Friday, June 11, 2010

Gotta have a Fiddler in the Band

Warning: The first few paragraphs are basically me venting about daycare. However, there is a nice little ditty to the tune of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia" at the bottom. :0)
My daughter started a new preschool a couple of weeks ago and this was a big deal for us. I have always been a working mother out of necessity. She entered daycare at 6 weeks old. Daycare has been a necessary evil for us since day one. I won't go into everything, but I will briefly mention the time she was about 3 months old and the 80 year old nursery worker decided to use her age old remedy of scrubbing cradle cap off of her head. Apparently this also meant scrubbing her actual hair off of her head. She had about one third of the hair she had when I dropped her off that morning when I picked her up and her scalp was bright read for days. . .and the cradle cap came back. . .and she has an irrational fear of water and baths to this day. I blame the 80 year old daycare worker. I was horrified.

I will also mention the time she was barely 2 years old and she began pitching EXTREME fits which led to 2 hour mornings just to get her in the car and into the daycare center. After a few weeks of this, a daycare employee mentioned that she hadn't eaten again that day. I said, "really? Again? Did she not eat yesterday either?" Her reply? That she hadn't eaten  or engaged with another child while in their care for 2  weeks!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Personally, I felt this was something that should have been addressed a liiittle sooner than 2 weeks of this behavior. 9 hours is a long time to go with out eating or interacting with anyone.  I worked with her pediatrician to make sure nothing was occurring developmentally or physically. There was nothing to note. So, I took her out of traditional daycare and placed her with a highly recommended woman who kept children in her home. It worked out beautifully, although it was a little bit of a drive in the opposite direction of my job. I probably would have driven to China,  though.

This arrangement lasted a little over a year. Drawing on Liliana's ques, as well as her caretaker's, I decided it was time for her to reenter daycare in a structured preschool setting with children her own age. So, I chose one. The first few days went wonderfully. She then started to have some crying spells. Understandably, the newness had worn off. Then the teachers started to point out a few things about Liliana's behavior in a really harsh manner, mainly crying, missing me, wanting to hold her stuffed animal. Then I noticed a few peculiar things such as extremely harsh grading of coloring sheets in her class. One child's had a huge frowny face with the words written in sharpy "DID NOT FOLLOW INSTRUCTIONS". I mean, its coloring. What could the instructions be, other than 'Color'. I also witnessed a teacher argue with a 3 year old child for literally 2 minutes of back and forth "Yes you are" "No I'm not" to determine if the child's name was on the timeout list for the day. Is that the best way to handle that situation?

The next day, when I went to pick her up, they were still doing lessons. So, I stood at the door and watched. Liliana was sitting at a table all by herself and not participating at all whatsoever. Come to find out, she was in time out for crying because she missed me. I understand if she was disrupting the class or something, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I'm then told that the only way they got her to stop crying was to tell her that her mommy wasn't going to pick her up as long as she cried. Um, hello????? Are you seriously instilling the fear of abandonment in my child????????
Re-entering daycare has been such a huge challenge for her and I am so proud of the progress she has made. I remind her every morning that I will be back to get her no matter what. The LAST thing I need is her questioning or doubting that.

A couple of days later I get a note sent home. The most condescending note you can imagine informing me that "Pioneer kids are independent" and if Liliana has a pacie at home I need to get rid of it "immediately" and she needs to be able to pull her pants up and down all by herself every time because, again, "the rest of our kids are independent".  Now, I get the basic premise of this note is valid. She needs to work on going potty all by herself and she's too old for a pacie, its hard to console her when she wants it at school if she's still allowed to have it at home. I get all of that. But you don't get to tell me what to do at home and of course we are working on both of these things. And Liliana is 3 and has been in your program for 2 weeks. She will be able to do the things the rest of the class is doing, but jeez! cut her some slack! The majority of the time she does pull her pants up and down by herself, but sometimes they get rolled up and its hard. Help a kid out. And she misses her mom, her pacie is what she is used to having as a comfort item, naturally she is going to cry for it at first. Give her some time.

Finally, the clincher, what really irritated the crap out of me, was this morning. Liliana had to potty when we got there. Since her class was outside, I took her. Since we were there, we went by their rules. I encouraged her to do it all by herself. She started crying and a teacher came in and got her by the hand and led her to the playground without asking any questions or anything. One of the directors pulled me aside and started doing her arms like she was playing a fiddle. Then she proceeds to tell me that Liliana was playing me like a fiddle. That she was the boss and I was letting her win. She said I was no longer allowed to walk her in. I had to leave her at the door. We would nip this crying in the bud. And then she fiddled me on out the door. I was left standing there like "What the heck?!?!" You don't pull me away from my child! And you sure as hell don't fiddle me!

But, maybe they're right. Maybe she needs some tough love. I'm all for giving it a try. If she begins protesting, stops eating, becomes withdrawn, etc again. I'll form a new plan. I just hope I've sent her to a nurturing, developmentally inspiring, fun-filled place. . .and not a rigid boot camp.

I did, however, write a song inspired by the fiddle experience. Its to the tune of "The Devil Went Down to Georgia". I hope you'll enjoy.

My child went down to Pioneer, she was lookin to be babied still
She was in a bind 'cos she was way behind: she didn't wanna make no deal
When she came across this teacher grading papers and grading em hard
And my child jumped upon the table and said: "Lady let me tell you what:

"I bet you didn't know it, but I take a pappy, I do.
I won't do it here, but when I'm home my mommy makes the rules.
Now if you say Pioneer kids are an independent group.
I bet a pappy of gold against your soul, 'cos I think I'm independent too.
Cuz I've seen their frowns, I've seen their fear, But I'm a little different fool."

The teacher walked her to the bathroom and she said: "I'll make the laws."
And fire flew from her fingertips as she pointed to a stall.
And she ordered her to do it all herself, she's a big kid, afterall.
When the teacher hushed, Liliana said: "Well, you're pretty good ol' friend.
But I'm just three so when my pants get stuck, my mommy gives me a hand."

Fire on the playground, run kids, run
Liliana's in the house of the risin' sun.
Pappy in her mouth, Red dog in tow.
"Honey, does your dog bite??"
"No, he's feaux."

The teacher bowed her head because she knew that she'd been beat.
She laid her giant sharpie on the ground at Liliana's feet.
Liliana said: "Teacher just come on back, we'll do it again, we will.
I told you once, you condescending twirp, I suck my pappy still.

And she sang, "Fire on the playground, run, kids, run.
Liliana's in the house of the risin' sun.
Pappy in her mouth, Red dog in tow.
"Honey, does your dog bite??"
"No, he's feaux."


  1. Oh my gosh!!! I gave this one a Ha! and a No ma'am! Jill, that is so crazy. I cannot believe you got fiddled out of there! I wish I could've seen the look on your face! Did poor Liliana at least get to go to the bathroom before being dragged off to the playground? I do not like it at all!! Do you think things are going to improve? Do you have a Plan B?

    I do love the song though!!

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  3. Oh my Jill! I'm terrified of sending my child to daycare now! I hope things get better for ya'll soon. And I too loved the song!