Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Daycare Don't Care

In my last post, which I'm not going to link to because it's just SAD and DEPRESSING (sorry to keep it at the top for so long), I alluded to the fact that we were having some issues with daycare.

Adriana started daycare a year ago, when my parents took a month-long trip to Florida. We needed someone who was okay with taking her on short notice for just a month, with no commitment to continue once my parents came back. We basically ended up with the only daycare that was willing to accept her, so I pretty much overlooked issues I blogged about waaaaaaaay back here and here. When my parents got back, it was decided that she would stay in daycare once a week. I called around to find a place closer to work, but no one was willing to take her just one day, and to be flexible if we had to change the schedule depending on what was going on with my parents. And they all had RIDICULOUS waiting lists.

Overall, I've been pretty happy with the place. It's definitely clean, and they seem to follow all of the ratios closely. Adriana was quickly moved to the 18 month room, where she had a teacher that we both LOVED (and who paid attention to my concerns about the fluids and the unhealthy menu choices). Around the time Lucy was born, Adriana moved to the 2 year old room, and started going to daycare 2 days a week. Her teacher is super shy so I never felt very informed about how it was going, but Adriana started talking enough that I was getting a pretty decent idea of what her day was like.

However, all of that talking was almost a bit too much. Adriana started practically abusing her doll, laying it face down, putting the blanket over her head, and "patting" (beating!) her while yelling at her to go to sleep. At first it was kind of cute, but then some of the things she was saying made me think that some of the teachers there are mean to the kids.

Then, just in time for my parents to leave on their second month-long trip (meaning, now BOTH girls are in daycare full time, which breaks my heart for Lucy), two things happened in the same day. First, I went in and talked to Adriana's teacher about her binky. I told her that she hadn't used it at night for a few days, and asked how they normally transition them off for naps. She said she had no idea Adriana even had one, and that she never used one.

This pissed me off for several reasons. First, Adriana sleeps like shit at daycare, frequently skipping naps entirely and then acting like a holy terror at night. NO WONDER - they weren't giving her a binky! And I'm SURE that she asked for it. There were TWO in her cubby, both of which I made a big production about because her original one got lost when she moved into this room. There is NO WAY the teacher didn't know she had them. So basically daycare has been fucking with her nap schedule since August, likely because the teacher chooses to transition kids off them without parental consent so she doesn't have to deal with it.

I was running late to work, so I just sighed and left. I thought about calling and talking about it, but at the same time, the damage has already been done. I wanted her transitioned off, and she was transitioned off.

That night, I was driving Adriana home and we were going through our nightly ritual of talking about her day. She told me about how she went to the office with Miss Megan, and she played with Kate and Noah, and Miss Kyra pinched her. Insert record screeching noise here. Miss Kyra [a floater, not her actual teacher] did what now? She pinched me. In my back and I cried. I called the daycare immediately and reported the incident to the assistant director, who said she would confront the teacher about it. I was so mad I didn't even think to talk about the stupid binky.

We went home and started to eat, and I made a video of Adriana talking about how she was pinched and pointing to the area. I didn't check to see if there was a mark, because it didn't occur to me that there would be one. My parents told me to look when I talked to them on the phone about it, and I said I would when I changed her into her jammies later. But then we got the call about my uncle, and Justin ended up being the one who put her to bed.

The next week was all crazy and sad and I had other things to deal with. I spoke to the assistant director when I had to arrange extra care for the girls so my parents could attend the funeral, but it was kind of a quick talk. There was so much other stuff going on that I decided to drop it and assume that Adriana was either exaggerating or was handled a little roughly and it made her eczema sore.

THEN, the saturday after it happened (which was a Monday), I was making a video of Adriana complaining about the eczema her back to show her dermatologist in case it wasn't flaring up when we go. With the iPhone light shining directly on the area, I saw she had a yellowish bruise RIGHT FUCKING WHERE she said the lady had pinched her.

I went in during my lunch the following Monday, and talked about the incident with both the director and the assistant director. I made it clear that it was absolutely not acceptable to me, and that I 100% believed Adriana and felt like I failed her by letting everything else that was going on that week trump getting the issue resolved. The director basically made everything worse by saying all the wrong things. She was so quick to jump in and say she believed it happened, that I kept thinking "then WHY did you hire her???" AND she totally outed herself as a racist, implying that skin color has anything to do with whether or not your the kind of person who would pinch a two year old hard enough to bruise them. Jesus.

Anyway, I ended up deciding that the girls would stay as long as this particular teacher was never alone with either one of them. They readily agreed to this, and I am pretty confident that they are holding up their end of the agreement. They also said that she would lose her job if anyone ever reported anything like this again.

I had another long talk with the assistant director [who I REALLY like], who told me that she looked the teacher right in the eye and truly believes she didn't do it. She was SUPER upset when she told me this, practically crying, so I just told her that it was okay that we believe different things about what happened.

OH and, as if all that wasn't enough, some moron parents were smoking pot in the parking lot last week. We walked out, and Adriana was like "I smell something. What's that smell?" What, indeed. I complained, and the daycare didn't hesitate to call the cops. At least they handled THAT right.

Meanwhile, I LOVE the new lady in the infant room. They have maybe 3 babies in there at any time, and Lucy is getting tons of attention. Adriana is getting moved to the 3 year old room early because she's such a good talker, and I like that lady so far. A friend of mine has been looking at daycares, and she said that ours is WAY nicer and WAY cleaner than all of the ones she looked at.


Once my parents are back in town, I think I am going to at least make the rounds in all of the other daycares to see if I can find one that would be a better option. But for now, they are staying put. It feels wrong, keeping them there after this happened, but I don't think that anywhere will ever feel right. God, I even have issues with the way my own PARENTS take care of the girls. And how can you ever know if someone is the kind of person who would pinch a kid? Why does it have to be SO HARD to get quality care for my babies? I have never wished harder for a daycare at work.


Ellen said...

O.M.G. I can not believe the daycare nightmare you are going through! I'm expecting my first baby next month and the entire choosing-the-right-daycare chore was SO overwhelming. We decided to send her to my Sister-in-Law's house 5 days a week, and although I have been weary of this decision ever since, I have to say that I'm now 100% sure we made the right choice. I'm so sorry to hear that daycare providers can be this difficult to deal with! I hope things turn around for you (and soon!)!

Brenna said...

That is so awful. The fact that you had concrete evidence in the form of a bruise and the assistant director still chose to believe the pincher really bothers me. But the fact that the director claims to believe you 100% and yet the pincher still has a job bothers me more. What a horrible situation to find yourself in. I'm so sorry.

Shalini said...

OH MY GOD, Laura. K. has been to a big daycare exactly twice, and HE CRIED THE WHOLE TIME. Eight frakking hours. And he always had some other kid's binky in his mouth, which was OUR FAULT because we didn't write down which binky was HIS (NONE! HIS WAS NONE!). And I thought THAT was bad. Gah. He went to a home daycare after that and I love that lady so much still, five years after he's left, that we still email and send Christmas cards. I don't understand, either, why it has to be this hard.

Doing My Best said...

Oh, that sounds awful =(!!! I hope you're able to find a better place that you are happy with!!

Maggie said...

Delurking to say I hope you keep looking and find someplace you are more comfortable with. To balance other comments, I will say that we have had a great experience with daycare. My son went there for 5 years and my daughter has been there for 2. We've had some small bumps, but overall they have been the best experience for both of my kids. The place had a ridiculous waitlist, but it was worth it. Great daycares are out there. Good luck!

LazyBones said...

I just recently found your blog, and enjoyed reading this post, even though it makes me a little emotional! I used to work part-time and had a private sitter who had been my coworker in the field of early childhood ed for a few years before I got pregnant and she retired. So I never had to go through this!

I used to work daycare too, and knew a number of teachers where I wondered: why do they DO this? Now I provide childcare in my home, and sometimes I look at the little boys I take care of -they barely talk yet!- and my heart catches in my throat and I think: they are so vulnerable to me! It makes what I do seems so fraught with importance, which is funny b/c I used to be an administrator for an early childhood program who reported to the State Board of Ed, and dealt with things like competing for congressional funding. Most people would probably think what I do now is unimportant. But it's so scary to send our little ones out into the world!

Good luck! Maybe try some home day cares? They are sometimes willing to be flexible with schedules, more than a center. I know I'm pretty flexible, and work around things like grandparents who travel in the winter.

Heather said...

Gah, what a hard situation! Reading this makes me sick to my stomach. Good for you for listening to Adriana and following through with the teacher(s). It sounds like it's a good place overall but this particular teacher is the problem so hopefully you won't have any more issues now that A's moved to another room. I think every child care situation comes with small bumps in the road. I hear stories from my other friends all the time about minor things that happen at their day cares. I think it's the nature of the situation. As long as you keep a close eye and express your thoughts to the director/teacher as situations arise (hopefully they are few and far between!) you're doing the best for your girls.

Or, for what it's worth, we used (which I believe is a national website) to find our in-home nanny. We were able to set our own price with her and while it's no cheaper than daycare was for us, it is more convenient to have her come to us every morning and for T to be in her own environment. Not sure we'll go this route for the long haul because I'd eventually like her to be exposed to a more social environment, but it's another option to consider if you can't find a day care to meet your needs. Good luck!

Saly said...

GAAAH! It must be so hard to go through this all, and worry about your girls all day long. At least they know you are totally on their ass now.

Thankfully, we have had few issues with our daycare. We pay more for a big corporate place, so we are at the mercy of their rules and schedules but it's worth it. We're going on 9 years of being there now and I trust them implicitly with Liv.

I thought twice before I spoke up about the way an assistant teacher talked to me when I called to check on Liv when she was a baby--I was afraid they would take it out on her somehow. Then I decided "screw this!" because at the time I had 3 kids there. they let her go immediately because I was the 3rd complaint.

I hope everything is smooth sailing from here!

d e v a n said...

OH dear! Pinching a child!!!! That is a huge no no! I can't blame you one bit for being upset about that. Gah!

Wiz said...

Oh this brings back memories. When Coly first started daycare, I didnt complain all that much because I didnt want to be THAT mom. Somewhere along the way, I quit caring about that. I had my last daycare director's cell phone number and didnt hesitate to use it!

Its so hard to weigh the options of moving vs staying sometimes! Hope it all works out.

Raising Snowpeas said...

Oh my gosh... I'm just reading this! (somehow missed it when it was originally posted) and I'm so sad for your kiddos... how horrible to have to deal with that every day and not really be able to tell anyone about it - I'm glad Adrianna can talk so well to clue you in. I can't imagine Allie without her pacifier for a nap, she would be crushed! Good for you sticking up for the kids and talking to them!