Last Friday I was supposed to have an appointment with the daycare director to talk about her bowling stats—I mean, about the garish behavior of her staff. We never got to talk, because she canceled on me.
By then I’d pretty much decided I was done scaling buildings. But I brought Junior in this Tuesday for one last hoorah, and to see if maybe—miraculously?—things had improved.
Hah. When I dropped Junior off, he clung to my leg and cried. Like this:
The zombie grandma sat in her chair and stared. The teachers went about their business. We stood like that for ten minutes. I tried to engage Junior in some of the room’s activities. He wasn’t interested. I tried engaging the teachers, like, “Hey, Junior, I bet the teacher has a fun project this morning.” Nada.
Finally, one of the teachers said to Junior, “Mommy has to go to work. I really don’t like prying kids off their mommies. I’d really hate to have to pull you off.”
Omifrickengawd! I wanted to pick up the kiddie chair and club her. If anyone’s going to pry my kid off me, it’s me.
Junior finally let go and let her lead him to the bookshelf. I said goodbye and walked out into the hallway. Then I heard a horrible thud. Junior had flung himself against the glass door and was screaming for me. I ran back inside and picked him up. Then I went back out to the hallway and called Chuck:
“I CAN’T DO THIS. I HATE THIS. THIS ISN’T RIGHT. WE NEED TO GET HIM OUT OF HERE. IT’S AWFUL.”
All of a sudden, Junior wriggled to get down. He’d seen one of his friends and wanted to go play.
These toddlers, man. They are downright bipolar. As he happily ran away I stood there, speechless. You’re kidding me, right? So off I went to work—a mere 35 minutes late. I fretted. I fidgeted. I called to check on him. They promised he was doing fine.
At 11:30 a co-worker popped in. There was a fire truck outside the preschool, and the kids were outside. I immediately ran across the parking lot and looked for Junior. If the school had difficulty with snack time, how the hell would they handle flames?
The kids were standing in the far lot. I found Junior and the director (to my dear friend who described her as a flamingo: you were right).
“Nothing to worry about,” the director told me. “False alarm.”
“Super. Can we talk when the drill's over?”
Into her office we went. I told her I was going to pull Junior, that the behavior of the teachers was unacceptable and that the granny gave me the creeps. Then I waited.
She coughed for a few minutes then sputtered, “I have bronchitis.”
“That’s fucking swell!” I said. “Your teachers are throwing things!”
“I know,” she moaned. “Things haven’t been great.” She stretched her mouth in one of those “eeeek” faces.
“And your reasons for taking him out are perfectly understandable. The grandmother is weird. We don’t know why she comes.” Her eyes got buggy, and then
“We’re just so new.”
She started hacking. “Will today be his last day?”
“That’s it? No, ‘We’ll try harder, baby’? or ‘We want this to work’? You’re just going to let me go?”
On the drive home, Junior was uncharacteristically quiet. When we got to our exit, he puked. Chuck came out to the car to meet us in the driveway. He stuck his head in the door and asked, “How was your day?”
"What? Is he covered in puke?"
"I'm going to go lie in the road now."
(But hey, at least I know we made the right decision.)
Thanks to www.allmoviephoto.com for the freaked out kid picture.