So I have been a little off the radar lately, but it is because of the-week-before-Spring-break craziness, but also because we are having some day care drama.
This isn't the first time in recent weeks I have been thinking about our day care situation. A few weeks ago I called our first choice day care in East Nashville (Holly Street) to find out about the insanely long waiting list and where we are on it. We are 19th (we were 30th when we put Calvin on the list when I was 16 weeks pregnant). Counter-intuitively, when we have a second kid, our odds of getting them both in go up. The second kid would get Calvin's entry date (roughly 8/1/11) which would shoot baby #2 to the top of the list. When that happens, they find a spot for the older kid. So, whenever #2 started, Calvin would also get it. That isn't any time soon, so I was I guess a little happy and a little sad.
Then in an assembly earlier this week, a senior was giving a speech about hugs and how important they are. Sitting there I was suddenly worried about Calvin getting enough hugs and affection at day care. I brushed that aside.
When I picked him up that afternoon, I opened the door and Calvin was standing with the teacher headed down the hallway. He turned around and walked to me, and as I did the teacher asked me, "Does he walk at home?" She was clearly frustrated.
I said, "Uh, yeah, I mean only 5 or 10 steps at a time?"
"Well, he won't walk here," she replied. She added something about him holding onto the wall, as if that was a bad thing.
Then, from behind the teacher, the director of the center said to me, "That's fine. Meg, you aren't doing anything wrong. That is exactly what we expect from a new walker." Her tone was clearly showing that she didn't agree with what his teacher was saying to me. As the teacher walked by the director, the director leaned over and clearly reprimanded her.
This all went straight over David's head. He didn't really notice anything out of the ordinary. Clearly the teacher was contradicted in front of me. I was very uncomfortable with the whole interaction. Was she yelling at Calvin or being mean to him about walking? I didn't want her to be venting frustration on him that isn't his fault. He hasn't even been walking a whole month.
And suddenly, like the jerky boyfriend who you finally realize has been a jerk the whole time, I realized that this isn't the first time his teacher has said stuff like that to us.
"You should stop carrying him."
"Don't feed him, let him feed himself."
She has definitely scolded him (gently) for crawling to me instead of walking when I arrive.
Listen, the kid is going to walk. He is doing the best he can, and he is nervous about falling, so he is cautious and slow and sometimes drops to a crawl. We all know this.
I cried on the way home, I cried that night. I just think that there isn't much warmth in his classroom. I spoke to the director the next day and told her my concerns. She agreed that what the teacher said in that moment was wrong, and said she had already spoken with the teacher, but would speak with her again. She said that he is definitely not getting scolded, but I still feel like there is some negativity and lack of warmth.
And, I will admit, I am starting to feel a bit snobby about our day care. No one there has a college degree, let alone a degree in early childhood education. As he is getting older, I want a place that at least the director has that. But, ours is a pretty affordable day care and that is why. The pay is minimum wage, and who else will accept minimum wage and no benefits?
So, it was always in the cards that we would switch day cares eventually. On Monday night, eventually arrived. So, to feel like I was being productive I researched every day care within one zip code area from school. The first problem is that a lot of day cares open at 7:30. We have to be in our rooms at 7:30, so we need one that opens at 7:00 or earlier. This limits our options. Then some day cares are out of our way and that would really add to our commute.
Then there is the whole issue of price. Some have a flat rate, some charge based on age, and some charge for early drop off and pick up, usually anything before 9 am and anything after 3--aka anyone who isn't a stay at home mom. If you detect bitterness there, I'm sorry. It is more that I hate being nickeled and dimed. I hate it that the base rate is $200 but then there are all these add ons because we work a regular work day.
But, we have accepted that we are going to have to pay more so that we can get more. It is starting to matter as he gets older.
One day care on the way to school that I found in my research on Monday night is less than a year old and I left them a message. They called me back yesterday. They have a garden in the back where the kids get to help plant and take care of a raised bed. They have a fenced in area and tricycles, they have naturescapes. The director has an early childhood degree. They provide breakfast, lunch and snack (our current does not) and the menu is posted online every month. We get a discount for the second kid. It sounds great. We are going today after school to visit. We'll see how it looks. If they have a spot for Calvin in April, and we feel like this might be a good fit for at least a year and a half, I am ready to move him.
I guess now I have to worry about that transition, but right now I feel like it might be the right time to do it.