I’m Ruining the Leaders of Tomorrow with Excessive Praise

They say my generation is spoiled. Entitled. That we want things served to us on a silver spoon; that we don’t know how to work for things; that we expect a salary of 50K right out of the gate.

Well, judging by the state of today’s daycares, the next generation won’t be much better.

Every last one of them, at least at my school, is treated like Jesus himself.

And I’m partly to blame for this.

Why? I do nothing but dish out praise. All day long.

I’m not one to coddle. My general approach to rearing, not that I have much to go on, is one of tough love, joking with kids, treating them a bit older than they are. The problem is, 1-year-olds just don’t get the humor. The only thing they get are facial expressions and tones, and so let me tell you, never in my life have I doled out so many compliments, and in a screeching falsetto at that.

I’m congratulating these kids for EVERYTHING. Things I didn’t think it was humanly possible to get excited about, I’m feigning ecstasy. I practically went into cardiac arrest celebrating with my 2-year-old when he shit into a plastic bucket. YOU MADE POO!!! I cried with him in unison, as he and his fat rolls jumped for joy. The tone of my voice suggested that he found a cure for Ebola; not that he did a bodily function that, when combined with an almost exclusively pureed diet, is nearly as involuntary as breathing.

daycare art

If these are the colors of autumn we should all just hibernate till spring.

Their artwork? Don’t get me started on their fucking artwork. It looks almost exactly like the turd the previous kid left in the toilet, except, right on cue, I’m celebrating it like it was Picasso’s. I’ve been taught over and over again that it’s not right to lie, but here I am acting like two brown blobs on a piece of paper was the greatest thing Spain’s turned out since the recipe for croquettes. SOMEONE CALL B.’S FATHER. I know it’s a bit too early to tell, but we may have a real artist on our hands!!!!

I’m congratulating these kids for swallowing pasta. Seriously, I eat between 3 and 17 meals a day—NO ONE IS GIVING ME MUCH CREDIT. Yet I’m fawning over these little guys with each bite they keep down. I can only wish that each time I compulsively reached for the chocolate bars, I’d be met with a cheerleading squad instead of an internal monologue of regret.

Little C. spots the difference between 3 and 4, and it’s like he won Mathletes. Little M. correctly pronounces my name—she says Jenny instead of her usual ‘Shenny’—and the amount of kisses I smother her with will probably make her mommy-dependent for life. Little G. manages to sip water without spilling half of it on his smock, and fire up the canons, it’s like the 4th of July up in here.

daycare paint

I can’t help but feel a little jealous. I’m busting my ass drawing, reading, singing, dancing, wearing 10 different hats just to entertain these kids, and yet THEY get the praise just for pooping?! Thanks to all those fiber-rich lentils I helped spoon-feed them yesterday!!

I know we’re supposed to make kids feel loved, cherished, safe. And I’m not a horrible person—I do it like the rest of ’em, because it’s human nature, and I guess there’s a little thing called compassion. But once, just once, instead of jumping for joy when a child takes a dump, I want to be allowed to scream, “GREAT, NEXT LEARN HOW TO WIPE YOURSELF, SO I CAN TAKE A DAY OFF.”


P.S. Despite light-hearted posts on this blog that indicate otherwise, no need for alarm—I’m not emotionally scarring these kids, I promise ;) The parents of the children at my daycare have nothing to worry about. I, on the other hand, will be seeking a therapist the minute I’m out of here.