Monday, April 16, 2012

Mama Knows Best! Right?

Last week, my kid was "let go" from daycare.

(And it really fucked with my head.)

He doesn't need daycare because I stay home, but as a disabled sahm who can't drive, we don't get out a lot-- and I was worried that he wasn't socializing enough.

So in late December, we put him in this home-daycare twice a week for 3 hours (9a-12p) a day...

The lady who runs it is an acquaintance of the family, came highly recommended and most of her kids are full-timers, but we lucked out and she happened to have a morning open.

Extra bonus? We could (sorta) afford it!

All other things like this had been WAY outta our bracket...

It was fabulous.

He loved it, he loved her, and I loved that two days a week he was playing with someone other than Mommy.

Then last Wednesday, she texted me that she wanted to chat about some concerns she had...

I thought she probably wanted to talk about his sleep schedule, because she'd mentioned him being really sleepy lately.

We all know that a tired kid can be a cranky and trying kid, so I figured maybe she had some suggestions.

(If only I could get him to sleep past 5:30-6a! I have TRIED. His sleep schedule is a whoooole other post!)

But that wasn't it AT ALL...

When I called she started saying things like "too busy, too much, can't handle, safety worries," and then:

"It's just not working out."

For a moment I was confused...

What's not working?

Then I realized she meant my son.
Effective immediately.

What had he done wrong?
Had he intentionally hurt other kids?
Was he malicious?


She just kept saying that he was too busy/active for her to deal with along with 4-5 other kids.

I understood that.

He is a very busy child.
He's super inquisitive.
He's quite independent.
He has no fear.
In wide-open spaces?
He loves to RUN.

And at just barely 2.5, following directions is not his strongest skill and gasp(!) he throws tantrums.

We warned her of all of that before she agreed to add him to her group.

Even so, I understood why maybe it wasn't a good fit...

I totally understood that she is one woman on her own with several other kids besides mine to care for.

I totally understood that she recognized that perhaps she didn't have the time nor stamina to keep tabs on yet another child.

I totally understood why she felt like it was in her best interest and that of her business to call it a day as far as my child was concerned.

But as I got off the phone with her, she mentioned that something about his mood swings...

Ummm, okay. Toddlers are universally moody given the day and timing of last I kinda shrugged the comment off.


I was way more focused on getting off the phone.

Hello! Awkward.

But when it was all said and done, I was really upset, and couldn't totally understand why...

After letting it eat at me for several days, I figured it out:

It was NOT because she decided it wasn't a good fit, it was that she was treating my son's behavior like it was somehow abnormal and cause for concern.

She even sent me a video to demonstrate, as she put it, "how quickly his moods would change..."

In the video, he was dancing around with a train and singing happily to himself.

Sounds fine, right?

The issue apparently was that all the other children were sitting on the floor playing blocks and just after she stopped filming he accidentally stepped on another child's hand while cutting a rug.

The poor kid starting crying, and O starting crying, and she tried to pull him away from from the situation presumably to calm the stepped-on child down...

Well, O threw a a tantrum.

This was apparently the last straw.
The vehemence of of his "emotional outbursts."

To me, his response was normal. He was upset. It upsets him when people get hurt.

So he was crying because the other kid was crying, and then to pull him away from the other kids/toys?

Of course he's going to freak out.

He's a toddler. It was as overwhelming for him as it was for the other child.

But she kept saying that it was just so unusual and that she didn't have this problem with the others...

A worm of self-doubt started wriggling...

I spent several days feeling like maybe I was a bad mother, maybe there was something wrong with my baby, maybe we had taught him bad behavioral habits and he was a tiny tyrant...

She is a lovely woman, and I'm sure that's not how she meant to make me feel, but no matter what the circumstances, no mother wants to hear that their child is the unhandle-able one. Or worse, that someone is "concerned" for him.

But I never want to be one of those "blind-eye" mamas, with the "not MY baby" response, so I analyzed everything I'd ever done as a mommy and really studied my son...

What was I not seeing? Doing? Teaching?

The answer?


My son IS indeed
a very busy child.
super inquisitive.
quite independent.
a runner.
not the best direction-follower.
Sometime cranky tantrumer.

He's also wicked smart.

(even his daycare lady called him a baby genius. Ha!)

and adorably affectionate.

He's all of those things and more.
He's a two and a half year-old boy.

He's trying to understand the world.

As an adult it can be a really frustrating, tantrum-causing place...

Imagine it from his tiny point-of-view.

And I finally remembered something:

No one knows my child the way I do.

Everyone you meet will have an opinion/advice/a rule for what your child should do or be, but at the end of the day?

No one knows MY baby like his mama.

Maybe he IS a handful, but not an out of the ordinary one.

In my opinion, he's pretty frikken awesome.

Still, I'm sad he can no longer go.
He loved it.

It's never easy to see something that makes your child smile taken away even if you (mostly) understand the reasoning behind it.

Parenting is complicated stuff, kids.


Britt said...

Ugh. I am in an ECE class right now that specializes in discipline with "challenging" children and situations, and I rally think it is a class every single person should take, whether or not they plan on working with children professionally. This is such a no-brainer! Active kids have special needs, super smart kids have special needs, and neither are that hard to accommodate!

I was one of those children always in trouble for being "too much". It really was hard growing up with people who would judge me & exclude me from what "normal" kids did all the time. There is no way in hell I could have survived it without my very supportive Mom, who, like you, understood me & accepted me in a way no one else did until I was 16 damn years old. I am not saying this will be lil' O's fate, but either way, I can say that much like his parents, I can predict he's going to grow up wonderfully un-normal, and spectacular is all the best way a person could possibly be.

Cave Momma said...

Oh darlin', I am so sorry. I seriously wish I was closer to help out. He might be a handful but he is not a "problem child". He sounds like a "normal" 2.5 year old to me. And by normal I mean the very vague and large spectrum of normal.

Stasha said...

If it was me? I probably would have been holding back from throat punching the daycare lady. . .

Most toddlers act that way. Not all but most.

And for her to send you a video? Really? That is kinda weird to me.

Maybe it's for the best in the long run that he doesn't go. Hopefully you can find somewhere else to take him.

Just be strong and supportive for him. YOU are his advocate.

And this parenting gig? Is hard, yo.

Leighannn said...

I think it was for the best. Any woman who would video your child and send it to you to make you feel like there's something wrong is not professional.
You DO know best

Jayne said...

Yes, his mom and dad had similar issues as well. :) thanks for your ever-present encouragement, love!

Jayne said...

The vague and large spectrum indeed...ha!

Thanks friend!

Jayne said...

You know, I was so caught off guard by it, that at first I was just sad for O...

Again, she is a really nice woman, and I really don't think it was her intention to offend me/my son, but I really don't think she handled the situation well.

Jayne said...

It's so funny that you mentioned the video, because I think that was the thing that sent me over the edge. It seemed unnecessary.

She was always very kind, so I can only hope that perhaps she felt awkward/bad whatever, and maybe that led to her mishandling the situation.

Jaime White said...

Ugh, I'm sorry. I know this woman is a friend, but come on! He's a toddler. This is completely normal behavior for a toddler.

My brother and his girlfriend went through something similar with their daycare lady. But it was about him crying as an infant. "There's something wrong, he always cries, he's spoiled, he's coliky."

My nephew is none of those things. He's a normal baby that's used to being with his mamma all day. It's just amazing to me that people who are supposed to "know" children get it so wrong sometimes.