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I am reading these comments with great interest. I have been a licensed day care provider for 7 years. I have found that being the only male provider in my area, not including a couple who assist their partners, I have a unique view of the whole men in child care discussion. First i will say that I know from speaking with my female friends who are also providers that I recieve far fewer calls about available space and cost of my program than they do. There is a pre-screening process which occurs in the home and among their friends and family. Families who call me are not calling to see if my rate is 50 cents lower than the next provider. They have all except for one family called ready for a site visit and to sign their child up. Many have been ready to leave their children before they even visit.
I have had only 2 instances of mom’s having a problem with me changing their daughters diapers. One was the only family I ever pre-screened out. The mom insisted I leave the disposable diaper on her 11 month old until it was ready to explode. She didn’t want her daughter going through to many diapers. I told her I had lots of experience with cloth diapers and was willing to deal with those but she didn’t like dealing with them. I knew if we were butting heads on diapers our philosophies were just not going to mesh. The other family was a single mom and 18 month old daughter. She eventually got used to the idea but was never comfortable with me. There are not too many child care options up here in the hill towns of Western Ma. so she was stuck with me.
Shit I am off track here. Ok Diapering.. I believe it is all about trust. Trust between the care giver and child. Children can feel it and without trust there is nothing! Parents can’t believe that their children will just lie right down and allow me to change them where at home it is one big battle or a drawn out game. No games here, but I do hold real conversations with a child when diapering. Not goo goo but real dialogue and children do respond. I also believe that paying attention to each childs rythms and tendencies also is a big help. I don’t let children hang out in wet or soiled diapers. I have even been accused of changing children too often. I have sent home a child once in 7 years with a diaper rash that wasn’t there when the child arrived. That was because I had used scented wipes and she had a reaction to them. So now only non scented wipes for me. I think my record for number of changed diapers in a 10 hour day is between 35 and 40.
I am not sure however what the reaction would be in a center based program where the men are part of the program and not an option or a choice as with me. Sorry i rambled here. I will try and be more on target next time.
Thanks to everyone both male and female out there who work with and nurture children.
As for being an activist my only contribution so far is complaining enough that the local Chile’s restaurant installed a diaper deck in the mens room. They got tired of me walking into the women’s room and changing my daughter. But the local Applebees did not install one, maybe they have by now 8 years later but I wouldn’t know. I never returned. The other way is just by being me!