9 Regrets Regarding My Illegal Day Care
Now that we're well under way for the 2013 day care calendar year, I'd like to take some time to go over some bookkeeping items. There is going to be an $8/student fee for miscellaneous sundries and arts and crafts supplies (discussed in detail below). There is a waiver form attached for a field trip that I'll need returned. And, sadly, there are several apologies that need to be made for the various hiccups that have occurred during this, the first two weeks of the Bucholz Early Learning Experience.
I Am Sorry About the Big Big Savings
This might seem an odd apology, but it gets to the root of some of the issues we've faced this school year. Specifically, I'm sorry that you find it necessary to use a day care in the first place. We live in an era where families require two or even three parents to be earning paychecks to make ends meet, meaning many of you don't even have the option of spending the day with your children. Or you find them so objectionable that you choose not to. Either way, I'm greatly saddened by the circumstances that led you to choose such a suspiciously cheap option for caring for your little treasures.
I Am Sorry About the Facilities
It's not unheard of for there to be a day care with no fixed address; in the time of hunter-gatherer tribes, the children would be left for the day with a group of caretaker adults who would remain somewhat mobile, a tradition that the Bucholz Early Learning Experience is proud to have guessed at without much research, and equally proud to carry on. And for the parents, the benefits of having door-to-door pickup and delivery are hard to deny.
"As you can see by this complicated paperwork, madam, this all looks pretty legit."
I know many of you may be surprised by this, and have assumed that the vehicle taking your child away every morning was just the pickup service and not in fact the entire day care itself, but in my defense, you didn't ask many hard questions, did you?
"$12 a month? Where do I sign?"
As some of you who were early adopters of the Bucholz Early Learning Experience will recall, my initial rolling day care was a 2002 Honda Civic, which, on a simple volume basis (with the rear seats down), I had estimated room for a class of about 25 toddlers. But due to word of mouth and a really shocking lack of judgment in your community, enrollment soon soared, and I was forced to upgrade the facilities.
The Bucholz Early Learning Experience XL, which is what most of you will be familiar with, is the brightly painted dump truck I borrowed from my cousin's failed contracting company. And although it lacks some of the features of the smaller facility, like seat belts and carpeted flooring, and no longer permits the children the simple pleasure of sticking their heads out the window, the extra space allows for a lot more nurturing flexibility. It actually already came with some wooden blocks in there for stacking and just generally having fun with ...
... and my cousin even threw in some arts and crafts supplies.
Well. Mostly just carpenter's glue. But he threw in a lot of it.
I Am Sorry About Gluing All the Children Together
It was the children who did this, really, not me, but that's a fine point that you might not share. I mean, if a drum of wood glue is put in the back of a multi-axle day care being driven by someone missing all sorts of the necessary licenses for doing that, it is arguably not entirely the children's fault when they get glued together.
It took a long time for me to even notice what the children had done, and even then I at first assumed that the children were just teaching themselves about infantry formations from antiquity.
"Closer, children, or the Persians will cut you to ribbons."
This kind of organic, self-guided learning happens a lot when you put 40 children in the back of a moving vehicle, I've found (for much of the previous week, the children had been teaching themselves about wrestling). It wasn't until an hour after that, when I noticed that none of them had broken rank, that I clued in. (Normally your children lack discipline -- the difference in attitude was remarkable. I'd suggest looking into glue-based punishments at home.)
I Am Sorry I Didn't Cancel the Field Trip
In a sense, every day is a field trip, even if it is just down to the Walmart parking lot. But on this particular day, I had promised the children a fun day at the zoo and wanted to hold my word, glue or no. They were extraordinarily excited, you see, which leads me to think you're not taking your children to the zoo enough. Or, perhaps, you're regularly taking them to a really awesome zoo.
Like one of the ones with giraffe fights.
Because they were not impressed with the zoo I took them to, which was the one off the highway rest stop just north of town. It's more of a grassy area beside the highway rest stop, I know now, but it always looked a lot bigger from the highway. So did the bears actually, which it turned out were just picnic tables.
And one actual bear.
I Am Sorry About the Frank Language
Many of the children may have reported to you that I used strong language in their presence. There's no excuse for this, but there is a reason. When the, uh, bear, approached me to ask why I was sprinkling Dorito crumbs on a group of crying children (to attract animals), I was forced to assert my authority as a child care enthusiast. Perhaps a little forcefully. (Specifically, I said the F-word and the S-word and made the gesture you do with your mouth and tongue and hand and left elbow and then say "Your mom. That's your mom" while talking to someone and pointing at your crotch.)
"AND YOUR DAD LIKES TO WATCH AND BEAT OFF."
Hence the apology.
I Am Sorry About the Animals
Seagulls lured by Doritos and trapped in a ball of glue and children make a hell of a noise -- not dissimilar to the sound children make when trapped in a ball of glue and seagulls, interestingly. This sound of food in distress attracted many of the other small predators of the region, and sensing an opportunity to teach the children about the food chain, I stood back and let nature take its course, as it were.
"Children, today's guest lecturer will be this vicious badger. I want you to give him all the respect and loose bits of meat you would normally give me."
I Am Sorry About the Police Chase
One side effect of running the best deal in child care is that I have made certain enemies in the full service child care industry. So I wasn't entirely surprised to see the police, those lackeys of the legitimate child care industry, pull into the highway rest stop, lights flashing. Here at the Bucholz Early Learning Experience, we have a kind of lovable, Dukes of Hazzard-esque relationship with the local constabulary, and are well-prepared for such events. I put "Radar Love" on repeat and left a massive patch of day care rubber behind.
Golden Earring also provided inspiration for the official Bucholz Early Education Experience uniforms.
Although not unexpected, I always regret involving 40-plus minors in my scrapes with the law (my experience running the Bucholz Textile Factory Experience left a real sour taste in my mouth), so I'll apologize profusely for that here. Although I should point out that I wasn't just acting in my own interests; I was protecting you from scrutiny as well. "What kind of monster would allow their children to be glued together in the back of a dump truck and led on a chase down windy mountain roads?" is a question I can easily ask the media asking about you in the days and weeks to come. "Beats me," I'd respond, shaking my head sadly in this interview where I'm being cited as a child care expert. "A big one?"
So just keep in mind that although I'm sorry for any bruising and pants-wetting and badger-panic my flight from the law provoked, all of the speed, drifting, and drawbridge ramping that followed was purely to protect you from scrutiny. Your $12 a month had elicited a sacred vow from me not to abandon your children, and I meant to keep my word.
I Am Sorry for Abandoning Your Children
As slapdash as the local police are, they aren't bad enough to lose a car chase with a day care, and by the time "Radar Love" started for the fourth time, I knew I probably wasn't going to lose them. At that point, with your children now clearly going to be captured either way, I concluded that leaving them behind could not morally be considered abandonment, and dumped them on the highway shoulder.
I slowed way, way down to do so. The hydraulics on the bed don't work otherwise.
With the police appropriately distracted by the ball of children now rolling into a drainage ditch, I made good my escape, although out of respect, I changed to the Katamari Damacy soundtrack.
"Do do do do, do do do do. Do do do do, do do do do!"
I Am Sorry for Having to Ask You for This
And so here we are. You've gotten your children back from child services and been subjected to all sorts of hard questions like the ones I bet you wish you'd asked me, and now your house smells of glue solvent. And I'm a fugitive from justice, living high on the hog with the $400 I made from this little adventure. I can only imagine the language you'd use if we met face to face.
Which is why it pains me to bring up the fact that my cousin apparently didn't mean to give me that glue, and that we really need to replace it. So, in light of the fact that I don't want to give you my mailing address, could you please leave $8/child under your doormat upon receipt of this letter?
And finally, if you could also sign the attached bit of paper to give your children permission to attend the discussed field trip to the zoo, that'd be super swell. (Any language in there absolving me of abusing your children, ritually abusing your children, and just regular emotionally abusing your children is, I'm told, standard boilerplate.)
Chris Bucholz is a Cracked columnist and your best friend. Join him on Facebook or Twitter and make him reconsider that.