We have attended our current daycare for just a little over 8 weeks. At this point I feel a small review is necessary; just to test my sanity.
To recap: Miss Fancy goes to a local (as in one block south of our house) family child care centre. The lady there is a sweetheart. But she is not what I am used to and she is not what I consider to be a entirely professional child care provider
. Remember, I went begging for a childcare space
when I was 16 weeks preggo... I tell myself often to get over it/get on with it. Soon enough I will be home, I'll be able to review the whole setup and the balance of home to centre time will be quite different.
So... who cares? Well, I do. I was really happy to think we had a good nearby fit so E. could attend Lily's daycare 2-3 mornings a week after the nuthatch shows. I think it is a great idea for me, for E., and for the new baby... in theory. Here are my concerns (am I just being silly)?
1. When we started at Lily's the first remark I got about E. was her manners. They are great! Uhm, were great. Please and thank-you for everything - Lily couldn't get over this (and the fact that she speaks so well for her age). I think professional child care providers make a rule of good manners. I L-O-V-E that they do. Count one for how spoiled we were to have ever bagged our spot with N. But it seems it's not a big part over at the new place.
I sometimes worry not only that the kids are not polite to each other but that Lily is dismissive or angry with them. E. has said a number of times since she started 'Go away Lily, no. No grabbing' , or done a rerun(?) of an instruction to another child to 'Shut up' or 'Stop crying, Tyler!' I dunno, she is not really a reliable witness
is she? Still, these worry me.
2. I constantly remind myself that I can't get hung up on developmental milestones of kids in co-care but I don't always do so well. The crew at this daycare are 15 mos., 22 mos, E. who is 20 mos and one 3 year old. The kids sorta freaked me out when we came because not only do they -- not so much that they don't say 'please' or 'thank you' but that they don't actually say anything a lot of the time. No mind I figure... but after the 8 weeks E. is doing a lot more non-speech (uggah, ooh, ahhh) communication, and can be physcially demanding. I very often have to remind her to use her words... But, on this score I am pretty sure it is not really a situation that can be improved. While there are things about 'the program' that are not in my view supportive of speaking (see next point) it is really something I have to take responsiblity for managing at home... and besides, at nearly two I understand there are lots of reasons I have to master the instructions to E. to 'use words'.
3. Big killer... there is pretty harsh disconnect between my philosophy
and the reality of this daycare. I often will remark to p-man, as he gnashes and fulminates, you know it is ok, it's just that it is a very custodial environment not a instructive one. What do I mean? Well the program, such as it is, goes as follows: Kids arrive, get packed into a stroller or car for an outing, return home after a couple hours for snack and then riot time in the playroom with a lot of things that run on batteries, lunch, naptime, after nap kids play with the wide variety of indoor or outdoor noisy plastic things. Now, normally I am a huge advocate of contracting out the noisy plastic things. I love that I will never, for example, feel even the slightest need for one of these
. It is ideal to me she simply get that fix at daycare. Daycare is different and I do not expect to find a carbon copy of my house rules out there for rent, I doubt I would like to; it adds so much to our family to have another take on our kid. Still, I am bothered.
I can't really deal with the "management" of these kids. When there is an argument over a toy, which is often, the rules are really erratic. The idea of a turn for example seems non-existent and it seems that my daughter's turn is perpetual when I arrive, unless I say otherwise. Wha' da?
Further, there is little or no instruction. When a child does not operate one of the noisy things right the Lily takes the toy, tells them they are doing it wrong and does it for them. How does this promote the growth of independent little guys?
Overall, the day is built around strapping the kids into something, or kids running around frantically, or kids asleep. But only the latter one to a degree.
4. The peeve of the week for me has been the constant waking of my child from her nap because of the needs of Lily's own kids. What is my problem??? This is family
child care, I should know what I am getting into, right? And, besides her kids are 8 and 15 it is a good scenario that my toddler ain't in competition with her 3 year old all day. Still, it bugs me that more than a couple times a week E. is roused from her nap to get in the car and pickup Lily's kid from school.
5. I am so crotchety about all this lately I can't even stand the state of food service. While I have gotten over hating the fact I have to make lunch at all. (Count 2 for N.'s being the best, lunch was included!) I am making no headway at dismissing my disdain for the daily review of what I provide. 'Oh, she a only ate one carrot today' ... "Well, better than none!" I'll say..."So fucking what?" I am thinking. You might see some again tomorrow...
I guess this stuff also goes to the philosophy thing. I would be hard-pressed to characterize this lady as patient or persistent. If something isn't working on a day she reports it as a failure. You need to bring more juice she willl not drink the water. Well, no, she will. She just would rather drink juice, don't give up! Also, she feeds all these noodle-only kids, this makes me whacko! Miss Fancy eat best when she feeds herself, I know if ain't always so tidy but whatever! Overall, she really babys them and I hate that any day of the week.
So what do you think guys??? Should I be following up on a schedule of part-time after June 30, at all? Should just smile and walk, leave a nice parting gift, and start looking for alternate arrangements? I mean there are -- as you might supect good things about Lily's... She is a craft-freak, E. loves it and we don't do that stuff at home. Lily takes the kids to library program, so she can't be all bad. I think E. likes the other kids there and we get to see at least one of the compatriots on the weekends at the park, it is a good evolving relationship for her. The price is right, location is a dream and she is in a safe and tidy environment. I loved taking her to N.'s but I think it set a false standard for me. It is hard to judge if I really have any valid complaints.
Finally, if anyone wants to tell me to talk my concerns over with Lily bear this in mind... she is not a good communicator. I hesitate to discuss stuff with her because 1.) She takes things really literally (which never works with me right, wink-wink) and 2.) it is a waste of my time. When we first started there I tried to get with Lily's meal set up. I explained, E. never had bottles, and she drinks milk from a cup, thank-you. I said I would bring a jug of her milk on Mondays and that would be enough for the week. 'Oh, ok' Lily said then for two days she packed the bottle in E.'s bag for me to take home... Why didn't she just tell me she wanted me to bring prepared cups?
It's weird. And, I don't know what to do.