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About me: I'm a 40-something mother to a pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our tween Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler Cam, and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). I'm a freelance graphic designer and writer.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I'm a virgin. Would someone take me to daycare third base, please?

I don't know what to do. But then I do. And then I don't.

Junior’s been going to pre-preschool for two days a week for about a month now. Even though the staff were a bit zombie-ish it seemed ideal. The school is next to my office. I can check on Junior whenever I want, also known as Operation 007 Daycare. Junior makes friends. Chuck gets time to look for a job. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Except for me. I’m a wreck. My log of my stealth missions reads like this:

February 24, 11:34 a.m.: Escaped work and crawled through parking lot. Thinking of taking up smoking so I have better cover for break-outs. Crept to side of building. Stood under window. Overheard teacher shout, “PARK IT! NOW!” to children. Where is Junior???


March 3, 2:12 p.m
.: Escaped work and slid across parking lot. Hid behind bush. Overheard teacher yell, “They’re like VULTURES! They’re ANIMALS!” Snack time? Are they eating remains of zombie grandma? What the hell is going on?

Every day it’s something. One day I found Junior crawling on a floor that was caked with mud. Another I arrived as Junior was getting yelled at for spitting. Should he have been spitting? No. Should the teacher have been shouting at him like he was a cretin undeserving of life? Hell no. He’s a child.

Even worse, there’s little educational interaction. The only singing I hear is when I arrive, squeeze Junior and hum “Let’s get out of here, let’s get out of here, I’m picking you up, taking you home, let’s get out of here right now...” (Sung to the tune of “99 bottles of beer on the wall.”)

Obviously, I’ve been thinking about taking Junior out of there. But he likes it. I'd even say he loves it. I keep waiting for an indication that he doesn’t want to go back so I can yank him but so far, nothing. And trust me, Chuck and I accost him with questions.

You know, just a few...

"Are you happy there? Did you have a fun day? Do you like your teachers? Did you sing/dance/walk/talk/eat/sleep? Did you laugh/cry? Do you want to keep going there? Do you like school? Did you make friends? Do you like your friends? How’s the air quality? Do the teachers seem happy? Do they seem engaged? How can you say you like it? Dammit, Junior, how?"

Then today, I got an email from a co-worker:

Just wanted you to know that yesterday as I was leaving work, the kids were outside at a picnic table. I heard a teacher yell, WE’RE ALL DONE. She slammed her hand on the table, shouted I SAID WE’RE DONE, and threw something over the fence. Not sure if your kid was there or not????

Well, let’s see, was Junior there? Let’s refer to yesterday's super happy write-up from the teacher which reads "Junior loved digging outside":

Yep, looks like Junior was happily digging and avoiding flying objects. What a multi-faceted approach to education! Motor skills practice and tactical maneuvers all at once! It’s perfect—

—ly unacceptable.

So there. I have my answer: We need to pull him. I shouldn't be worrying about him picking up bad habits from adults. And they couldn't even recruit a decent grandmother. What kind of place botches a free granny?

Right? He's outta there? Agh. I suck at this.


Pricilla said...

They were bowling with buckets of soil in the hallway?


I am sorry I have no advice. I am not a mom

Dto3 said...

If you are sneaking out of work, because you are worried about Junior's well-being, that's not the right place for him. The best thing you can do for yourself and Junior is find quality, reliable daycare. I drop my kids off and never think about them again until I pick them up, knowing they are in a loving, education-backed environment. Pull him now and find a better gig. (Nope, FIMF, no smart-ass comments tonight. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, and I am a huge believer in quality education-driven day care - sounds like you still need to keep looking. Gotta have those bad experiences to figure out what works.)

Busy Mom in Iowa said...

Yep, I agree. Pull him and find a better place for him to go. If you aren't comfortable with him being there and are worried about him, there is probably a good reason for it. Good luck!

tahtimbo said...

I agree in pulling him out of there. It just looks like an incident waiting to happen. Question: is this place even licensed to care for kids? From what you've described, it seems as if the "teachers" are there just to collect a paycheck and have no idea what they are doing. Good luck and please let us know what you do.

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

Ironically enough, I just finished writing a post about sixth sense/Mother's Instinct/Gut feelings for the Spin Cycle... Listen to your gut! It sounds like you need to pull him out of there and find a place you won't feel the need to stalk, or be looking for a specific excuse to pull him out. Then you can rest easy. :) You need to feel good about the place he's at because you're the mom and Mom's Know Best. :)

Jeanne said...

My daughter was kept by relatives (grandmother, aunts cousins) until she was 2 and a half and I noticed she'd begun to construct these elaborate fantasies involving playing with other children. It was chilling to listen to a 2-year-old, in a room all by herself, saying, "Tommy, you sit here. Becky, you sit there. What did you say, Jenny?"

Needless to say, she LOVED daycare.

Good luck finding one that feels better to you. They're out there (although probably not right next door to your work).

DysFUNctional Mom said...

Outta there. I worked in child care for years. There's no excuse for that crap!

Lindy said...

I agree with Dto3. If you feel like you have to check on him that often, that's not the place for you or him.

Good luck!

Frogs in my formula said...

Thank you, everyone. It's true--I have an uneasy feeling all day. Not good. There's somewhere better for him.

Keely said...

Yeah, you probably don't want to read my post today, it won't help. I'm in the same spot.

If you've overheard YELLING on more than one occasion, not cool. Pull him.

Jen said...

Yeah, you have to pull him out of there. It's driving you crazy and now you have co-workers doing your stalking. You shouldn't have to worry about him all day. At first yes, that's normal, but after a while you shouldn't be thinking about it. Good luck, I know this is making things very difficult right now.

MaryBT said...

Ummm...If Junior said he would love to eat ice cream for dinner every day would you let him? I assume not. That's because you are the parent and you know what is better for him than he does. 2 and 3 year olds are not necessarily known for their impeccable judgement. ;)

Go with your gut. Plus, I figure that as long as you make decisions for your child that are based in love and have his best interest at heart, then you can't really screw up all that bad now can you? No.

Of course, my kid is only 2 1/2 so my parenting theory hasn't really undergone rigid testing yet, but so far so good. lol.

Grace said...

Oh yeah, get him out of there. I worked in a day care center once. I left after 3 months and reported them - the people that worked there had no business interacting with children.

The Mother said...

Kids are resilient. Junior is probably just reacting to the fact that he's out of the house, with other kids his age, for the first time.

He'll be just as happy somewhere else. Your spy missions will be harder, though.

slow panic said...

you don't suck at it. you are facing the fact that the place sucks and you are doing what you have to do to find a new place. i think you rock.

Catootes said...

Finding the right daycare is a minefield. No one's good at it.
If you're uncomfortable and they do weird shit like screm at the kids while hurling objects in the air, probably not Mary Poppins certified.
Dump their lame asses and make yourself feel a whole lot better. And I know finding a new better place is as easy as finding the pot of gold, but there are so many other guilty parenting moments, this should not be one of them.

Good luck and I'd flip the bird to the people there that yell at the kids on my way out the door. But I'm subtle like that.

Jenni said...

I have no daycare experience, but I'd say your first instinct was right on. Yank him.

Nicole Carpenter said...

I use to work at a Pre-school and we NEVER yelled at the kids like that. NEVER, NEVER, NEVER. Your intuitions were right...get him out and find a place more loving and peaceful.

Brandy said...

i am so sorry. it really sucks that it's so close to your work and convenient and he loves it.

so another problem - if you move him somewhere else - how are you going to spy?

is there an administrator that you can talk to?

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

I'm no Mom, but if your kid really likes it, that should be your first clue that there's something wrong. Little kids love the things that are bad for them, right? Oh, what the heck do I know. Still, it seems like he shouldn't be somewhere you can't relax about it.

Mama Badger said...

Have you spoken to anyone about some of the things you've seen? Just wondering. My initial reaction is to say, "Yank him the hell out of there before the zombie's eat his brains!".

In the end, you have to feel ok leaving him there. Not just ok, but like it's worth the $$$ and he's getting something out of it. I can honestly say that I have no qualms leaving LG at daycare. I'm pretty sure he likes it better than home, and they might take better care of him. I had one incident with little o, and the director of the center was as upset by it as I was. Remedied and never repeated.

Go forth and search for a new place for Junior!

Stacie's Madness said...

i don't think you suck at all, if you found a good preschool then you wouldn't be this way...right??? right.

pull him!

Otter Thomas said...

Not what I wanted to hear as our daycare days are creeping ever closer.

Jenera said...

I'd say take him out of there. If you can't feel comfortable leaving him, it's not the right spot. I'm having a struggle with not liking my son's new teacher and how she interacts with the kids.

kyooty said...

Elf bowling in the hallway?

Katherine said...

Wow. That's insane. Yelling at the kids like that? Oh my! Yeah, I'd probably yank him outta there. It makes me feel a little better that the only problem I have is that my child care person lets my kid watch too much TV.

FoN said...

Finding daycare is a nightmare, but if you have any doubts at all - pull him.

I've had kids in daycare/preschool for sixteen years, and in my experience, if you have a gut feeling (or proof, in your case) that it's bad, it's bad. I found one 6 years ago that is wonderful. I can leave my kids there in the morinng and be totally sure they are safe, happy and well cared for. The peace of mind is totally worth the gobs amounts of money they charge me, too.

Mrsbear said...

I think you should always trust your gut. Proximity is convenient, but you need to have him somewhere you don't feel compelled to stalk the classroom. Also why was soil in quotation marks???

Mee2 said...

I think at age 2 and half (what it says on your profile) diggin (cause that's what the teacher called it) in the sand is perfectly acceptable. My daughter was in preschool last year and while they did a little bit of that stuff they call learning, they mostly did funnish kid stuff. This year she is in the 4 year old program and has learned how to say ABC's, count, write, and of course she can spell poop (among other things). Yes. Poop. I can only hope it was her older brothers that taught her that.

Although, I would seriously reconsider taking him to a school where the teachers are yelling at the kids. I believe that privilege should be saved solely for the parents who have to put up with the kids asses most of the time.

The second reason I would seriously reconsider is the bubbly handwriting the teacher is using. Is she in 7th grade? I would have to hope so since she said "diggin."

Mammatalk said...

Word of mouth is all I can say. Ask around. Tap into the mommy network and find out the good places.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

The worst fear a mom can have, pretty much. I remember all too well. Luckily, we found a great provider for our daughter, many years ago.

I hope you can get him out of there and find someplace safe for your bubba.

Big hugs.