A day in the life of a caregiver…

WARNING: this whole blog is about my current life experience with kids, so if you don’t like kids or think that whole topic is boring, then…! 😉

Maybe it’s because I’m sick and I’m still working, but I really have such a low patience for things these last few days.

Like, I’m suppose to speak English to these babies I take care of. Which I do. But, my understanding is that the family would like these babies to have English as a second language. Well, that is not going to happen with the current way things are set up. They also have people speaking other languages that are with them. The difference being, when they’re in the other languages, they are immersed…meaning, they don’t hear any other languages besides that one. Not so, in my case. There is almost always someone else speaking another language at the same time. Or, I’ll be reading a book to one of the kids, and someone will come and interrupt us, distracting the kid to go to the other person. This happened today. Twice. By my boss. So, it makes me wonder…do they not want me to do my job well, or…? It’s much easier to keep speaking with the kids when I already have them engaged, than to have to try and engage them once someone else has already distracted them. I feel like they are paying more attention when I’m interacting with them, vs me just talking talking in the background. Which is challenging with a sore throat and a cough, while wearing a nurse’s mask that doesn’t allow much for breathing. ALL DAY.

I think part of it is because I’m with the kids for more hours than any of the other teachers, and I also live with the kids. So, there’s an assumption that they hear more English. I don’t think the quality of our interactions is that great. So, then I try to be, Whatever. I am doing my job well and that’s it. If the kids don’t happen to learn English, as well as the other languages, then that’s not my fault.

WRONG. Unfortunately, that’s not how it works. It’s not about me doing my job well and that’s it. Because that’s not how the bosses see it. How they see it is, the kids should be speaking English.Regardless of circumstances. So, even though they don’t support me in what they want me to do, they have these expectations. Here is where the frustration comes in.

Yes, I’ve tried speaking to the bosses a few times. They still say, But you work so many more hours…of course they will. Not taking into account that I’m almost always competing against other people. Or moreso that I should explain that to the person who is speaking another language while I’m there. Unless it’s them.

And, there’s also the different belief systems in certain things. That’s tough. Having to do things in a way that I believe isn’t helping the kids. For example, the kids are always sick. Their noses are almost always running. That’s tough for me to see, because I think that some of the choices being made are enabling them to constantly be sick. I also find it difficult to live and work under an umbrella of constant fear. Like, if a kid is crying, it’s like, What’s wrong?? What happened? Usually the answer is, he didn’t get what he wanted, so he’s pitching a fit and having a tantrum. That happens very often. If we don’t buy into it, then they won’t use that way of doing it. But, it’s always bought into. And so the cycle continues.

Another thing is: favouritism. I’ve been taking this course (as you may have read in past blogs) about how men and women are treated differently, pretty much from birth. I’m really noticing it with these twins. However, they are both boys. One of them is definitely treated more like a girl might be treated. He is “sweeter” (as we label him) and wants to be held more. He is the smaller one of the two and had some scary health challenges when he was born. Thus, since then, he has been treated much more like a delicate glass vase. For example, if he falls, and cries, one of the caregivers will run to him, pick him up and hold him. Whereas, with the other boy, they say “Get up! Get up!” Not surprisingly, when this boy falls, he doesn’t really make a big fuss out of it usually, because he gets up. Whereas, the first one knows that if he cries and makes a big fuss, he’ll usually get what he wants. Don’t get me wrong, they’re both quite “spoiled” in the sense that almost everyone gives them what they want, when they want it. The one twin is treated more “like a girl” might be, in that people are gentler etc. with him.

An example today re: the favouritism is: there are two caregivers that work with the kids. Caregiver #1 has chosen Twin #1 and Caregiver #2 has chosen Twin #2. So, whenever it’s time to eat, go to sleep, get cuddled, get consoled…the kids go to this particular person. However, today, Twin #1 wanted to go to Caregiver #2 (and he has been doing this a bit more lately, I noticed). Well, Twin #2 got jealous and started a tantrum that Twin #1 would go to “his” person. However, the Caregiver didn’t even want to have Twin #1 go to them. They immediately wanted to drop him and console Twin #2. What the heck?! My understanding is that the Caregivers take care of both of the kids and while, yes, they have very clear preferences of which child they want to be with, when one of them comes to you first, please be with him and not want to drop him the second the other child has a tantrum. Because I brought the tantrumming child over to play with some of the toys and distracted him, and he was fine.

Note: the kids are *just* starting to interact with each other in a positive way. They can play near each other, no problem. When it comes to actually interacting, it tends to be that they mostly push/hit/bite each other and compete for people’s attention, mostly their dad’s. One of the twins feels very possessive over the dad. Which, initially I thought that was sweet, but I’m starting to question if his attachments may not be healthy. Sometimes how the adults interact with him and he gets panicked if they go downstairs, the adults feel complimented by that. Like, Oh he loves me! I use to feel bad that they never do that with me, but then I thought, maybe that’s healthier! Maybe it’s healthier that they enjoy their time with me, but don’t freak out crying when I leave the room. Both of the kids do that freak out thing with a few people. One of them has done it for quite a long time, but the other has now started and I see that it’s related to 1) the kid wants to go downstairs with the person, often; but 2) the adult sometimes milks it…meaning, instead of just saying, Bye. I’m going downstairs. See you later. And calmly going. There is all of this time spent blowing kisses, and saying Byeeeeee and prolonging it, so in the beginning when they were saying Bye, the kid was fine. But then, the more they drew it out, the more the kid started getting worked up and crying. One adult in particular seems to get joy out of it because I imagine they take it to mean that the kid loves them and doesn’t want them to go. The part that I find difficult is that the kid gets worked up and upset, for what I perceive to be, no reason. In order for them to feel a sense of self-worth, they’re putting it onto the child.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no perfect angel either. I love it when the kids choose to come with me and I’ve made it mean that they like me more in that moment. I don’t really think that’s true though. Who knows why they are choosing that?

At the end of the day, even though I live with them and care about them a lot, I remember to remind myself that I am just an employee and have no choice about these things because I am just that…an employee. I find it very difficult, because I care about them a lot and I see some dynamics and choices that I think aren’t healthy. But, I guess bottom line is, suck it up or leave.

Now, time for food and bed. Rest this body up so I can be fully functioning soon. xo

*M

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