Saturday, July 26, 2014

Weekly Whine: Daycare, Part 3

I mentioned last week about how I felt the daycare wasn't feeding Babygirl enough. That was bad enough, but what ended up happening is they became completely obsessed with her clothing.

I have to admit, Babygirl did not have the best clothing. A lot of it was used, some stained. But seriously, they grow out of clothing so fast, I couldn't bring myself to buy new, beautiful clothing for her. I'm just not that kind of person.

Anyway, one time the director of the daycare called me at work, and said she had to talk to me about something important. Apparently, Babygirl’s teachers had complained that the outfit she was wearing that day had stains on it.

I assure you, the outfit was 100% clean. I guess the stains did not come out in the wash and my husband, who dressed her, didn't care. I really didn't think it was that big a deal, but they said it had happened before, and were acting like they were going to call child protective services. They didn't say that, but it was how I felt.

Later, I got a similarly ominous phone call from the daycare director, complaining that I dressed Babygirl in a onesie for daycare. It was the middle of July and I didn't think that was inappropriate. But apparently it was.

Meanwhile, they weren’t even feeding her.

I was actually crying over the whole thing. In retrospect, I think it was ridiculous. But at the time, it made me feel like a terrible mother. I started buying new clothes just for the daycare.

I especially didn't like the fact that the teachers didn't tell me directly and instead reported me to the director. The director claimed it was because they didn't want to damage their relationship with me, but it really made me hate them. Finally, I said to one of them, “If you have any issues with Babygirl, please talk to me directly."

And the woman said to me, "OK, now that you gave me permission, I can talk to you directly."

Honestly, I felt like I was on crazy pills. What kind of daycare is this where your teacher needs permission to talk to you about your own child?


  1. Given that you've had other problems with this daycare before about the whole Tuesday thing, why don't you find another one?

    1. We are no longer with that daycare, as I mentioned in the first post.

  2. I think we all here can back you up and say this is absolutely absurd. I may a little on the other extreme, but I half see stains as badges of honor. Kids being kids! Anyway, the angle you may not have considered, I suspect that this complaining about the stains was the daycare teachers' way of retaliating, even subconsciously, to your concerns about the feeding. Like, "who is this lady to judge, she can't even dress her kid." I would bet that whether consciously or not, this complaint was part of a defensiveness about it. I would also wager that the administration handled your feeding concerns poorly, partly accounting for the defensiveness of this response. ... Good riddance. Glad you've gone elsewhere.

  3. Are you serious? Kids get their clothes messed up. HELLO ... even in my church they'll take them out to play at times.

    HELLO wow these are some stupid people. These idiots are teaching the next generation? I'm glad you got them away.

    Normal kids get clothes nasty. If you don't want kids to have dirty clothes, do not have kids.

  4. Geez. We specifically send the kids in stained clothes to daycare because they spend so much time outside getting filthy. They're kids, that's what they do. That's why they have play clothes, outing clothes, and dressy clothes. Daycare is 'play' not 'outing.'

  5. You should totally tell them, in your most serious face and tone, that you intentionally dress in her food-stained clothes so that she can suck on the stains for nutrition. "You know, because you aren't feeding her while she's here."

  6. Maybe the clothing issue was also due to the culture of the daycare. If most of the other parents dressed their kids in dressier clothes, yours would have stood out and perhaps appeared to be a cause for concern. I will say that even for play situations I tend not to use obviously stained clothing. Used, worn and patched: absolutely. Grease stains, my nemesis, I consider invisible. But I try to keep my kid in clothing that appears clean. I've been known to patch stubborn stains to get more wear out of an item.

    I remember noticing that my daughter's preschool teacher was extremely nervous when she told us she'd observed symptoms of Sensory Integration Disorder in our daughter. I didn't get it. We're friendly, reasonable people and in my mind she shouldn't have been scared to give us this information. But after a few more years in this parenting gig I understand. Think about how some of the attendings treated you when you were a resident. Daycare workers get the same sort of treatment from some of the parents of the kids they care for. And they don't have the status you have as a doctor so they're at a disadvantage when dealing with parents about potentially sensitive issues. Plus, you already had an ongoing complaint about the teachers. I actually like the policy of the director addressing issues on behalf of the teachers. It may seem as avoidance but to me it says the director is willing to run interference on behalf of her employees. That's not always the case. Ideally, the teachers should be able to talk directly to the parents about these things, but in reality it can become very confrontational. Daycare teachers see the parents every day and something like this can become very uncomfortable and perhaps worse. Comments like this can sound less personal coming from a third party and the director is in a better position to garner respect.

    At any rate, that they weren't feeding your daughter enough just because it didn't fit their schedule is a big problem. I'm glad your kids are in a better daycare.

    1. BTW, I don't mean to imply you, personally, would have been a problem. But you can't always tell in advance who will react badly so you have to develop a policy that covers everyone. However badly they may have been going about it, I can see signs of this daycare facility trying their best to protect their employees and the kids in their care.

  7. Well my daughter is now in a new daycare, that's not any kind of utopia. It has its own set of different problems.

  8. one thing that surprises me - you always seem to be so assertive and strong, not easily getting upset - that this bothers you so much and you didn't tell them to shove it right away startled me... this is not supposed to be criticism, we're all human after all - but I would have expected you to handle this differently /2cts

    1. I am neither assertive nor strong. In real life, I am a huge pushover. It's interesting that it comes off that way on a blog.

  9. That's insane!! Our preschool (daughter is almost 3) says to put them in stained/throw away clothes so that they are not afraid to get them dirty!! That way they can play in the garden and paint and stuff and not worry. What weirdos! Also, we ALL have stained clothes I mean...

  10. Seriously, why put them in new clothes when they will be out of them in six months to a year is not sooner? They only time we buy new stuff for our kids is the season ending sale, that those will we worn the following year.

  11. I know this is several months late but I've only wandered in to your blog out of random luck. I worked in Early Childhood Education for 2 years. This was where I live in Australia but I assure that 'best practise' spreads quite quickly these days.

    You cannot tell the parents if there is something wrong.

    I was reprimanded for advising a parent her 2 year old daughter had not slept well, was difficult as a result and had not eaten all that much today either. The parents were and are lovely people.

    I was also "told" by a colleague that I could not write any where visible that a child was sick, in case other parents complained sick children were attending care.

    When I was leaving the centre after serious disagreement on sleep routines with management I admitted this to some of the parents and they were just as upset at management for their own reasons, or on my behalf.

    If you want a child care educator (not a director) to tell you something directly, they can only do so after a long period of observation about the child and its been clear that it is a behaviour that is age inappropriate.

    Regarding the clothes thing, no child care educator (floor or director) has a right to say what clothes to dress your child in UNLESS it is a danger to their health. Such as going on excursions without proper footwear.

    In the case of the onesie in July, I would find this more reasonable if they had explained their unhappiness was because the exposed skin may increase sunburn chances, (sunscreen only does so much).

    Regarding stains, as both a client and employee I would not have lifted a brow. This lovely daughter I had contact with ruined her clothes for 4 years and her parents dressed in the nicest of things. I would highly discourage new clothes being worn to care (though I am a bit judgy if I find them in pyjamas or yesterdays clothes).

    Finally regarding the food, it is important to clarify exactly what was going on here. Is the centre providing food? How many meals are pre-arranged? What hours is your child sleeping verse food serving? In short, what is the situational circumstance?

    At this same centre I worked in as all I already mentioned above, food was provided but it was regularly a fight to get enough for big eaters. The cook was very understanding, until the point of running out of food, upon which she quickly blamed the staff for over feeding the kids.

    There was no option for us as staff but to try and jiggle servings around so those who didn't eat much were intentionally given smaller servings. If this is (or was) the case then as a parent you need (and the Parent Commitee) needs to lodge this concern formally. Staff can complain, and we complained a lot when I worked with toddlers, but there was nothing we could do.

    The really nasty route to take with this, is tell them you/your child is a "client" and if you don't get the service you want/expect, you can report them. I don't know how litigous the USA really is, but that will freak them out. It did here and we're not nearly as free flying with our law suits.

    I am not defending the staff, but I am saying that unfortunately, early childhood education is a business and there's some rich bastard at the top making money from the hard labour the staff put in. If they judge you, then forget them. If they are genuinely trying to help, please appreciate that.

    In another post you mentioned shoes??? I would have offered them (had I had any to offer) if I thought you wanted them, not because I thought you needed them.

    TL;DR: Child care attracts a lot women and becomes bitchy fast. But the rules and regulations of the industry make it much worse. Don't let people judge you/your children. If they ever dare say "Oh, look at that stain," then respond with "Yes, we had fun doing XX." If the services you are paying for are not up to scratch, you have the right as a client to demand more. You're willing to do so at Kmart, why not at child care?

    Wishing you good luck in a new place,