Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Daycare Problems: What Do You Think?

Oh, I feel so beaten down, trampled really. I know part of it is that I'm sick. My dad is still in the hospital and we're wondering if his being in so long for extra tests signals the Big C; I talked to my brother yesterday and among other things, we discussed Dad's values -- his fancy cars and charging high rent to his kids on an apartment he probably couldn't get rented anyway. So it was already an emotional day. I also didn't manage to eat after breakfast until I got home. But the trampling has to do with Tot's daycare. I desperately need an outside perspective.

Last night, when I picked up Tot, I noticed he was trying to sit down without sitting on his butt -- and his thermals were all bunched up inside his pants. When we changed him, we found had the worst case of diaper rash I've ever seen on the little guy. Painful to look at. A couple layers of skin off. Really bad. And he was clearly in pain, though before he had been basically his happy self, though he's sick (and we clearly shouldn't have taken him into daycare yesterday in the first place).

Both AL and I were freaked out about the diaper rash: he didn't have it in the morning. I changed him, and though I don't remember particularly looking at his butt, I know I would've noticed that. Of course, this puts the question mark on what's going on at daycare. But really, he just has a terrible bout of diarrhea (which we've figured out since) and it's irritating his skin -- and I'll bet dollars to donuts the poor guy is scratching. (Poor thing has my super-sensitive skin.) I had initially thought that he had a skin reaction to the eucalyptus oil I was experimenting with because it's supposed to be good for colds. But now I don't think that was it. Anyway. This isn't the problem.

The problem is that when we took off his pants and thermals, we saw there was poop on them. That's not cool. He has extra clothes, so it wasn't that they didn't have extras and he had to wear them. The daycare people must've not noticed. On the one hand, I can see how it happened -- how they would just not notice, especially in the case of a big bad terrible poop, which is likely what was going on. On the other hand, do I really want my treasure in a place where they didn't notice that there was poop on his clothes? Even on the outside of his clothes? (I guess it's possible that they saw and made the judgment that it wasn't worth changing his clothes because we'd pick him up soon, but that's not a great judgment either.) This comes on top of some issues that have made me a little worried about this daycare in the past, especially about their respect for following parents' instructions. I could go on and on about their totally insane food choices -- okay, so they don't care about GMO or organic or whatever, but everyone knows about what sugar does to children and how children need nutritious food and someone please tell me what possible effing nutritional value Nilla Wafers have? Anyway.

AL put it very simply: we pay them to provide the care that we would. He took me into the bathroom to look at Tot's clothes soaking in the sink: is this what we want for Tot? Is this what we pay for? He's decided that Tot is not going back there. He's taking days off work to make sure Tot is okay. (And there's no way that Tot is starting new daycare all sick and rashy.)

In order to present this correctly, I have to say that Tot has learned all his letters and now sings the alphabet song (though with letters omitted) primarily because this place has done such a good job with him. Not that I care whether Tot is a verbal genius, necessarily. I want him to eat well and be well cared for. I want him to be able to run around. When he's there, he seems to be quiet and into himself. That's not strange for his age or temperment -- AL and I were and are both very animated and goofy at home (when I have the energy, which I frequently do not), but are sometimes withdrawn and reserved out there in the world, especially when we're uncomfortable. Is Tot uncomfortable there? I don't know. He's not as excited about going there (and I can say that the tenor of the place has changed a bit lately), but doesn't cry when I leave either. (He does sort of follow me around and doesn't want me to leave, but I don't know if that signifies anything but that I am his mom and he prefers me.)

Here's the thing: on the one hand, I think AL is leaping to a decision here. He's not being fair to the place. Tot was not endangered in any way -- and a little poop on his clothes is not the worst thing in the world. On the other hand, is that what I want for Tot? What duty do I have to be fair to the place, when the most important thing is Tot? When it comes to my kid, I don't have to be fair. In fact, my duties are to do the best for him. Can I really say now that this place -- poop on his clothes, food issues, respect for parents issues -- is the best we can do? Furthermore, do I want to argue to keep him there? Do I feel so great about it that it's worth arguing about? No, not really.

I'm really freaked out. And I'm not sure whether it's the daycare, my concern for Tot and his diaper rash (which is really terrible to look at), that I'm sick, AL's strong reaction, or just the accumulation of all this on top of my father in the hospital and my poor unhappy brother.

Oh, I hate searching for new daycare. Despite that there are tons of daycares in the area, it never feels empowering. Our stance on vaccinations and food makes us fringe -- and I always feel at a disadvantage. I know I'm paying them -- and in a consumer economy (yeah right) that's supposed to give me the advantage -- but they've got something up on me -- we're talking about my son. My precious, my only, my baby son. (Yes, I'm being melodramatic, but I feel melodramatic. And he's no longer a baby. He's two.)

I'd really like to hide under a rock.


Tiger Mom PhD said...

I am so sorry you are feeling sick and going through so much right now.

Did you all talk to daycare and ask them why his clothes were not changed and when the diaper rash appeared? If you have not talked to them, I would. I think that it would be difficult to make a decision if you haven't at least gotten answers to these questions.

In my experience, diaper rash can appear very suddenly. There have been days when Little T didn't have any rash in the morning and by 2pm it is horrible. I love Flanders Buttocks Ointment, especially for diarrhea induced rash.

We have had occasional problems with our daycare center, but after talking to them the problems were resolved. They are not perfect but we like them and they love Little T and she is learning so much. She is shy there and we don't think she talks as much there as she does at home, but I think that is her personality and her age. She is shy everywhere but home and is in a clingy stage.

It seems like you are unhappy with several aspects of Tot's daycare center. If this is the case, you may want to look elsewhere. If AL is really unhappy with them and is not comfortable with the care they are giving, then consider that as well. But as I said, I think you should get your questions answered either way.

Good luck -I know this is a difficult situation.

Tiger Mom PhD said...

And try yogurt or probiotics - they might help with the rash and his stomach since the diarrhea probably cleared out some of his good bacteria.

Anonymous said...

Okay, so. My kid currently has a diaper rash so terrible it's bleeding a little bit. It's also within the realm of possibility that one of more of my kids might have poop on her or his clothes.

Now, where I'm going with this is not that this is a-okay but rather that it happens at my house because I have three kids and way too many other things to do and because I might be slightly lazy. My point is that there's a good chance the people at the daycare are overtaxed and didn't notice these things. And they might be a little bit lazy.

Putting lazy aside, my thought is that they can't give your kid the care you would unless there is a 1 to 1 (or 2 to 1!) adult to tot ratio. Unless you have a nanny, I'm guessing that isn't the ratio. In any case, the degree to which they are going to notice the little things you would is going to decrease as the number of kids increases.

So that either means you'd rather seek alternative childcare with a lower ratio or you're going to have to accept that some things are going to have to slide.

I don't know if this is helpful but it's something to think about, anyway.

Anonymous said...

oh oh let me add that this totally sucks and you should do what makes you comfortable. you've complained about this daycare before, so do take everything into account and I wouldn't be afraid to seek an alternative.

albe said...

I just wanted to say (hug) and that this is so hard and upsetting, and I'm sorry. I've been there with not feeling confident and comfortable about care, and it is a horrible feeling.

I think one thing that matters is how you feel about the place and the people taking care of him. Do you feel like you can trust them? Do you feel like they really care about him and his well being? Do you feel respected? Is it an environment where you yourself would want to hang out all day? Diaper rash can appear suddenly, but if you don't feel comfortable and secure in what's going on, then it doesn't matter. I think the fact that your husband reacted like that might indicate that he doesn't trust in the quality of care there, and that is an instinct to listen to.

It is hard enough to leave our kids somewhere. It makes it even harder if you don't feel 100% about the people or the place. And I agree -- switching daycares is not an empowering experience. The whole thing is so stressful. I'm sorry.

Tiger Mom PhD said...

"It is hard enough to leave our kids somewhere. It makes it even harder if you don't feel 100% about the people or the place." <-- I completely agree...

Earnest English said...

I really appreciate all of your comments. You guys are all so smart. This incident really wouldn't be a big deal if we felt great about the daycare in general. I really like the head teacher for the toddler room, but many of the other people are really young and seem (maybe just because I'm so old) kind of ditzy. Not all of them, mind you. But a good example is that we've been talking with the director there about arranging some night babysitting -- and despite that we're desperate to go out and be adults because we really never do that, AL said he didn't really trust having most of them in the house. And I don't really blame him. He's obviously super-protective and had been biased against daycare, but. . .still.

When I get there at night, whoever is taking care of the kids is really more focused on getting the place clean than taking care of the kids. Tot is really good with unconstructed play and surely doesn't need someone breathing down his neck, so it's not really an issue, but there's no one really to talk with about how his day was or anything at that point. Part of this is that I pick him up close to their closing time, when the head teacher for the toddlers has been gone for 3 hours already. Ugh. I had already been thinking of finding out about a Montessori in the next town over (which would NOT be convenient at all but is still worth looking into).

I do think I need to talk with them no matter what. We're also planning on just taking care of Tot for the rest of the week while we decide what to do. But you are all right that on the one hand, it's not the biggest deal in the world, except that it is on top of our growing misgivings about the place for our Tot.

You guys have been super-helpful in helping me clarify the issues with your questions and comments. Thank God for you all. And thank you, of course.

Anonymous said...

hugs EE. I have no advice, but what the others are saying seems sound to me.

I'm sorry about your dad, too, and your brother. ((((((((((EE))))))))))