First off, I would LOVE to be a stay-at-home-mum, but circumstances don’t allow it and wont allow it unless we win the lottery. My partner was a stay at home dad for a year but we weren’t able to make ends meet and so he had to go back to work, which means both our kids are in daycare.
Over the last 3 years our daughter has been to 3 different daycares – and is soon to start at a 4th.
I think either we have different ideas of “normal” or we’ve become “those” parents. You know, the ones that other parents roll their eyes about and teachers avoid like the plague.
At one daycare whenever we fetched her she was miserable and hungry. The kind of hungry where she’d gladly chew on the dashboard given half a chance. I fetched her early one day, coincidentally at lunchtime and realised why… the kids aged 2 – 5 were left to dish up food for themselves, eat unsupervised and then scrape off their plates and put in the sink. Which I guess for some kids is fine. But my kid was a teeny 2 year old and she wasn’t getting food! When I was there it seemed the bigger and more aggressive kids got food first and whatever was left the smaller kids could get to. Natural selection toddler style? I was furious!!
At another daycare she came home wearing makeup. She looked like a miniature drag queen complete with bronzer, blue eye-shadow and lipstick. Not wearing makeup myself means we don’t keep makeup remover and it was removed painstakingly in the bath with soap and many tears. We asked nicely that it not happen again and explained that we have no problems with face paint but didn’t feel makeup was appropriate. Apparently the school felt we were being “conservative” and she came home again with a face full of makeup. I sent a pretty scathing letter to the manager and followed it up with a visit. Our family values aside, surely there are concerns around allergies and hygiene?
Most days when we collect her the kids are watching videos on Youtube. Often things we wouldn’t be happy for her to watch at home. I don’t like the kids having internet access at daycare. I don’t like them watching anything on Youtube without my supervision and I also don’t want a daycare deciding its ok for my daughter to watch things that aren’t appropriate for children of all ages. If it says “PG” it means “parental guidance” not “early-childhood-educator guidance”. Grrrr.
The last straw was arriving at daycare to find my child not there. Apparently there was an impromptu bus trip into the CBD on Xmas Eve, traipsing through the shops. I can only assume some of the teachers wanted to finish their Xmas shopping. The daycare knows our daughter only goes on excursions with one of us coming along. They claim they called me and left a message. I had no missed calls, no messages, but more importantly, would no response from me somehow be construed as consent?
So, we’re off to daycare #4. They’ve been given a long list of “do not’s” and I’m feeling like a helicopter parent.
So, is it just us?