Thursday, March 26, 2009

Daycare Drama

I’m afraid of the boys in my daughter’s daycare.

It was late – almost their closing time - and I raced in to get Madden. At the end of the day all the remaining kids are together and usually outside enjoying the good weather. When I arrived, she was across the yard in the caregivers arms. She saw me, I saw her, and I loudly said, “HI BABY!” and she squealed in delight. So satisfying.

Then, the boys were there. Suddenly three older kids were upon me…teasing, jeering and yelling “Baby, Baaabbbyyyy, hiiiii baby.” They were crazed…circling me, taunting me with my own happiness. One even began leaping up at me and trying to grab my face. It was utter madness. Strangely, I was embarrassed and a bit frightened at the same time. How could I be afraid? After all, aren’t these kids like, at the most, FOUR years old??? I am actually 37 years OLDER than these little punks. So, why didn’t I feel like an adult?

Perhaps there is something about kids teasing that takes a person back in time suddenly and without warning. There I was back in carpool. Seven kids packed into the back of some parent’s gigantic wood paneled station wagon. Parry Dilworth was teasing me and pulling at the pony tails in my hair.

OK, it wasn’t that bad, but still…what a strange feeling.

I scooped up Madden and bolted through the doors of daycare. All the while I was whispering in her ear, “I’ll save you baby, you’re safe now,” when deep down I knew that it was her who was saving me.

That night led to a lot of thinking about daycare. It was not easy to find a place for her and we were on waiting lists since last July. This was back when Eric was working and we thought we’d end up needing full time care. It turns out she is just there two days per week so that she can learn to ‘play’ with other kids and have a bit of social time.

When we first went to visit this particular place, there were signs on the door that read, “We have had several incidents of lice in the past week – please check your children.”

Eee gads to that. We thought we’d never be back.

Wouldn’t you know they were the only place to call and offer us placement.

It turns out this center is the smallest of the ones at which we applied. We like the fact that there are only 30 kids total and we like that there are only 5 kids in the “under 2” room. Madden is the youngest kid by a long shot and she is often getting held and cuddled when I go to pick her up. She seems to be settling in well and doesn’t look too tired, or hungry, or upset when she comes home.

There is a chart on the wall that the daycare teacher fills in with details like the number of wet nappies, times that baby slept, and how many milliliters she drank from her bottles. Now that she’s eating solids her teacher fills in what she ate for “afternoon tea”. I rather like that. It’s so Australian.

They also keep a large scrap book in the room where they write the days activities and often include a happy photo of each child. Madden’s picture on Monday showed her in a bin of plastic balls. Next to the photo was a description that told me of my daughter’s development and excellent use of gross motor skills.
On close inspection of the photo, it was apparent that my little girl had red rings around her eyes. Hmmm.

So now I’m onto them and their game. When I drop off Madden, there is always a kid crying and another that is about to do something that will surely be reprimanded.
The REAL book would probably read something like this…

After two hours of inconsolable crying, your child was placed in the bucket of plastic balls where she finally found a brief moment of happiness. (We took a photo of happy Madden for the book). In the meantime, Ned was playing on the ground until Jake hit him over the head with the wooden block letter B. We were unable to tend to Ned due to Ari having his diaper changed at that exact moment. He cried for a time until we managed to give him a pacifier and this calmed him (see happy photo of Ned in book). Then Ari and Jake got in a fight over the letter B. At this time, Mia woke from her nap and fussed for a bottle. The two boys continued fighting until Mia’s bottle was found and mixed. Madden was now becoming unhappy after being stuck in the plastic ball box for over 20 minutes. Mia, Madden, Jake and Ned all started to cry in unison. Ari started to open the locked cabinet and was very pleased with himself. (See contented photo of Ari). Cabinet was locked and mental note was made to ensure that cabinet’s dangerous contents were not loose in baby room. Jake, now victorious since overpowering the others and getting the letter B all to himself, holds it proudly over his head (see photo in book)…..etc….etc.


I came home tonight, opened up my email, and found a note from Madden’s daycare…”Please be warned that there has been one child diagnosed with worms as well as another child diagnosed with a case of conjunctivitis. Please check your child for the following signs and symptoms…..”


Susanica said...

Egads Beth! I will write more later since I have to run to a meeting now, but I can tell you now that I'm upset for you. -Monica

Anonymous said...

No more more daycare! Give her to me, I'll take care of her!
Auntie Ann

tracey said...

When we lived in Sydney I NEVER could get used to the signs at school about the lice, nor hearing about the cases of whatever was going around the other schools from my Aussie friends. I know people get lice here too, but I had never seen a sign for them until we moved there. There is some natural stuff that you can put on kids/babies heads to keep them away, I cannot remember what it is though, but could try to find out for you..

otrey3 said...

I am utterly perplexed by the photo!!! I love the "real" report. It seems likely.

Susanica said...

Hi Beth. Me again. I was thinking that with the economy the way it is right now there must be someone out there who would take much better care of her for what you are paying. In my neighborhood we have a Yahoo group called Brookland Kids where lots of parents are signed up and we can all look for good recommendations on stuff. Are you guys attending a church there? If not, maybe you should consider finding a church community there that makes you happy. At the Lutheran church we go to there is a wonderful community of families that we are so thrilled to be a part of. And we love taking Danny every week. It just seems so right.

I think peace of mind about your child's welfare is more precious than gold. I wish she could be here at our friend Jenni's house with Danny and Oscar. You wouldn't have a care in the world.

So I guess I have no answers for you. But I'm still upset for you. -Monica

Susanica said...

Hi again Beth. Perhaps this will encourage you to post again too? You've been tagged! -M

AKS said...

Ahhhhhhhhh... the daycare drama. What about a nanny? Is that a possibility? Perhaps you could do some sort of daycare camera stuffed into one of Madden's toys to see what report is the TRUE report. As for the boys, I say send Enrique over to beat them up (not really, because they are only 4 and that would be child abuse)...