Saturday, April 09, 2005

One of these days...

...I'm going to make my millions, and then quit my job and open a daycare. I realize that sounds odd for a tech geek (and a man) to say, but I can't think of any career changes that would make me happier.

The master plan includes recruiting all the women I've worked with over the years who truly loved kids (not just keeping up the appearance of being nurturing and maternal, but who really thought kids were cool -- about 1 in 5), hated their jobs (most), and who would still dane to have a conversation with me (about half), and who have seen me shower my daughter with affection and praise (all of them).

With me and my geek-gone-caregiver posse, we would create a very mentally stimulating environment for young tots, with computers a-plenty, board games, RC cars, maybe an arcade cabinet or two for the school-agers who only stay during the summer. And naturally, I'd be the hero for organizing the whole thing, which, while not my primary motivation, is a large part of the appeal.

On my old site I talk about this a little bit in some of the earlier blog entries in the archive. What got me thinking about it again was this song I downloaded ("Bate, bate, chocolate", a kindergarten song in Spanish about mixing chocolate) when looking for iTunes songs for Stacey. It reminded me of this woman who was a caregiver to Stacey for a while when she was 3 and 4.

Her name was Elizabeth, and I don't think she's ever felt sad in her entire life. She loved the kids she took care of, and the kids all wanted to adopt her as their new mom. The day that always comes to mind when I think of her is one where I was a little later than normal dropping Stacey off. Elizabeth had the kids sitting in a circle of chairs, and when Stacey saw what was going on she booked over there to join in, foregoing the goodbye kiss and sad look she usually gave me.

They were singing "Little cabin in the woods", where each kid has to chime in with what is chasing them to make them go running by, scared as they could be. The round ends with the kid being rescued by the kid who came before, and runs up to Elizabeth and gives her a giant hug when she says "Come little Stacey, come with me, happy you will always be."

I had never seen anything like that before. Stacey was so happy, as were the other kids, and the song leader was enjoying herself as much as Tricia Sebastian is in the "Chocolate" song above. For the two minutes I was there observing before I left, I was in love with her. She really was going to rescue Stacey from all the mean things. It was beautiful.

At the same time, it was a simple child's game, singing in rounds, making up the thing that is chasing you (bears, lions, motorcycles -- none of the girls chimed in "boys", which I was a little bummed about), and Elizabeth and the kids probably forgot about it soon thereafter and went about their normal lives. It was part of the day, and it was normal, and it didn't change anything. But to me, it was special.

Nothing I did at the time was that special. I waited for my phone to ring and painstakingly waited for a chance to speak so I could explain how the caller had failed to follow instructions, or how our programmers had failed to write a quiality product. No saving people from the bears chasing them, no mixing chocolate. Maybe I was making more money than a daycare teacher, but It was I who had the short end of the stick.

So one day, after I make my millions... One of these days.

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