Seriously, is that not the most dramatic-looking tantrum face you’ve ever seen?
Driving home, after picking up The Kid the other day, we had a conversation that went something like this:
Me: “how was your day at school, my love?”
The Kid: “mommy, I play with Teagan. I play with Teagan and Shaelynn. I ate all my lunch. I shoot Shaelynn and Shaelynn shouted and Sunna smack me.”
(Side note: a) I was amazed at the length of the sentence and the construction of all the events that occurred during the day into a logical order. b) ‘Teagan’ and ‘Shaelynn’ are two of his friends at school and ‘Sunna’ is what the kids call their daymother.)
Now, when the Kid was about 7 months old, we made the decision to find some sort of day-care for him. Just for two days a week, so I could study and have some alone-time during the day. We searched and searched, visited many nursery schools and creches until eventually it dawned on The Boyfriend one day that his friend’s mother is a daymother. That she lives in our area and has been looking after children ever since he could remember (he’s been friends with this guy since primary school, apparently). And that many of our friends send their kids to this daymother as well.
So I went and met her, checked out her facilities, had a long chat with her. Absolutely lovely lady. Trusted her from the moment I met her. Which is a good thing, when you’re placing your child in someone else’s care. Our routine commenced. The Kid went to her twice a week, from the age of 8 months. Before he could crawl. She taught him to crawl. She looked after him, she changed his nappies, gave him his meals, and played with him. Loved him and built a bond, a friendship and a relationship with him, just like she does for the handful of other kids she looks after.
My Kid gets excited when I tell him in the mornings he’s “going to go play at Sunna’s house”. His face lights up when he sees her. She has absolutely no problems getting him to eat – he eats everything she cooks. With me, it’s a different story. In short – she’s the best decision we ever made in terms of alternative care for our child, when I wasn’t able.
He now goes to her five days a week. From eight in the morning until four in the afternoon. He gets to play with his friends, paint, draw, play in the garden and basically have as much fun as small children can have. He gets individual attention, and he’s not just one in a group of many. He’s happy, he’s well-adjusted, he has no problems sleeping at night and he is a friendly, loving child. (Loving = if you bribe him just right) 😉
This is not the first time he’s told me he’s gotten a smack from Sunna. I’ve also heard him say that other kids get a smack too. But I dont hear it often and these statements are generally prefaced with “I kicked Shaelynn” or “Teagan shouted at me” or “I wouldn’t share my trucks with Teagan” – so he gets the whole point of the smack. That the smack was because he or his friends did something wrong. That it serves a purpose, and a disciplinary one at that.
Am I right in feeling totally okay with another person (the person I decided worthy of raising my child in my absence) disciplining my child in this manner? I think I am. After all, if I’m not around to do it, why shouldn’t she?
After all, it’s only a smack*, right?
*Let me be clear on what my definition of a ‘smack’ is: my hand applied to my Kid’s backside (which is nappy-covered) with just enough force to generate a ‘smack’ noise. It doesn’t hurt (his backside is padded) and I by no means practice/endorse any form of child abuse/beating whatsoever.