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Caring for the little ones

Mommy. Grandma. Teacher. Tammy Torma has been called them all. In fact though, she's none of them to the kids calling her those titles.

She is in fact their day care provider and was just named the 2006 Professional Family Child Care Provider from Becker County.

When Torma, of Frazee, was pregnant with her son, who is now 9, she worked in Detroit Lakes. (Torma also has a daughter who is 17.) She said she had a difficult time having to find a day care for her son. So, she decided to open a day care of her own.

"I teeter-tottered with it a lot and here I am," she said, sitting on the floor of her living room, surrounded by little kids

Through word of mouth mainly, and the resource and referral list, Torma has built her day care to 10-11 kids, depending on the day. She has some part-time and some full-time kids.

She said it has been nice to be home with her own children, even as they've gotten older and gone to school. One of the most rewarding aspects of her job, Torma says, is getting told throughout the day, "I love you, Tammy. Want to come spend the night?"

While there may not be any sleepovers, Torma said she has been around children all her life and the extra noise in the house doesn't bother her.

Growing up, she and her sister were teens when her mother had two more babies and then twins, having four children age 2 and under.

Although the extra hub doesn't bother her much, Torma said she makes sure she gets out, too, whether it be to the community center, a school game, whatnot.

"I don't know where I'm going, but it's somewhere," she said is her thought some days.

Torma is a part of the Becker County Licensed Family Child Care Association. It was that organization that nominated her for childcare provider of the year. She met the requirements and received a letter in July that she had been selected.

She is being recognized for the achievement this weekend at the 19th annual Week of the Family Child Care Provider Banquet Celebration in Minneapolis.

Gov. Tim Pawlenty signed a proclamation, declaring Oct. 22-28 as Family Child Care Provider Week.

As a part of the Becker County association, Torma said the group gets together once a month for training, support, ideas, to hear legislative changes and more. Every two years, day care providers need to be re-licensed.

With kids scattered throughout the living room and dining room, Torma's house is filled with Halloween. She said the kids do activities to fit each season and holiday. They have carved pumpkins -- or apples as some of the littler kids call them -- colored paper pumpkins, made white footprints that serve as skeletons and baked pumpkin seeds.

Torma said if she can keep them all busy, there's less worry about fighting.