Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Looking for a square hole for our little square peg...

I want to express my sincere thanks to all of you for your support and input as we've been going through some uncertainty with Mae's situation at daycare.

We had a productive conversation with our childcare provider last night, and came up with some routine tweaks that might help lessen the issues that she is having with Mae's behavior (notice I did not say "Mae's behavior issues"), and we'll just have to wait and see how things go.

The main upshot at this point is that Mae will be staying where she is for the time being, and we are working together to improve the situation. We'll be monitoring things closely, asking detailed and frequent questions about her progress. And we'll belooking into what other options are available, where Mae might find a setting that better suits her as she develops.

I want to be clear that we still feel that our current care provider gives wonderful, loving, and expert care to the children--and we are not suggesting otherwise. She has cared for both of our children since birth (Arlo until he was 4-1/2), and has been a treasured and very important part of our family up until now (which, as an aside, is part of why it cuts deep that we feel she didn't communicate with us on a pretty basic level about what was going on with Mae). Anyway, it just seems like her way of doing things--with a distinct emphasis on keeping with a schedule and doing the same thing every day--though it is very effective and it worked for Arlo--might not be the best fit for Mae's personality as she grows.

We're open to leads and suggestions, whether they are for daycare openings in Iowa City or pointers for collaborating with your child's care provider/teacher/etc. It's not that we're looking for chaos--we just feel like Mae could use a little more flexibility, a little more room to be the independent little firebrand that you KNOW she's destined to be. (Ahem. See the tree from whence the nut came, right?)

Thanks for your love and support for all of us, especially Mae.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mama Bear and the Daycare

Our daycare provider has "issues" with my daughter's behavior that she thinks might warrant Mae's removal from the daycare. However, this is the first I've heard of any problem AND the behavior is not exhibited at home. What to do?

Our care provider tells me that Mae (2) "screams" all day and won't nap. She says that Mae keeps the other kids awake when they should be napping--by said screaming and jumping up and down in her port-a-crib. She also tells me that Mae has been aggressive with the other children (who are 1, 1-1/2, and 2-1/2) and "cannot be left alone with them without supervision" for any reason. Also? Apparently Mae doesn't eat very well.

All of these things have apparently been going on for a while, according to my phone conversation with the caregiver this morning--the napping problem "since she was an infant"--but honestly, I had no idea. Even though she fusses a little (okay, sometimes a LOT) about naptimes and bedtimes at home, she doesn't scream bloody murder or go on a rampage. And I've only seen her lay a hand on another kid when she's stroking a baby's hair, or doling out hugs and kisses to her friends.

When I pick up Mae from daycare, I often ask, "How was the day today?" or some other open-ended question to invite communication, and never have I heard any complaints. Mae always seems happy and relaxed when we pick her up, and she never resists going to daycare in the morning. So I was just completely blindsided by the phone call this morning, and I don't know how to respond.

We have been with the same child care provider since Arlo was eight weeks old, with both of them in her care together for some of that time. She lives across the street from us. She has always been wonderful with the children, and though our personalities are different, we've always given her the benefit of the doubt because she's just so good at her job, and she apparently adores the children. She even said that she has "been strong for so long" with regard to Mae's behavior because she loves Mae so much, and she recognizes our history with her and didn't want to cause any trouble. But then, practically in the same breath, she suggested that we "might want to consider a different day care situation" for her. (Me: stunned.)

I won't go into the details, but I believe that a lot of Mae's so-called behavior problems can be fixed, if we work together--and I am dismayed that we were not asked sooner to be a part of the solution. I am also feeling rejected and hurt on Mae's behalf, and defensive about someone finding fault with her, even though Mae (of course) had no inkling of the conversation we're having. Part of me wants to just pull her out of daycare and wrap her up in my arms and never let ANYONE say anything negative about her, EVER. (I am going to be in a world of hurt when Mae goes to junior high, I'm sure.)

But then, I acknowledge that Mae's not perfect and that if she is causing problems for the other kids, we need to address that. "If there was a problem, YO, I'll solve it." But why did our trusted caregiver have to allow the situation to reach a crisis level before bringing us into the equation?

Is my babysitter afraid of me? Are there underlying, non-Mae-related issues that are not out in the open? Am I in denial? Is my sweet, two-year-old daughter really just an insomniac tyrant in comfy, brightly-colored knit clothing? And not to be a drama queen, but just in case... Does anyone know of an awesome daycare provider with immediate-to-near-immediate openings?