My Denizens have spent roughly half of the last eight years in daycare, full or part time. Putting your children into someone else’s care is a tricky business. This last time, I went around to several places balancing cost versus ‘creep factor’ before I settled on the two we eventually chose, even though the cost factor was high enough to make me weep every time I wrote the weekly checks.
And I’ve been congratulating myself that it has worked out well, very well indeed, because the children are happy to be going. It is a sure sign that their caregivers are, if not Mary Poppins level good, at least not evil if the children are happy about going to school.
Either that, or they give out candy wholesale and let them have cake for lunch.
When we first began discussing taking the older two out of their before/after school care, we had yowls of protest from Eldest. She didn’t want to give up the arts and crafts and time with her friends and so forth. Not to come back to the boring old Den, with her boring old parents doing their boring old work.
Then suddenly, a few weeks ago, she allowed that she didn’t mind. She didn’t mind a bit. And as the days have passed, she’s become downright anxious about when, exactly, that last day is going to be.
It occurred to me to wonder: why this sudden change of heart? Because she’d been complaining and protesting all the way down the road and then suddenly…she’s OK with it? What gives?
I’ll tell you what gives.
There’s a new teacher at the daycare.
And she isn’t very nice.
Specifically – she isn’t very nice to Eldest.
We all know this type, right? The type who singles out a kid or two and just rides them like a rodeo bull? Everybody else can be swinging from the chandeliers, but if you so much as walk past with an untied shoelace, FIRE AND BRIMESTONE RAIN DOWN FROM ON HIGH!!!!!
When I asked Eldest what was up here, she said, “Well, she just isn’t particularly nice. She took away my crafts, and she said I spent too much time in the bathroom. So she sets a timer when I go in there, and if I don’t come out in time she bangs on the door and tells me I have to get out.”
Mother Chaos is not pleased.
See, it would be different, I think, if Eldest was the kind of kid who…painted the table with glue while doing crafts. Or, who would sit there doing crafts shouting, “Ha, ha, I’m doing craaaaafts while you do hoooooomework!” at the kids who don’t finish their homework in eleven seconds flat like she does. Or if she were a kid who considered the bathroom her personal playground.
But she isn’t. There are three other kids in the center who have come under this woman’s hairy eyeball, and I’m going to put on my armchair psychologist hat and theorize what’s going on there: this teacher is a very linear-thinking, curt, emotionally distant (why do people like this go into childcare of all things?!), opinionated and yet, alas, not all that bright, individual.
The three kids in question are extremely bright, outgoing, questioning and free-thinking types. The types who think in intuitive leaps rather than going A…then B…then C…The types who will ask “why” not in a whining, how-do-I-get-around-you way, but in a ‘no really, why? what is the scientific backing of your theory? on what evidence have you drawn this conclusion? let us come together and discuss!’ kind of way (yes – it is very annoying sometimes and yes – I say ‘because I said so!’ quite frequently).
In other words, polar opposites.
I am so glad not to be going through this again. Isn’t that evil of me? But I am. I am so glad I don’t have to get in there and complain and chat and ‘raise concerns’ and carry on about Things, trying to either change this woman’s behavior or get her the @*^& out of my children’s life.
Been there, done that. I leave that battlefield to the younger fighters for now. I will alert the mothers of the Oppressed (all of whom, coincidentally, I know – their children have all spent considerable time here in the Den hanging out and asking annoying questions I can’t answer because I’m NOT SMART ENOUGH), and leave the fight to them.
I know they will fight it well.
Today is the start of the rest of our lives
4 weeks ago