I am the first to admit, that I am neurotic about my children. But then again, I hope everyone else is neurotic about their children, if they were neurotic about their care and well-being, the future may be a better place …or maybe not? I have what I think are relatively normal standards about the care that they receive, in a City that is full of what I consider inadequate child care. I am beginning to think that I am the crazy one or that my standards are off. After having spent the last 9 months with child care in our home, aka someone coming to our home, we were either going to have to find someone new to bring in or find somewhere for our children to go. To make it clear our previous childcare did not end badly, both were just short-term solutions to the ultimate problem and we knew going in they would be limited time i.e. one person watched our children while she was on her maternity leave and then my sister watched them during her break from school.
So what do we want in childcare? Here you go…
1. Safety- Our children should feel safe there, and we should feel they are safe there.
2. Attentiveness- Someone should be attentive to my child’s basic needs, I don’t mean they need their own personal watcher, but I would like to know if they are hungry, thirsty, have to go potty, someone is paying enough attention to acknowledge these things.
3. Professional Staff-
(a) Appearance: I understand that you play/teach children all day, so clearly you’re not going to be hanging out in business clothes, but anything that resembles pajamas is unacceptable, I would also frown on anything tight-fitting, low-cut, too short , excessively sloppy or otherwise makes me do a double take, also if it emphasizes your piercings or provides a better view of your tattoos it isn’t ideal.
(b) Professional Manner: Convince me you know something about child care and that you like children, I want someone who appears to care about my children while they are in their watch and can articulate things to me in a professional manner.
(c) Helpful: As parents we like to know what goes on in our children’s day, educate me about what they did or are doing. Answer questions and if youre not knowledgable be able to direct me top someone who is.
4. Building- Clean environment with lots of fun areas for the kids to play inside and out.
5. Routine- Have a clear explainable routine for the child to follow that you can educate me on.
6. Play!- Focus on play, I don’t need all kinds of preschool education for my 2.5 year old, free play with lots of time spent outdoors and occasional basic activities to introduce age appropriate skills would be super. No technology needed, so no television, computers or other technology to entertain my children during the day.
Any care center would get lots of bonus points if they also offered organic food or at the very least minimally processed/mostly fresh food and natural wood toys as opposed to mountains of plastic but again at this point I just really want his basic needs covered.
So, after choosing a daycare that has most of the above (or so we thought) we landed at what we will refer to as THE DAYCARE (which until we secure a replacement we are stuck at). After completing the mountains of paperwork, I dropped it off ahead of time and made a point to ask if I need to come early for anything like additional paperwork or set up. I was told that I should not come early because it would make it more difficult on my child. Okay clearly you ignored my social butterfly on the tour but whatever this is your gig. So I arrive the next week with child in tow and ring the doorbell since I haven’t been given the requisite key faab or card to get in to the building. After being admitted and introduce that we are new, a teacher asks Brecken’s age. I respond and we are introduced to his teacher who coincidentally is also new today as well. But wait she tells us she is leaving to take her child to 4K orientation so it’s really not her 1st day as an assistant is subbing for her. Neither know where his stuff goes but promise to find a spot for it. Completely frazzled I leave. Then panicked I return shortly after realizing that based on the small information I offered and the few questions asked relative to potty training, these people don’t even know my child’s last name nor do they appear to have any record of him being there. I didn’t sign him in with the fancy fingerprint scanning machine they have nor did anyone walk me through what to do or how one gets in without the doorbell which only I seem to use. I turned around went back, rang the doorbell and talked to what must have been some kind of teacher as it appeared none of the administration was there yet at 8:10 a.m. She said that she would have someone get in contact to have us set up on the system, that Jeff should bring his I.D. to pick him up and they would get it figured out and they knew he was here. I received a voicemail later that morning letting me know that they would set Jeff up with the check in tonight and me in the morning and that there was additional paperwork we need to fill out. Jeff picks him up to learn that there is a chance he was exposed to head lice as an older child in an older child room had it and as a precaution we should wash him and all his things tonight. Le Sigh. I know this happens with young children but still, GROSS.
That night I filled out the additional paperwork for media permissions, field trip permissions, etc. washed everything and decided that today’s chaos must be related to going back to school. Glass half full, I decided tomorrow would be better. Day 2 was not any better, after ringing the doorbell and seeking out the person who was supposed to help walk me through the sign in, I logged Brecken in and went over the paperwork. We had a couple of questions related to one form that wanted our income, which we weren’t very inclined to give and one that kept referencing school age children and had a weird fee amount on it. The teacher seemed unclear on the forms and just said to sign them. When I asked what I need to do to not have to ring the doorbell, I was told I could get a key faab or card and they could get those for me and how many we would like and there would be an additional fee. Okay I’ll pay to not have to ring the doorbell. When I get those I’m not sure. I then asked how much we owed because there were registration fees in addition to a deposit and this weeks fee which was due. Unsure it was decided the director would call me again. When she called later in the day she did apologize and acknowledge that she had given me the wrong form, hence the weird fee and then gave me a new fee. The new fee seemed outrageous, so after explaining (as all the paperwork we filled out said) that we were part-time care for 2 days a week, she then gave me another new fee. Okay 3rd times the charm, I said Jeff would drop the check off when he picked Brecken up.
Jeff went to pick Brecken up, and as he has to go get Brecken’s sister after picking him up, he is in at least a mild hurry, he found Brecken playing and visibly soaked in pee. He asked Brecken if he had peed in his pants and Brecken said yes. While I’m not sure how recent it was, it wasn’t warm so it had been there at least a little while. Brecken is very good about verbalizing his need to go to the bathroom, if not directly to you at least out loud and usually on multiple occasions. I get that he may have accidents but to find him there in pee soaked clothes at the end of the day, does not a happy mama make me. As all this is going on Jeff is trying to get the attention of the director who is chatting with staff so that he can give her the check or find out where to leave it and has to wait for her to finish her hopefully important conversation. Impressed we are not.
So, after 2 days we’re already ready for somewhere new. My question to you fellow internet friends, am I really too neurotic or am I right to think that I pay them too much money to find my child standing in pee soaked clothes at the end of the day. It is days like these that I have no hesitation about not working the other 3 days of the week.