Re: the 6.5 yo girl
I *might* charge less if I really liked the girl and her mom and felt that they would be pleasant to work with over time. I don't think it will really save you much money to have the girl bring her own food, and in some ways it creates hassle for you. Assuming you are already preparing/providing food for the other children, one less serving will make little difference in the quantity of food required and it won't save you work. All the kids I watch bring their own food, but that is mainly because of the way the fee schedule is set up with my employers (I work for the city and they charge a fee for each meal provided and most people prefer to provide very basic lunches at a lower cost). Since everyone brings food, that means I don't have to stress about menus and cooking for everyone. That's nice, but if you are already cooking anyway, it makes no difference. I do notice that my own kids are less enthused with their own healthy food I serve when the daycare children bring bags of white flour crackers, pretzels, and the like. It's a bit annoying, so that's something to consider, too.
I have had a not so great day today. I have just been feeling stressed out over the past couple days, and on top of that a couple things happened that left me feeling really lame. First, one of the little girls I watch was picked up today around 2 pm. Her mother arrived earlier than usual. Right before she got there, I was thinking, "Oh, I'm going to change her diaper in 5 minutes before she gets picked up." Well, mom arrives and starts checking her dd's diaper. She always checks it when she gets there. I change the kids regularly, but I try not to do it too often, because I have had parents complain that I was using too many diapers. The mom always acts like the diaper needs to be changed, even if it was just changed an hour ago. I'm fine with that, so I just try to change her before she picks up so Mom doesn't have to do it when she gets there. So today when she checked her diaper, it was poopy. I guess she had just gone, because I didn't smell it. I already have a complex because the mom is always checking the diaper at pick up, so now I felt bad like the mom must think I don't change her or something, and now she has "proof" since she had a poopy diaper at pick up. Anyway, I know that's a little silly, but I just hope the mom knows I do change her regularly.
Second thing: I watch a little boy who will be 3 in a few days. He and my daughter love to play together. Sometimes they get a little over exuberant, but it's all in good fun. Today the little boy's grandmother came to pick him up and he and my daughter were standing next to us while Grandma signed him out. So the little boy jumped on my daughter giving her a big hug. He knocked her down and she fell and hurt her lip a little (you know, when you can see a tiny bit of blood, over in a minute or so type of thing). Grandma and I said something like, "Oh, be careful," or something, comforted my daughter, and that was that. Later in the evening (about an hour ago), his mother called me and said that his front teeth are chipped and asks if I saw him fall. His grandmother had told her about the incident with my daughter. I said that I don't think his face hit the ground when he tackled my daughter, and that I couldn't think of any other time when he fell. Now this kid is what I describe as stoic; he never cries. Never. It is possible he fell at some point during the day, although I would think that I would have noticed his teeth if it happened earlier in the day. It is also possible it happened when he jumped on my daughter. I just don't know. I feel so crappy because I don't know when it happened and I feel it is my fault. I feel I supervise the kids well, although I do not stand over them every moment. I have a small place, so I can hear what is going on all the time and see them even when I have to go in the kitchen, for example. The parents usually think I'm overzealous with my injury reporting, since I write down every little thing, such as a child falling down while walking with the stroller or a child getting bumped by another child with a toy.
Anyway, I have to go, but I'm feeling lame right now.