Daycaring

December 16, 2009 at 3:25 pm 23 comments

I have always believed that the reason pregnancy lasts nine months is so the mother has just enough time to be ecstatic, freak out, calm down, plan accordingly, freak out, buy some cute outfits, freak out, eat burritos, take naps, then realize she is so huge and miserable she’d rather just be done with it already instead of expending the energy required to freak out one more time.

I am actually freaking out NOW, because I do not remember EVER being this huge, and when this photo was taken, I STILL HAD 6 WEEKS TO GO, HOLY AMBER WAVES OF ASS.

Anyhoo, for all my prenatal freaking out, the one thing I DID NOT anticipate was the surprisingly stressful situation of giving holiday gifts to Sadie’s daycare providers. She has spent the last four months in two separate rooms, being cared for by no less than five different women, and HOLY SHIT, I have no idea what to get these women that will be 1) appropriate, 2) affordable, 3) a proper conveyance of my sentiments, which are “THANKS FOR KEEPING MY BABY ALIVE BETWEEN THE HOURS OF 8 AND 5.”

Hey, that rhymes! Perhaps a singing telegram…?

In my frenzy to get this daycare gifting thing right, I turned to my old pal Google, which led me to a site in which actual daycare providers posted their most and least favorite holiday gifts to receive.* I was heartened to read how many of them said they really just wanted to be appreciated and thanked year-round, and to maybe get a card acknowledging how hard they work and how much they do. I mean, I can do that! I DO do that! But there were other responses that were not quite so warm and fuzzy. Say, Daycare Provider! What small token of love and appreciation would you like to receive from your daycare families during this season of joy and togetherness?

Numerous other sources have told me “proper etiquette” dictates that one should give child care providers a bonus equivalent to one week’s pay.

Is this “Proper Etiquette” bitch also Oprah? Because DAMN.

I am pretty sure that “one week’s pay” thing is meant for in-home providers, not a situation like ours in which we have so many people to thank. So where is my rule? Where is my etiquette? Will someone just tell me what the fuck to get these people already so I know whether we’ll be eating ramen noodles for a week or a month?!

Anyone know if they make these in baby food sizes? Pureed green bean ramen with DHA?

From the lovely site I referenced above, I gleaned that – if nothing else – daycare providers want thanks & acknowledgment. They don’t want piles of cookies and candies, they don’t want some cheap, junky reindeer votive holder that will get chucked in the bottom of a box for 11 months out of the year. Gift cards seem to be a hit, but for five people? Obviously, some of the ladies at Sadie’s daycare have been more involved with her than others (e.g. the woman who cared for her every afternoon of her first two months vs. the woman who only watches her for 20 minutes or so each morning before the rest of the staff shows up), but I can’t very well give them all something DIFFERENT, can I? So here’s what I’m thinking: a nice card with a personalized message, and a $10 Starbucks gift card. There’s one across the street, you can get multiple items for that amount, it’s something that won’t get thrown in a box, and it will help them stay awake for all those thrilling diaper changes. Done, done, and done. What do you think? Perfect? Cheap? Impersonal? I AM RUNNING OUT OF TIME AND IDEAS AND MONEY, INTERNET.

I am this close to getting them all fucking Christmas Shoes and calling it a day.

I’m sure I am over-thinking this, as I tend to do in 99.999% of situations, and I need to remember that all I can really do is give something in a spirit of sincere thanks, because sometimes you just can’t please everyone (or anyone). Case in point, from the glorious aforementioned website:

Those stupid fucking parents and their stupid fucking beautiful jewelry!

But don’t you even think about shopping on a budget up in here:

Noted.

*This website sparkles. Because OF COURSE IT DOES.

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Entry filed under: Gobble-gobble.

Milestones It’s a Marshmallow World

23 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Amy  |  December 16, 2009 at 4:25 pm

    I’ve always been a stay-at-home, so thank goodness I never needed to worry about 5 daycare provider gifts (holy cow, Batman!) However, this is the first year that Haley is in preschool. Two other moms and I pitched in to get her a $60 gift card to Target. Yes, it’s impersonal, but it’s the same thing as cash, and personally, I think it’s better than a coffee shop (no offense JT!) because almost everyone can find something at Target that’s fun or useful, like Kleenex. Why not? I’d love a Target gift card, myself.

    Reply
    • 2. jiveturkey  |  December 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm

      No offense taken – it’s a great point, and I’m actually headed to Target tonight! Score.

      Reply
  • 3. Amy  |  December 16, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    p.s. you looked fucking great at 34 weeks pregnant. Every time I felt like the process was never going to end, I reminded myself that elephants are pregnant for 2 years. 2 years! Can you imagine?

    Reply
    • 4. jiveturkey  |  December 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm

      As I said once before, this is why elephants go rogue.

      Reply
  • 5. kdiddy  |  December 16, 2009 at 4:39 pm

    I think a heartfelt note/letter (and maybe something sweet to go with it, ie, cookies/candy) would be the most appropriate. it’s good to remind them just how thankful you are, how being a family with two working parents is tough, but having good people do such a fantastic job keeping the shorty well and happy so that you can make a living is beyond thanks, etc. they’ll dig it. promise. that’s one of those undervalued jobs and they understand that you can’t shower them with cash, so the next best thing is to extra-appreciate them. when I had my son, it was my first real hospital stay, and I was completely bowled over by the care that the nurses gave me. and they were totally nonchalant about giving me suppositories so that I could poop, or helping me in and out of the shower, or coming to my room in the middle of the night because I had sneezed and though for sure that I had ripped open my c-section incision. because, you know, it’s just their job. but all of those things were essential to me and my kid getting through those first few days. when I left the hospital, I wrote them all a note just thanking them for all of their help. they were pretty taken aback.

    Reply
    • 6. jiveturkey  |  December 16, 2009 at 5:01 pm

      Thanks for the reassurance. I am just paranoid about making sure they feel appreciated and valued, because I really am grateful (and not just because I’m afraid if I’m not nice they will lock Sadie in the broom closet) (although I am afraid of that).

      I wanted to write the nurses a thank you note after having Sadie (especially kick-ass nurse Shirley on the postpartum floor), but then I totally forgot. I guess it’s not too late…

      Reply
  • 7. Dana  |  December 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    I struggle with this too. As a teacher, I LOVE gift cards from parents. I hate getting soap, lotion and candles. Last year, we just gave the babysitter $50 in a card.
    Doing the same this year, she seemed to like it. 🙂 I wanted to give her something she didn’t have to share with her kids or husband.
    However, we aren’t in a ‘daycare’ and there are not 5 providers. I think the Starbucks GC is perfect.
    Now for the end of the school year gift (we don’t use DC in the summer, since I am a teacher) We gave her a bottle of Patron Tequila and Margarita Mix. She definitely liked that.. just a suggestion- cause I KNOW ppl that work with kids drink, a lot. Its necessary.

    Reply
    • 8. jiveturkey  |  December 17, 2009 at 10:08 am

      Ha! I actually thought about the gift of booze, but I’m honestly not really sure if all of them drink, and I know one is still nursing twins (TWIIIIIIIIIINS).

      Reply
  • 9. sweetbird  |  December 16, 2009 at 8:19 pm

    I know whenever I look at the pictures of my sister in the hospital right before she gave birth and have some serious dissonance in believing that there is a real, live, honest-to-goodness baby in her stomach that I was holding just a little while later.

    As a woman with no kids, it also terrifies me.

    Also, Starbucks gift cards are perfect. And besides, if Oprah ever DID give out one week’s pay as an X-mas gift I bet she’d still make them pay taxes on it.

    Reply
    • 10. jiveturkey  |  December 17, 2009 at 10:09 am

      Dude, it terrifies ME, and I already had the kid. It’s crazy.

      Reply
  • 11. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  December 16, 2009 at 9:30 pm

    I’m one of two adults in America who does not drink coffee, so personally I would *not* appreciate the Starbucks gift card that much, but I’ve been given them before and I just give them to my bf, who loves them. So I’d probably go with the Target gift card myownself.

    For future reference, 5 or 6 years from now when you’re looking for gifts for teachers: when my kids were in elementary school, I always gave the teachers a gift certificate to The Learning Post, which is a really kick-ass educational store here. They have all sorts of classroom supplies and educational books and games and toys; I used to take my kids there and they always found something fun. My step-mom was a teacher and she was always spending her own money on little things for the classroom for which there was never enough money in the school budget. And then for the end-of-the-year gift I got them a Target gift card so they could spend it on some fun summer thing for themself.

    Reply
    • 12. jiveturkey  |  December 17, 2009 at 10:19 am

      I ended up scrapping the Starbucks card idea. But how the hell do you stay awake? Tea? Coke? Meth? How do people have children without coffee in the morning? I don’t understannnzzzzzzzzz….

      Reply
  • 13. 4th Reader of Said Turkey  |  December 16, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Also, those Christmas shoes are sort of wonderful, in a horrible sort of way.

    Reply
  • 14. shelli  |  December 16, 2009 at 11:12 pm

    we give about 25-50 per teacher, depending on how much they’ve had to deal with from one of our children. 😉

    A particularly poopy season? 45 bucks. in cold, hard, cash. in the envelope with a card.

    A meh job? 25 bucks.

    We have 3 teachers to gift, we’ll do 50 per teacher, because THEY ROCK THE FUCKING HOUSE, and 25 for the “floater.”

    I’m VERY grateful to be doing a theatre gig this winter, as it will pay for all of the farking tipping we have have to do!

    Reply
    • 15. jiveturkey  |  December 17, 2009 at 10:17 am

      I love your sliding scale of “how assy were our kids?” Hee!!

      Reply
  • 16. amy  |  December 17, 2009 at 9:12 am

    I with you… We got gift cards to the grocery store. I counted 6 providers that should get something from us for watching our 1 year old. The 2 main gals in his first room & the 2 main gals in his second room. The other two interacted particularly well with our son or were in either of his rooms for far longer than “during so&so’s lunch break.” Those gals have to get their groceries from some one else…

    The 1 week rule – definately does not apply to day care workers – especially not in the infant rooms! I am giving 6 gifts – not one. Maybe if I had a nanny…

    Reply
    • 17. jiveturkey  |  December 17, 2009 at 10:17 am

      Good idea with the grocery gift cards. A boss of mine once gave me a gift card to Trader Joe’s, and I thought that was awesome.

      Reply
  • 18. Austin  |  December 17, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    As a former preschool teacher my favorite holiday gifts were gift certificates to book stores. But I do think your idea of a Starbucks gift card is excellent; high caffeine intake is CRUCIAL in that setting!

    Gifts and gift cards were always exciting but my favorite gifts, the ones I still remember and have, were the thoughtful notes from parents that made it clear that they noticed not only the work I put into caring and teaching their child, but also that they saw that I honestly did CARE ABOUT their kid. It’s been a year and a half since I left teaching and I still think about and miss my kids. Just knowing you see that they know and love Sadie will be enough; trust me 🙂

    Reply
    • 19. jiveturkey  |  December 17, 2009 at 12:06 pm

      Thanks, Austin!

      Reply
  • 20. Chicago Friend of Said Turkey  |  December 17, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    I love the gift card route with a personal note of thanks. I think $10 is a lovely amount to give, especially considering the number of people you have to give to.

    Reply
  • 21. Marilyn  |  December 18, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    My son isn’t in daycare but he is in a preschool with two great teachers. I had my son make each of his teachers a card (obviously a bit beyond your daughter’s ability right now) and I put a $20 Blockbuster gift card in each. I knew some of the other Moms were giving Starbucks gift cards and/or cookies so I wanted to give them something useful but different. They seemed to like it.

    Reply
  • 22. Sarah  |  December 19, 2009 at 10:29 pm

    This is so timely because our mom’s group was just discussing this and we’re all feeling a bit insecure about these gifts. I also think you should go with a sliding scale considering that some of those 5 are not doing very much. Good luck!
    My situation: 2 daycare providers and 1 floater. I’m going to do $50 each for the main two and $10 for the floater (who my son randomly adores).

    Reply
  • 23. Sarah S.  |  December 21, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    As a teacher I have to say that gift cards are the best! In a good year I don’t have to pay for coffee for at least a few months…..booze is always nice as well, although if you don’t know if they drink that might be awkward! I got no booze this year seeing as I am 8 1/2 months pregnant! (don’t people realize I am going to need it later?)
    anyway, I am sure whatever you decide will be appreciated. Even the cheesy silver and gold candle holders from the dollar store are cute, even if I do have to make a trip to goodwill to donate it…..
    of course I teach middle school so really any student who is willing to muster the guts to give me something says a whole lot to me! 🙂

    Reply

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