The wild, wild west of daycare

The trials of daycare

Any parent who sends their kid to daycare realizes there are potential risks. Biting is unfortunatley one of them. I'm putting this story out there because I am certain it will ring true to several of you....To bring you up to speed, the mini has been in the 1 year old room since August so call it 6 months. Since being there we have not been overly thrilled with the daycare for various reasons. She has gotten bit twice for starters. Once on her arm; more a wide mouth bite that did not break the skin and the 2nd on the tip of her finger and to be fair had DC not told us it was there; we would never have noticed. Now, to be realistic, I realize bites are par for the course for this age group. I think the fundamental problem is the state's ratio is 1 teacher for 6 kids. Are you freaking kidding me?! who ever made this ratio must never have had children. There is NO way that 6 1year old kids can be adequately supervised by 1 poor adult. BUT, that is the state's rules and that is what DC's follow. So last week I got a call on Wednesday that Ashley got bit...again. I was upset but based on the last two bites I didn't get super worked up. HOWEVER, when I got there and realized the severity of the bite (looks like a dog bite that broke the skin) I was not very happy. Not to mention the bite happened at 11am ish and I got a call at 330ish. So I had words with the teacher and the asst director. Although very apologetic, more or less, par for the course. Humf. **guilty mom wave washes over me** I politely ask if my kid instigated the bite? is she aggressive? does she bite? does she hit? no, no, no, no she is a great kid. Ok then in that case what can I do differently as a parent to protect my child? and at what point will she become aggressive given she needs to "protect" herself at school? No good answer. Naturally.

Thursday morning, I speak with the director (who in fairness is new as of January 4) and show her the bite. She is horrified and will get to the bottom of it. I begrudgingly drop Ashley off with her new "boo boo" as she calls it and kiss her little 1 1/2 year old head. I feel like I am dropping her off in the wild. **guilty mom wave washes over me** She will be fine I tell myself as I cry my way to work. As I settle into my day, I get a call from DC, two things the director says....1. Ashley got bit again today 2. the kid who bit her has been dis-enrolled. I am in shock. You have got to be kidding me?! I try and keep my cool as my co - workers start gathering around realizing something is very wrong.  I hang up in shock and confusion. You don't read about what to do in these situations. Parent instinct is supposed to kick in right? What do I do? Cooler heads prevail and my co workers push me out to go get Ashley. I cry out of frustration, guilt and anger.  1st and foremost I am a parent and I am supposed to protect my precious baby 2ndly I have a job to do. I have responsibilities in both areas that are not jiving right now. I feel guilty for leaving work but I feel guilty if I left my child there. I am angry I have to make the decision to leave work and I am angry my child is hurt, again. I cry all the way to DC. The scene at DC is just what you would imagine apology after apology. I keep my sunglasses on to hid my red puffy eyes until I see my baby. As soon as she sees me she bursts into tears and so do I. I scoop her up and we stand in the middle of the 1 year old room crying. Both hurt and frustrated. There stand the director, assistant director and teacher at a complete loss. What can the possibly say in this moment. Damage done.  Ashley backs her head up and looks at me to say "home?" "yes baby we're going home" I spin on my heals and say a quick and quiet "thank you" and head out. The director trails me and apologizes the whole way. On my way out the infant teacher, who we love, catches my eye. She knows. I give her a half hearted smile. There is nothing anyone can say or do.  Luckily my husband, who has been out of town all week, comes home that night. We talk through the situation. I've gotten feed back from co-workers, my mom, friends, family etc.... our heads swim with decisions. Some people say "oh it's normal, sorry you are going through this. Been there." Some people say "that is horrifying, I would pull my kid out!" Neither makes me feel better. If it was that easy to just "pull my kid out" I sure as hell would. But it's not. That means time off work to research a new place, pay the initiation fees, plunk the mini down in a place she nor I are familiar with, hope to God she adjusts, and pray she does not get bit her first week....It's just not that easy. We have to muscle through this. We have to pray on this. I need to fight off the guilt demon. I must believe we are  making the right decision for my family.

All things aside, I pray for the family of the little one who bit my baby. As shitty as my day was, I didn't get the call my kid is being kicked out of DC on a Thursday, come get him. WTF!? As a parent I would be horrified and scared. Where do I take him? how do I get him to stop? what if he bites in the new DC? who is taking Friday off to go find a new DC? OMG. My baby will heal on her skin and in her heart. This family is going to struggle everywhere they go until the biting is under control. Based on the directors description of how his parents reacted; this family will struggle with agression issues on a go forward unless they make a new decision. To put it in perspective, this kid has been a biting offender since July and bit more times than I will let on. The previous director should be fired for her negligence.

Today a week or so later, the bad bite is nearly healed. The last bite is non-existent. My precious baby is asleep peacefully in her bed dreaming. The weather is beautiful and I breath a sigh of relief. This week God blessed us again, we have been accepted into a new DC and the mini will start in August once she is 2. We prayed, not for getting into the school, but we prayed for a solution. We prayed she would get in don't get me wrong, but also for strength and guidance if she didn't. Thank the Lord we don't have to make that decision.

Our current DC has made several immediate changes and the director gave us the long term changes as well. I believe this will not only benefit us as we navigate through these upcoming months but every child who enters their doors. I hope and pray DC providers understand the gravity of their jobs. Parents drop their most precious gifts off to them in trust. They are our partners in raising our children. They become part of the fiber that shapes our children's lives. They do not get paid enough. The unfortunate part is DC's are businesses. They need attendance and to turn a profit. That doesn't always benefit the child. What a shame. Please know, I am a huge proponent of DC. I think Ashley has flourished under their care; more than what I can provide at home. I know they have been a part of that. I will always feel guilt. I will always want more time with her. But when I see her interact, talk, play, etc...I know we are ultimately doing the right thing for her and for us. God has not let us down yet. Another lesson in trust and faith. In our darkest most confused hour, He answered our prayers. We should have known he would.


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