The following was inspired by our first two weeks of day care visits.
“This is where the children play,” the woman said cheerily.
She gestured toward the flat bed of a pickup truck. The edge was surrounded by a makeshift wooden fence that looked like it had been made out of old orange crates.
“Oh, this shouldn’t be here,” she said and hastily moved a ball of barbed wire out of our path. “We use that to keep our cows in the pasture. And to keep out the… well, you know.”
We really didn’t know.
“I assure you we don’t let the children play with it.”
My wife and I looked wearily at the truck bed. In one corner there was a bag of mostly broken crayons. In another an ExerSaucer covered in tiny plastic frogs and giraffes.
The woman must have noticed our concern, because then she launched into the defensive: “I know what you’re thinking. This doesn’t look very exciting.”
Actually that wasn’t what we were thinking at all.
“But when we take this puppy out on the open road, the ExerSaucer starts bouncing all around and the crayons are rolling this way and that, and the kids just love it.”
“You drive it around?” my wife asked weakly.
“Just on the dirt roads,” the woman said firmly. “I treat these babies just like I treated my own.”
Treated? I thought.
“I guess all that’s left is for me to show you my state certifications. They’re up on the wall of our play kitchen. I am required by law to tell you that we also let the children play with these real kitchen utensils—spoons, a cheese grater, butter knives, serrated knives, a cleaver, and the oven. Oh but don’t worry, the oven only works half the time.”