Daycare debacle

Monday, July 28, 2014

Up until now, the transition from family care to daycare has been rather seamless.  Even though we had a few unexpected scheduling bumps in the beginning, we have settled into a routine at this point.  My MIL takes B on Mon/Tues and he goes to daycare Wed-Fri.  Starting in September, he will be going to daycare full-time.  At first, I was worried about how we would be able to handle the shift to full-time, but the gradual introduction to the world of daycare has actual made me much less worried.

So far, we LOVE the daycare we have chosen.  The teachers are great and very loving and caring with the children.  The facility itself is nice and seems more like a school than a childcare center.  They have a great outdoor space to use when the weather is nice.  Basically it is the most perfect childcare scenario that I could have imagined us in, with the exception of the high cost, but you get what you pay for.  The care of my child is NOT something that I am willing to be cheap on.

Yesterday, I received an email from daycare with some updates.  This is a usual weekly occurrence and something that I look forward to because they always add in pictures of the kids.  This particular email contained a message about the "new school year", which starts in September.  Apparently 3 kids are moving from the infant room to the toddler room, but not B.  As soon as I read this, my heart started racing.  B is 15 months and definitely nearing the end of "infancy".  Why isn't he moving up to the toddler room with the other kids?  I got especially concerned when I saw that one of the kids being moved up is over a full month younger than him and one more of those kids (2 weeks older than him) just started walking.  I could feel myself getting more and more upset as I read through the email.

B can walk (and has actually started running), he can can eat on his own, he drinks out of a cup, he mimics everything, he naps regularly every day, he has (if I had to do a quick guess) at least 30 words in his vocabulary, and understands even more than he can say, such as sit down, pet the dog, take a bite/drink, etc.  He does still take his pacifier at naps and when he is upset/tired.  He is still breastfeeding about 4 times a day.  He also tends to throw his food on the floor when he is done, in addition to using the sign and saying up, but I mean he is 15 months, not 2.

Anyways, in the heat of the moment, I wrote back a quick email to the director, whole I will call "Vanessa":

Hi Vanessa-
I know we spoke briefly about it a few weeks back, but I'm not sure if we ever came to a conclusion on how we were going to handle B's schedule in the fall.  I am fine with keeping him with the infants a little longer, but I think keeping him in that room until next summer might be too long, right?  How might that work?  Would a mid-year shift to the toddler room be possible?  Also, you were going to check to make sure he could transition to 5 days.  Hopefully that is still ok.  If it not, please let us know ASAP so we can make other arrangements.

I didn't want to be that annoying mother, but I also don't want my child to be held back for unspecified reasons when it could hurt his development.  If there is something that he is behind on, skills wise, then I'd like to know so that we can work with him on it.  Also, it concerns me that all of his buddies are leaving him and that he is going to be the oldest child in the room by 4-5 months or so.  He isn't going to get any stimulation and I am sure that there are going to be lots of new babies starting, which will require the closer care of the teachers.  I honestly would not mind that he was going to be staying in the infant room longer, if there were going to be some other kids around his same age.

"Vanessa" emailed me back promptly on Monday morning:

5 days is perfect in the infant room.  Amanda feels B should start the year in the Infant room, but we can certainly revisit that after a few months.  How do you feel about that?

Hmmmm, ok.  I am not sure if I am being super sensitive here, but the lack of specifics makes me question the reasoning.  If they don't have enough space, then ok, I get that, but please explain to me why a 14 month old is getting moved up and a child who just learned to walk is also getting moved up.  What do I need to work on with B so that he will be ready to move up?  There is no way that he can stay in the infant room until the end of the school year in June.  He will be 26 months.

So this is where I am, currently.  I forwarded the email to my husband and have decided to let him take a stab at dealing with the situation.  Too often, I handle these situations, and this time, I am going to let him take the wheel.  My husband is a very good negotiator and can deal with these types of situations more objectively and with less emotion than me.  He mentioned setting up a meeting to talk in person, which I think is probably a good idea.

Does anyone have any advice for us?  Do you think I am being the crazy helicopter parent?  I know that there is a difference between being an advocate for your child and being overbearing and obnoxious.  I definitely don't want to be the latter.  I have also heard of kids getting treated poorly when their parents complain.  I know that is completely unethical, and I am not saying that will happen at our center, but it could happen.  I don't want my poor, innocent child paying for my mistakes.  What would you do?

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6 Responses to “Daycare debacle”

  1. At the day cares I know about kids move from infant to toddler throughout the year. I certainly understand being nervous, but if you are new the center it could just be that your son is still interested in the room while those who have been there a year or more are bored. Also, it could be money. Some toddler rooms have different ratios and are therefore cheaper. I

    1. Definitely good points. Our infant room is quite a lot more expensive than the toddler room and my son can definitely occupy himself with books and the toys in the baby room, still.

  2. I had to laugh because I'm having the opposite problem. There's such a demand for spots in the infant rooms that the Beats are being transitioned based on their birthday. So 10 month old age-adjusted babies will be in the toddler room. Granted, they both are meeting the milestones the center wants them to meet (though She-Beat still isn't crawling, which makes me worried about the move), but it's still nerve-wrecking.

    No one wants to feel like their kid is being left behind. It makes us think something is wrong. So I suggest actually speaking with the center director in person. Usually they have a check-list of things they want the kids to master before they transition them. With B only being there 2 days a week, they may not be observing him mastering these items. I find that if you approach it with a "we want to work with you to help him thrive" attitude, they tend to be very open and resourceful. I know that we communicate a lot with the director an teachers, hence we know what is happening and what we need to do at home to help them progress. But I'm also strange that way.

    Good luck!

    1. It is crazy how differently daycare centers decide what is the cut-off age for infants/toddlers. I have seen as low as 9 months and as high as 2. I agree with the idea of communication. We need to be better about that because we are usually in a hurry to get in and get out because, as you know, there just aren't enough hours in the day! We are going to make it a point to start asking more questions and partnering with the teachers. I think that starting full-time will help with that. Thanks!

  3. I would say it is just because you are new and they want to spend more time with him to get to know him a bit more. Once they move to the toddler room there is less one on one interaction and he will be left to his own devices I say embrace infants for a few more months if you can. My daughter moved when she was 20m old from infants to toddlers and I was devastated only because she got so much love in the infants and I was worried she would be excluded or have to deal with rougher kids. Please don't take it as a sign that your child is left behind but rather they are taking the opportunity to nuture a newbie a wee bit longer before the transition happens.

    1. I totally get that. Thanks for sharing this point of view. I actually started tearing up when I read this because I forget how fast he is growing up. They make that move from infant to toddler status almost overnight and obviously there is no going back. I don't want him to grow up too fast or move him before he is ready. I'll definitely mention this when we speak with the teachers/director later this week. Thanks!