really had a good time and not one provider did I have an issue with. That is a blessing.  Camps and daycare cost too much to deal with bad attitudes and bad vibes.  I tell people all the time, the ones who keep our children so we can work have hard jobs.  However this is something that you choose.  If you get to a point as a daycare worker or teacher and you heart isn’t in it, its time to renew your mind or find a new career.  This coming in and out snubbing parents, acting passive aggressive, or just altogether rude, will not cut in this field.  This goes for administrators too. You have to either love what you do, take a break, or keep it moving.  Nobody should have to come into your place of business and especially if they are paying for their kids to attend to deal with your nasty attitude either.

Here are a few things I want to highlight as we end camp and go into the school year:

  1. Know your money has power.  Although in daycare kids come and go, never forget that you are still paying for a service.  If you don’t like it, give notice and find somewhere else to go.  It’s simple.  You don’t have to argue.  Know your own money power and do what you have to do.
  2. Along with money power know the background and this is really for other camps and daycare.  A lot of camps have parents and families who run off of government assistance.  I am not knocking it, but never treat others better than or worst because of it.  Just because of a subsidy they have the same buying power.  Keep in mind that to the ones who pay cash can sometimes keep your daycare afloat if the government furloughs. Government has and will furlough again and if that happens it’s sometimes the cash paying clients are the ones that take the sting off behind the scenes.  How do I know this, my twin has been in the field since we were 18, we are now 36 I know a lot more than I let people believe.
  3. You can make a grievance with the daycare and if they don’t hear you, they are governed by laws that they have to uphold.  In Pa there is a star system and anything done that doesn’t align to that system that the daycare is on can be reported and you don’t have to simply take what they give you.  They can’t retaliate against you or withdraw your child.  Always check with the department of welfare or the state to see if the daycare has had any violations.  This is your duty as a parent and your right to do so.
  4. Find a daycare that has everything in writing especially for how they will handle instances of bullying or behavioral.  If you do not you will be battling air.  The reason is without these practices in writing daycare and camps can do as they please and you will only be able to complain or make static if they don’t abide by the laws.  Most daycares will abide by the law but not by a moral and human standard if they don’t feel as if things weren’t an issue.  Trust me.
  5. Never sign a non disclosure agreement if you leave.  Don’t sign it.  Get a copy if they ask you to and take it to an attorney.  I can’t even think why they would have one but trust and believe I keep an attorney on stand by and I will sign Donald Duck before I sign my name to some trash like that.  Daycares and camps run off a word of mouth for the most part.  Sorry not sorry.  We are talking about human lives. How the facility acts when things are less than stellar speaks about how they truly run.  I for one think others need to be cautious and asking those who was there if you have the ability to do so is key.
  6. If you are ever in a position where you don’t get along with administration even if its one or more of the persons in charge, made the decision if you are willing to stay with all things the same.  In other words, if the person (s) you do not get along can you deal with that for the sake of your child.  Sometimes you can and other times you can’t.  You should never feel like you are stuck.  IF you do, your child will pick up on that resentment.  If I am honest I know my kids have done so and looking at the situation I may or may not be sorry about that. I wrote about vibes and for me vibes matter.  I have had bad vibes with a person and how that person continues to act may suggest if I should correct the issue or let it go and move on.
  7. Do not allow your child to do something that you didn’t sign for.  For instance the Summer has been filled with drowning deaths.  One event comes to mine with the daycare from the South who was supposed to hike but then took the kids swimming and the child drowned and died.  This type of stuff infuriates me.  Do not send home a permission slip, get permission from the parent to do that activity and change without notifying and getting permission from the parent.  That was a free nugget for any daycare or camp.  This is a huge lawsuit waiting to happen. Even more there is a family that is experiencing life without the life of a child who could still be here had they followed the laws and rules.
  8. Do not be afraid to find another camp, daycare or school.  Listen as we go into the school year, my kids have the privilege to go to private school, with that we literally mean business when it comes to their education, and how much we spend and what we expect.  We do over and beyond on all fundraisers, attend all meetings, engage all year without a parent teacher conference, attend all parties, come to all functions, and pay our fees during the year as asked I literally will put up with ZERO foolishness from administration.  We mean zero.  No one has to chase us to be involved with our kids lives and with that in mind I demand that the school hold up their end of the bargain at all times.  There is no pat on the back for what we do and neither will it be for those who teach them.  So we all have to be held accountable.

I want to shout out the second and last daycare/camp for the time they have had with my children.  As we transition into the next phase of our children’s journey, there is no hard feelings whatsoever but its time to continue down the path of excellence.  The kids have been super happy and that makes us super happy as parents.  This blog was not a means to air out any grievances.  This blog is to empower parents to never forget your power when dealing with daycare, daycare providers, camps, or schools.  Just because for those who work, and having someone to keep our kids is a must, doesn’t mean you have to take junk just to get through.  You were in control the minute you signed the contract and you are in control until you discontinue the relationship.  I hope that this blog gets you engaged on what some providers will do, what you don’t have to tolerate, and why you need to be on the lookout for in the future.  If you are fortunate to have someone who you trust keep your kids, do not let your guard down just because they are family or friends either.  Be vigilant in what you need, what importantly your kids needs, and realize that business is business and the business of healthy, happy, and engaged kids is most important.  Lastly trust your gut, and listen to your child.  Do not do what I did and air on caution for yourself.  Trust yourself.  Goodbye to Summer Camp but come through 2017/2018 school year!!

Mid Week Recap: June 7, 2017

Since the days have been a little crazy and I haven’t blogged in a few days I figured why not today?  So if you read my last recap than you know that I am preparing my house and myself for my hysterectomy.  I figured since I have now had my gall bladder and appendix removed and outside of child-birth would be done with surgeries, but I am not. As I handle the logistics like meal prepping, laundry and cleaning (as if that will ever be done) my mind is all over the place.

Another issue that has come up is that I had to get a mammogram.  I have never done it before until yesterday’s appointment.  Let me dispel all of the horror stories and say that it isn’t life changing in the fact that you hurt so bad you can’t think.  It is uncomfortable. It feels what ladies feel at the first few days of your menstrual when you are sore.  It was painless and didn’t take long.  I was pretty optimistic that things would go well until I got the results 30 or so minutes later and now I have to go back next week and have the procedure redone.  Now before I allowed my mind to take me there with a grandmother and mother who have had their dance with breast cancer, the technician warned me since it was my first time I most likely would be called back.  The reason is simple, there are no images to compare if there really is something wrong.  So next week I will be back.  Until there is a reason to worry I won’t.

One of the things I can’t stress enough is for ladies, please do monthly self breast exams. They are yours-touch them and make sure all is well.  Breast cancer is devastating but what’s more devastating is having a line of defense to feel when something isn’t right but not use it.  Be vigilant about your reproductive health as well.  There aren’t a lot of do overs in the reproductive world.  You need to care about yourself enough to check yourself.

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So in the next week things are going to get crazy.  My kids will be starting camp and finishing their last week of school.  I will have had the surgery and my husband will be the one that the kids run to the most until I heal.  I am okay with it.  I have talked to many women that have all suggested a few things and one of the top things that all of them have stated was to be good to myself during this process.  It’s a bit nerve-racking when I think and wonder if I will have to do hormone therapy and how that will affect me and my family mostly.  I will be talking to the doctor about that in-depth.

Emotionally one of the things that I have felt was like wait I really can’t have anymore kids.  It went away but it was a bit overwhelming.  It wasn’t something I felt when I got my tubes tied after my 3rd child.  I had no sadness in me until I found out about this hysterectomy.  I can’t explain it but I know that other women have gone through it. It was like I was at a funeral.  You know me and funerals never get along.  So after about 15 minutes of this semi despair feeling I was okay. I got myself together.  I was able to move on.

On a happier and lighter note, my son, my bubs graduates from preschool today. If you know me know nothing else I make all celebrations big.  Now don’t get me twisted I am not inviting the masses or throwing a party.  I do things like decorate his room, and just make him feel overall special.  He has picked where he wants to go out to eat, just a day of showing him how super proud of him we are.  He moved from one school to this amazing school and since he has been super happy.  Seeing how unhappy he was before and now is such a relief.  Listen let me say on a side note when you have good kids and they start getting into trouble, do your research.  Find out what is going on.  I noticed with my son he would tell us things and we would ask things and it wasn’t adding up. However what I should have done months ago was moved him.  I felt it inside of me and didn’t act.  I was more concerned with having all 3 kids in different schools.  It’s a lot trust me but his happiness is worth it.  He is smiling everyday at drop off and pick up. He has friends who parents are more geared to how we raise our kids.  That matters trust me.

My job as a parent is to correct him when he needs it and celebrate him always.  We are going to do that.  He is super ready for kindergarten but I am not sure if kindergarten is ready for him!! This beam of light is going to be something amazing and not just because he is my child, but because he is determined to be great! Super congrats MJ!!

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Mommy Loves You Notes

So I get it when your child goes off to the land of education there are far more things to be worried about other than their education.  In this day and age you have to make sure you tell and teach your children what to do in case of a crisis.  You have to worry about if their being bullied.  You have to worry if they are in a position where another child or even teacher isn’t breaking them down mentally to where they aren’t attempting to harm themselves or others.  Whew.  It’s too much.  These are some of the things that when I was in school, I just didn’t have to worry to much about.  So with that being said, let’s fast forward to my daughter.  I am making her after school snack, and as usual I write mommy loves you on the front.  No big deal right?  Absolutely. I try to write this note on every last after school bag.  Sometimes if she makes her snacks herself, I add a little treat that she finds with a note. I’ve been doing this since Kindergarten.

My daughter says mommy can you sign your name on the bag?! I signed it not thinking of it. I finally asked her why.  So when she told me that the kids in her class think she is writing her own notes and that there’s no way her mom could love her, I got mad.  I know my response should have been off the cuff in a loving manner and deal with my daughter and I did after my first 5 second reaction which was pissed.  How dare some child think that as sweet as my child is that her mother wouldn’t love her enough to say I love you to her daily.  Then as I went into parent mode to love on her, I reminder her that she is too lovable for me not to write I love you everyday.  She smiled.  I felt like I had won.  However I further explained to my daughter that some parents may forget to give these little reminders to their kids. I told her that some households have a lot going on but in our households above making sure they have what they need, the most important need is showing love.

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Now let me be clear before the pitch forks of parents start rolling into my inbox, my letters to my child or the notes on her snack bag doesn’t mean I love mine any more than yours. It means that is MY way to be able to show her love and she looks forward to my messages. The message I needed to make clear with my child is that she is loved in this way and there are some homes who don’t take the time to show love. That is a fact.  You don’t have to like my fact but if you are bothered by it, than step up and do what’s best in your home. Far too many times we exchange gifts and electronics as means of love when reality is some kids are dying for a hug, a kiss, or just a few minutes of your time.  I am no where a perfect parent but it doesn’t matter if I will be late to spend a few minutes in prayer with my kids.  I make sure that above all that before they leave me that any issues had our squashed.  You know why?  How many children have to leave their home and never return where parents say I wish I had said I love you.  Now that my daughter is of school age, my stress is always up every time she goes to school.  I need her to know that I love her, I am here for her and her siblings, and that if anything should go down that her last impression of me is love.  It doesn’t matter if there will be times when she doesn’t like me, I love her and she will know it.

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Listen every mother has a birth story for every last child, but my life has literally been on the line for my children and I have gotten every dramatic life altering thing possible during my pregnancies.  I loved them before I even met them.  I want them to know that above any thing I ever do or give them.  I don’t know what the future holds for my children, but they have to know that there is someone in this world that loves them unconditionally.  I and her father will be that to them.  Now for other parents, aunts, grandparents, friends, etc. reading this blog. Let’s do better.  As much as I want to say that the child or children who made the comment are off as 2 left shoes, the real issue is that the child or children are growing up in homes where this seems abnormal.  Even if it’s not in cute notes, please make sure that the people who you raise, help raise or influence KNOW that they are loved.  They should see the manifestation of that love in more than your responsibility to them.  Yes you have to work, sometimes under paid and deal with the most ugliest of adults in how their spirit and mouths are towards others, but it cost nothing to give an extra hug. Please show kindness so our children can see this around them.  I am reading too many stories of kids killing themselves and they aren’t even out of elementary school.  We aren’t doing enough to surround our kids with affirmations.  I know we are busy.  I am busy.  I however pledge to make a difference in the lives of the 3 that call me mom. I would rather what I want to take a back seat so that they aren’t on some couch of a therapist over some stuff I did or didn’t do for them.  I want them to be sound individuals who know what love loves like and what it feels like.

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Please increase love and how you show love in your homes.  Our children are hungry for the affirmation.

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Mama Bear Doesn’t Play

So in this week I have been the most out of way since I found out I was pregnant in 2009. To say that this has been “one of those” weeks is a true understatement.  So let me tell you in the best way I know how and that is to write about it.

So last week my youngest contracted the infamous foot, hand and mouth virus.  If you have ever had a child get this or been around a child you know that its one of the most irritating sicknesses to have.  When we found out about her having it on top of her ear infection we pulled her out of daycare.  She was practically out for a full week.  So then fast forward to last Friday when my son gets it.  We took him to the doctors who stated that as long as he wasn’t having fevers that he could return and how common it was.  I had never even heard of it before.  So we took him out until Tuesday.  After we dropped him off we were called back to get him.  My husband was about 5 minutes to his job when he had to turn around.  How irritating but he got him.  Daycare stated he had to stay out until he had no visible signs of anything happening to him.  So we dove into parent mode and found a sitter to keep him.  We called the daycare to inform her that the girls would still be coming about 630pm.  At 1139pm I get a text message that states that your children are no longer welcome back at daycare.  Let me help you out, this was at 1139.  I don’t know where you live in your part of the world but most daycare facilities are not open to do tours and to get kids placed in.  We went into a brief panic.  I immediately told my husband let’s pray because God got us and this. Was I upset?  Um, most definitely.

How do you text a family at 1139pm?  Like not for nothing, how is that possible?  We have always been on time with payment as we do not get any assistance.  We have always followed her rules.  How do you text someone when you had the opportunity to say they couldn’t return at 10 am at pick up that day.  Even at the 630pm call that could have been stated but nope you go from it being okay to none of your children are welcome.  This is a common virus not someone who has AIDS or HIV and knowingly affects others.  This is a virus like any other virus.  When a child is at school and a virus goes around, do you expel the first child that shows symptoms?  No.  I can’t believe that a daycare facility would be this ignorant in how they operate.  SO yeah this is where we are with them.

The first thing I thought about was my kids.  We had been with the same daycare for over 3 years.  How can someone kick them out of daycare because other kids had contracted a virus. There was no way to say it came from my kids just because they were the first to show signs.  My oldest who lives with us obviously didn’t get the virus.  If 2 other kids got it just like kids viruses, they come and go.  One thing I have learned with putting kids in daycare is that it’s a cess pool of germs.  When my kids was home with me full-time they didn’t have these issues.  I thought about how attached all of my kids had been to the daycare. I thought about the growth they had experienced.  How hurt they would be when they woke up to have to literally change their schedules. I was devastated.  I don’t break easily but this moved me.  I had to tell my kids when they woke up and the looks on their face made the sting that much harder.  My son kept saying it was his fault since he got sick.  I had to reassure him that it wasn’t the case.  We never told him why he was kicked out we just kept it that its time for change and that change is hard.  I do not think kids should have to absorb adult issues and I refuse to allow that to happen now.

Now if you know me you should know that I do NOT play when it comes to my kids.  I have already made the necessary calls that I need to on my and their behalf.  I will let karma get her but whatever is in my power to do I will. I will not sit and idly let another person or business take advantage of anyone like this.  This was one of the most unprofessional things I have seen in quite some time. You do not do people like that and expect any good to come back your way.  I do know that she will get hers and I’m not wishing evil on her but it is what it is.  Karma gives you what you deserve.

Although the kids have someone keeping them temporarily so we can get through this work week, it’s hard to see how sad my kids have been when I pick them up.  I know kids bounce back like nothing after a while but they are kids and they have a right to be disappointed.  I can’t imagine what their little hearts are feeling since I know the anger that I feel now.  Trust me I know I will let it go that’s what I am supposed to do but that will come with time.  Once I get them in a place that they love then I will be relieved.  Until that time I am on edge everyday about their care.  I am a good mom and I do not belief in having kids just watched.  I need my children to have continued education stimulation with play. So we are almost at the breaking point of finding them care.  I am glad about that, but it still makes me sad that we had to do so like this.

Publicly I will not release the name of the daycare, but for the ones that have asked I have graciously given a very bad review of what we have gone through and some other little things that we have experienced as well.  Like I said this momma bear doesn’t play and I know in time that my kids will be back to their bubbly selves.  In the meantime we are just loving on them more and working through their anxiety as they transition.  The family will arise from this, but until then healing takes time.  My son’s scabs fell off the next morning after the 1139 pm text.  He is physically fine and that is a blessing.  For parents who may have found themselves in a horror story for daycare I get it.  This is the first time anything like this has happened to our family and it will be the last if I can help it.