Tuesday, July 17, 2012
SPC - Illusions - #3
The illusion here is subtle. There are no visual tricks. No smoke. No mirrors.
The illusion is 'comfort and control.'
These five children (2 are mine) were in my charge during the days Monday-Thursday last week.
Allow me to explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
My wife, Christy, quit her job in the social work field just a few months after Harrison (our youngest) was born (so about 5 years ago). Since then, she has been babysitting other peoples' children out of our home to help make ends meet.
Harrison starts kindergarten this coming fall (!) and Christy started pursuing her Master's degree in Social Work last fall. So she is one year into a three-year program (part time; Saturday classes only).
Her second semester of her second year (so Spring semester, 2013) requires a practicum. In preparation for admittance into the MSW program, the school (Indiana University) explained that it is very difficult to maintain another full-time job alongside the practicum when that time comes. Christy knew that, at some point, she would need to get out of the babysitting business so that she could do her practicum. She informed her current clients about this transition this summer so they would be able to make the switch at the beginning of the school year instead of at the (potentially) awkward December/January semester break.
She hoped that she would be able to acquire a part-time job of some kind to offset the loss of income from giving up her babysitting gig.
Well, she applied for a part-time job with the company for whom she was working when Harrison was born and got a job-offer with a manager that she knew and liked.
The only problem was that her training would either have to be last week or next week or she would have to pass on the job entirely. We knew that next week was out because we will be in Michigan celebrating Christy's parents' 50th (!) wedding anniversary. So it was last week or pass.
Passing on the job was certainly an option that was strongly considered. Another suitable part-time job may have become available but it might not have been in the right time or with the manager she knew.
From our perspective, doing the training last week was less than ideal because she had all five kids that week and it was also the week of our church's Vacation Bible School (VBS) and it was the week that Hannah needed to finish and submit her 4-H cake decorating project.
After speaking with the two Mothers of her babysitting families and being encouraged by them, she decided to accept the position.
I took the time off work and checked e-mail remotely when time allowed.
I remember being terrified the first time Christy left me alone with Hannah for longer than just a few minutes. I remember being terrified the first time Christy left me alone with an almost-5-year-old Hannah and an infant Harrison. This wasn't quite at that level, but let's just say I was a bit anxious. So Monday, we all stayed close to home. Things went remarkably well. Christy had made me a list of ideas for lunches and snacks and a schedule to follow about resting time, etc.
Monday night (after VBS), Christy encouraged me to try to take the kids to a park for a picnic on Tuesday. More anxiety, but I spent most of Tueaday morning getting items ready for a picnic, and again, it went remarkably smoothly.
That went so well that Wednesday and Thursday, we also headed out to different local parks. No picnic those days, but Christy assured me that they could have a snack at the park and then have a late lunch and they would be fine.
The reality is that Christy (and the parents of these kids) had already put in the hard work of establishing rules and boundaries and guidelines for behavior that these children undertand and by which they abide (for the most part). Her lists of helpful hints were also immensely, um, helpful.
The time with them also gave me the opportunity to experiment with a new lens (Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D) I acquired used from a friend.
The two oldest girls spend much of their time either entertaining each other or the other kids. The two 5-year-olds are similar. They understand their boundaries and don't often need assistance on the playground.
That left me with a 2-year-old muse:
I also managed to get some shots of the other kids...
I even managed to get some shots of my own kids...
Here is a link to all of the photos of the kids from the week: