Monday, July 23, 2012

I Had To Break Up With Daycare

As I mentioned in my last post, we were planning on pulling Jamie out of daycare late next month to begin with but I had to do it much earlier than I'd anticipated and I'm not happy about it. Jamie has been at this center since he was 15 months old and they've consistently taken good care of him.  I liked the teachers and he liked going there.

Until he moved into the preschool room.

It's been a festival of problems since he made the transition to the older room.  It seems like every time I pick him up from school there's SOMETHING that's gone wrong.  Over the last 10 weeks we've had all of the following happen:

  • They forgot to feed him. Yes, forgot. From 8 am to 4 pm he had nothing but water and they didn't even know until I called to ream them out.
  • He's turned up with multiple scrapes and bruises.  I expect a scraped knee here and there but one day he came home with a scraped knee, forehead, and hand while the inside of his mouth was torn to shreds.  There's never an explanation. "We don't know how he got hurt.  We were outside and he started crying and was all scraped up."
  • He came home sunburnt.  Jamie is as fair as they come and I'm very careful about the sunblock situation.  I put it on him before we leave for school (as daycare requests) and they are supposed to reapply before they go outside in the afternoon.  He came home one day with his face flaming red.  They don't know how it happened. 
  • They then claimed they did not have sunblock for him. I gave them a whole tube when he started back to school in May. That whole tube usually lasts the summer.  Where is that tube?
  • As a result of this, it's clear they used some other kid's sunblock on him.  How do I know? He popped with a rash.  Jamie seems to have an issue with the spray sunblock and can't use them. I give daycare what he CAN use. Instead they used the spray on him because Jamie popped with the reaction rash.
The final straw was this past week.  I was out of town in Michigan dealing with some family things.  My mother-in-law had very graciously agreed to watch the boys while I was gone and to make sure that Jamie got back and forth to daycare.  I warned the teachers that I was going to be gone and why. I told them that my mother-in-law would be doing drop off and pick up and that she would need help with knowing where to put things and where to pick them up.  I asked them to help her out.

The first day I was gone that Jamie was in care, Jamie had an accident.  We're still working on the potty training so it's not a huge surprise.  The problem came in when his dirty clothes were nowhere to be found and the teachers had no idea where they were.  We still don't have them.

On Thursday they finally hit the last straw.  First of all, they were having a water play day.  Jamie has water clothes there and crocs to wear during water play.  Rather than put him in the crocs included in his water play clothing, they left him in sneakers and let those shoes get SOPPING WET.

Then, when my mother-in-law went to pick him up he was sitting in his own poop.  The teachers were not aware of this.  He had been sitting in it long enough that it was pancaked flat to his butt and stuck to his underwear.  THEY LET HIM SIT IN HIS OWN SHIT.

Very. Last. Straw. 

I was already dealing with a fairly stressful situation and I had trusted daycare to care for him while I couldn't.  Instead, they did nothing of the sort and I wasn't even in the state to properly deal with it.

I called the director on Friday and told her that Jamie would not be back. I outlined all of the issues and she didn't really have any defense (who could?).  I have to go pick up his stuff later today and we'll never set another toenail in there.

It makes me sad because he was there for so long and he had been so happy there. But whatever is going on in the preschool room is a giant mess and Jamie is bearing the brunt of that. The next month will be hard with both kids home full time before school starts but it's better than the treatment Jamie has been getting lately.

We did find out that we got a place for him at the preschool we wanted and we'll be starting him there three half-days a week at the start of their school year.  I'm hoping he'll like it.

UPDATE: When I went to pick up Jamie's things this morning, the director told me that Jamie's string of issues stemmed from a lack of "independence skills" and that should I put him in another daycare I should really look for a smaller environment for him. Meaning, they expect a three year old to be able to completely undress himself, put on his own swim suit, and change his shoes to get ready for water play.  They expect a child who still has not completely mastered potty training to be fully independent in the bathroom.  They expect a three year old to be independent in regards to getting his lunch out. I suspect they also think a 3 year old should be able to spread out their nap mat and put themselves to sleep at the appointed hour and to be able to tell time, too.

Are the teachers there merely to direct traffic?

I have so many issues with this I don't even know where to begin.  First of all, that this same age, Liam did not have any of those skills. I remember my mother teaching him how to dress himself when she was here helping after Jamie was born - when Liam was FOUR YEARS OLD.  Secondly, I was never told that these skills were necessary in their pre-school environment.  Not knowing that this is what was expected, I hadn't made an effort to teach these things to Jamie ahead of time. In fact, when they neglected to feed Jamie, I specifically said "if I need to be teaching him how to do this lunch stuff on his own, you need to tell me that now" and no one said "yes, he must know this." Third, as far as the water play goes, it was only his second time having water play in pre-school. I could have told him 100 times before school that day that he needed to change his shoes and the teachers STILL would have needed to remind him. He didn't know the routine and HE'S. THREE. His attention span resembles that of gnat.  Fourth, and finally, if you are going to put 3 to 5 year olds into the same pre-school room (which is fine, Liam was in that sort of environment, too) you must acknowledge that the respective skill levels of 3 year olds and 5 year old are VASTLY different.  If you are expecting a 3 year old to do all the things a 5 year old can just to survive your daycare, you are doing something very, very wrong.  Not to mention that you are tossing kids who had help with all of these things in the older toddler room over to preschool with no preparation whatsoever.

I feel badly for Jamie that it took me this long to figure it out.  It seems I am ever behind-the-eight-ball when it comes to figuring out what's best for these guys.  Perhaps that's just parenthood.

1 comment:

  1. "being behind the 8-ball": Sometimes I think that describes parenting in a nutshell. It's a constantly shifting learning experience. Even having other children doesn't mean you know what you're doing. My three kids are vastly different, and what works for Flora definitely doesn't apply to Kate, and I'm still figuring out what's up with M. At least I'm pretty relaxed with M (FINALLY!).

    On another note, you really should consider reporting this situation to the certifying organization. If it's true that they are equating the independence of 3 and 5 year olds, Jamie is not alone in this kind of neglect -- and that's what this is: neglect. Letting a child sit in his own crap is neglect. There's probably a way you can do it anonymously, too.

    Good luck, my dear. I think we should get all the kids together again soon!