Friday, September 15, 2006

Better Dadding: Blame the Day-Care

I have a hate/despise relationship with our son's day care. I know, I know, my expectations are all out of whack. I should try to remember the positive things, the good times.

Like, for example, on Monday when I picked up Chunk after lunch. I grabbed his "daily report" from his cubby and it was completely blank, except for the stuff I had written on it when I dropped him off. His room teacher informed me that they don't really write on it until nap time, because that's the only moment they can squeeze all of that in.

Now, I don't doubt her claim. There's fifteen or twenty maniacs in there and I'm sure it would be hard to keep up with all of the paperwork they have to do for all of the obsessive-compulsive, panic-prone parents (of which I am the president, now on my second term). But, they track everything on those forms. And, I mean everything! Here's the data I get every Monday:

1. Diaper changes and what they find in the diapers
2. How much the kids eat at snack and lunch and other snack
3. How long each child sleeps, down to the five minute mark
4. Shifting political views and how those changes relate to current events

If you don't write anything down until nap time, how do you remember what each kid did that morning? I don't remember how many times I used the potty in a day and I guarantee there's no way I could keep track of the habits and outcomes of twenty other people. How much did I eat during my morning snack yesterday? I don't know. Was it a cookie? Pretzels? For some reason I remember having pickle breath. Did I have a pickle? Where would I have gotten a pickle?

So, how do they remember all this stuff? Oh, I know... they make it up! That's right, it's all a lie. It's busy work they have to do, that they don't see as important, but parents come to rely on it. It's stupid. I don't really care if Chunk had fun with the water table. I know he has fun there, but I do want to know if he's eating. If he didn't poo on Sunday, I want to know if he went on Monday. They're minor things, but they're also minor things that can actually mean something. And, if you're going to do them, please do them right.

So, day care, until you stop slacking, I'm going to start blaming you for everything. Chunk's hitting and foot stomping phase? You got the blame for that. Yelling at me in Spanish? Yep, that's you too. Crazy obsession with the bathroom? You, day care, all you, baby! 101.3 degree temperature and open-water-main strength running nose? That's you, just like it's always you, every Wednesday night.

Oh, did I forget to mention the sickness? Yeah, once again, he's a germ-filled ooze factory. How do I know? Waking up every four hours to hear Chunk loudly tell me the Tylenol has worn off was one clue. Toddler vocabulary, being a bit limited, has a specific word for this issue and it sounds a lot like, "WAAAHHHH!"

So, day care, you get the blame. For everything. And, I'm recommending all other parents do the same. Is that this week's lesson? Actually, no, this is all a long-winded way for me to get to a more serious "Better Dadding" lesson. It's laying down the law.

I'm not a confrontational person. I'm easy going. I let things slide. But, this is about my son and the care he's receiving. I'll let the little things slide, but my limit for that is a lot smaller than my limit for other things. I'm not good at confrontation, but it might be time to talk to someone at the day care. The sicknesses? We've had that discussion and there's no solution, aside from maybe a plastic bubble. But, the daily forms and their inaccuracies are kind of important to me and something I should tackle. This week's lesson is aimed at me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You are nuts buddy! Why don't you get some REAL problems instead of wasting caregivers precious time on your own neurosis! I am sick to death of reading about parents micro management and control issues against kind hearted daycare providers who are doing the best they can under the circumstances to take care of all the childrens needs while being paid shitty for it and having to put up with constant criticism from the parents that refuse to even teach their own free range children that the world doesn't revolve around them exclusively! Get a realistic perspective and take the time to show your hard working caregiver that their tough jobs are appreciated before they burn out from lack of respect.