Thursday, June 3, 2010

Daycare - The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

A lot of you know that of late, I was suffering from the "daycare woes". In reality it was Daniel who was the one I believe was really going to suffer if I didn't change his situation. I thought I would share a little more in depth about what was going on and what lead to our decision to change his daycare situation.

First off the facility where Daniel was located is super nice. There are two buildings, one of which houses a great big "Jumpy House" as Daniel calls it. In the winter and on bad weather days when the kids can't play on the playground, they would bundle up and go to the jumpy house. His room was nice and they also did a lot of extra activities like going on field trips, having a bike day, a sprinkler day, lots of parties and the like. The best part is that they provided breakfast, lunch and two snacks a day. For Daniel this was terrific because he is not really a morning person (it takes him a while to wake up) so he was never ready for breakfast first thing, but by the time he got to school they were just sitting down to eat.

You may remember that back in October I had to have Daniel removed from his current classroom because of one particular little boy continually biting Daniel.

Things went very well until a few months later. Guess who got moved back into Daniel's room? The one and only biter - although he no longer bit. However I was noticing some new behaviors in Daniel. He was becoming quite mouthy, sticking his face in ours when we would say no, saying no back to us and the like. I realize some of this is normal behavior, but really if you know Daniel he's very laid back, very well adjusted and very, very good. (We're really lucky!)

We really didn't connect the behavior with daycare, until I was able to watch the one little boy yank another child out of a chair by the back of his shirt...and guess what? I was the only one to see it. Things happen right? Well about a month ago, we walk in and Daniel runs over to said little boy and he spits right in Daniel's face...and guess what? I was the only one to see it. A few days later he grabs Daniel when we walk in and puts him in a kiddie headlock. This time the teacher saw it but simply told the other little boy to keep his hands to himself.

Fast forward to the last three weeks. One of Daniel's little friends that he talks about all the time starts running up to us every day saying "I don't like you Daniel" or "I'm not your friend" as soon as we walk in the door. I even went as far one day to lean down and say (in a very nice, quiet voice) "That's not very nice, We shouldn't say things like that." To which he responds, "I don't like you Daniel" even louder. Then I noticed he was running off and playing with said other little boy.

Two weeks ago Daniel came home from school saying that the two little boys are mean to him and that one hit him in the head. The next day Daniel tells me sand was "shoved" into his mouth. Before you panic (because I sure did) it was not "shoved" into his mouth, however, it was thrown into his face. And yes - I did confirm with the teacher that it wasn't made up as Daniel had even described the blue bucket the sand was in.

Fast forward to last Thursday. I pick Daniel up and he's a grumpy bear. As in mean face, mean attitude and wild as can be. So not my normal "I missed you Mama" son. We get to the car and he just starts to bawl and then buck his car seat. I couldn't get him to bend at the waist. How does someone so little do that?!?! I gave up trying to fight, pulled him out of the car and just held him. Finally I set him down and asked him if he could tell me what's wrong.

His response "Boy #1 hit my head into the wall, and Boy #2 hit me in the face".

I was LIVID.

I immediately marched right back in. No one knew anything of what happened (of course) and they tried to remind me that it was Daniel who was grumpy that day.

I was even more livid at that point, went out front and told the supervisor it was us or the other little boy who was the initial cause of everything (aka the biter).

Then I slept on it.

I decided they could keep the biter and we were leaving. What good was it getting rid of the child if they weren't going watch the kids anyway?

As if that wasn't enough, he called his school the "mean school" on the way there the last day and the his room the "bad classroom".

I called the director, who didn't sound at all surprised by the goings on (which is a red flag for me) and asked for immediate release. She granted it. Even if she hadn't, she knew we were gone.

Daniel is now enrolled at a great Christian daycare and school. He could actually continue there once he starts Kindergarten through 8th grade if we so decide. His class will be a preschool based class and he will immediately begin learning the alphabet and have specialized reading circles. The teachers are actual teachers and the classes are skill driven. They do worksheets everyday and they appear much more organized!

The children are seated a lot so we may have to adjust our evening schedule to include more active activities vs. playing games at the table or building legos etc. We may add an evening walk into our routine to get rid of any excess energy before bedtime.

I also have to start packing his meals and snacks and try to get breakfast into him before we leave in the mornings. The latter I am mostly worried about since Daniel sometimes doesn't wake up until a few minutes before we have to leave. I think I'm going to start making lots more noise in the mornings!

He seems excited about the change. He has one great friend already there and I know she won't be beating up my son anytime soon!!! He was so happy when I told him we were all done with his school and he could go to another school.

In the end I wish I would have had the guts to switch him back in October but I truly felt like the director was working with us and that Daniel was doing well. It's so hard to determine when it's better to let some things go provided there are changes in place to improve things and when it's okay to say forget it and move on and then have to worry about the adjustment your child will have to go through if you make the change.

At this point I'm not worried about the adjustment since I think Daniel will adjust well without all the meaness he was receiving by those two little boys. I do hope the director thinks long and hard about why she allows the one child to stay and hurt other children. I believe the second child would be much better off without the first child's bad influence.

Maybe she'll figure that out...but in the meantime, I know I'm doing the right thing and I can't wait to update you all with Daniel's progress!!


Kim Abraham said...

I am so glad you found new school for Daniel. No kid should ever have to endure such treatment - especially sweet Daniel! I can't believe he will be 4 years old soon. Since I so rarely get to read blogs anymore, please wish him an EARLY "Happy Birthday" from me!!!

Gloria said...

I am so happy that you were able to get a new place right away. Daniel is very lucky to have you for a mommy! You will always take care of him and he knows that. Daniel is as lucky to have you and Troy as you guys are to have him. So happy that it worked out. Can't wait to hear all about the new place.

JennStar said...

Glad you guys found a new school- hope the adjustment goes well. Having 1 little guy who only sometimes eats breakfast at home, we keep a stock of "bars" in our pantry (granola/breakfast bar type things). When he doesn't eat, we grab one on the way to school so he can eat it in the car- his snack comes about an hour after his day starts, so this helps to.

Mama Fish said...

Rachel-I'm gonna say it again. I am so proud of you for what you did! That took some guts and a mama bear like attitude. You advocated for Daniel so well! I am so glad that he is in another preschool. I bet he will just love it, and it sounds like he'll be learning much more than in the previous daycare.

As for breakfast... does he like to drink early in the morning? How about a banana-yogurt-OJ shake? It will get him some easy calories he can drink on the way to preschool. 1 cup of yogurt, 1 cup of OJ and one banana blended. My boys loved this when they were little. :-)

Christine and Stephen said...

Hi Rachel - we have had a similar adjustment issue with Roman's daycare ... it's specific to his room and the teachers working with us and LISTENING to us about issues specific to Roman. We made the decision this spring to look into alternatives for Roman come Fall ..he is going to be going Montessori school!! We are excited for the change because he is going to get a lot more individual attention and this is going to help him with letters, numbers and colors!!!

I will say the director of the daycare was NOT happy when she heard he was leaving and not going to attend the pre-k program there! She did have the nerve to say to me "I know you weren't happy with his room" .. REALLY... then WHY didn't YOU do something!!!

Way to go Rachel!!!

Dede said...

Sounds like you have found a great replacement for the "mean" school! Sorry to hear that Daniel had to put up the other kids being mean to him. :-(

Stacy, Pat and Aidan said...

You totally did the right thing!! REally, I would question the first school even more. My understanding is that if an incident occurs, whether they see it or not--ie. the child tells them--they have to write up an incident report which the parent signs. I also get a heads up call at work to tell me. . .and biting, at our school, is cause for immediate dismissal for the rest of the day! Hope Daniel is okay and that he learns lots and lots at the new Nice school!

Jane and Jim said...

Wow, we just had a similar thing happen with Coop. He was in a very rowdy class with a too-laid-back teacher. He was also coming home with very bad new habits, talking back, etc. I had him moved to another class with more girls and a stern teacher just this Monday... and it's already made a difference. I hope it works out for you - go with your gut! The new place sounds great!

Craig and Phyllis said...

Poor Daniel! That is a lot of tough behavior that he had to endure. How is it that teachers always miss the other kids doing things like that?!! I could feel my Mama Bear rising, so I don't know how you kept composed during all of that! Glad to hear that the new place will be so much better!

Teresa & Kevin said...

Oh, poor Daniel to have had to put up with those mean kids! I am so glad you found a better school for him! - I'm sure he already likes it a lot better!
Hope you're having a great weekend!!

Chris said...

You made some really good decisions for Daniel. Sticking to your guns is always worth it.

Becky and Keith said...

You go girl!! Daniel is one of the most laid back kids I've ever met and I can't imagine him being so upset. Poor little guy!! You did the absolute best thing for him and he will THRIVE off of the structure this new school will be giving him.

Carey and Norman said...

So wonderful to hear that you made a decision concerning Daniel's school. I know you must feel relieved to move on and begin a new school. It is so hard making these types of decisions and wondering if you made the right one. I think you have to follow your heart/instincts and not look back! I'm proud of you for standing up for Daniel and making the change!!