Daycare Director Deserves a "Time Out"

4 years ago


So, yesterday’s daycare pick-up was basically a disaster.

First, I discovered that Em had had TWO accidents during the day. TWO! She’s been so good with her potty training, with a few recent slip-ups, but she hasn’t had two accidents in one day in FOREVER. That had me wondering if her teachers were being as vigilant as they should be about potty patrol, or if they were maybe slacking off in the pee pee department. Or maybe Em is going through a rough patch and needs to be better about telling her teachers when she needs to go. Sigh.
Second, I discovered that Em had taken a full two hour nap, which basically meant she wouldn’t be anywhere NEAR tired until about 10 or 10:30 at night. Oh yayyyyy! For months now, I have been begging and pleading with her teachers to cut her nap off at the hour and fifteen minute mark. I have told them that when she takes a two hour nap, she acts like Richard Simmons on Red Bull well into the night, and the next morning she acts like Tommy Lee Jones at the Golden Globes. It’s not a good scene.
Apparently, they don’t get it.
OR they DO get it, but just like having a nice long two hour break from their students in the middle of the day. I’m human. I understand. But as the parent who has to get my groggy, sleep-deprived daughter dressed and out the door in the morning, I must stand my ground and keep protesting this super long siesta.
But that’s all peanuts compared to the REAL daycare drama went down as we were leaving the building.
I should preface this by saying that Em is still somewhat attached to her pacifier, at the ripe old age of two and a half. She uses it mostly at night, when going to sleep, but also sometimes in the morning, on the way to daycare, and in the afternoon, on the way home from daycare.
To be honest, as parents, we haven’t really been pushing her to give up her paci. I guess I’ve been waiting for her to voluntarily give it up after she realizes most kids her age are no longer using pacifiers. Also, it may have SOMETHING to do with the fact that I gave up my own pacifier and security blanket when I was, like, maybe 25 years old.
So, anyway, Em and Oren and I were walking out of her classroom toward the building’s exit, when the daycare director came over to Emmy and SNATCHED my daughter’s pacifier out of her mouth.
“You don’t need this!” The director said, in a semi-mocking but also semi-angry tone, “This is for BABIES! You’re too BIG for a pacifier!”
Then she dropped Em’s pacifier into Oren’s stroller.
Emmy was shocked. Her body curled into mine, and she buried her face in my shoulder. Her face was the SADDEST I had ever seen it. And after a few seconds of shock, Em started sobbing.
“Well, I guess I didn’t make any FRIENDS today,” said the director in a sarcastic tone. And then she walked away.
Now, in hindsight, I WISH TO THE HIGH HEAVENS I had spoken up, and blurted out my gut reaction, which was truly “WAIT!! WHAT THE F&^*??!!”
But I didn’t. Instead, I high-tailed it out of the building, and took my crying daughter to the car, where I hugged her real tight before buckling her in.
I was left to deal with her emotional mess, and I did it in the most straightforward and honest way I could.
“You know what, Emmy? That was NOT a nice thing for her to do. It is not nice to grab things from people, and she shouldn’t have taken your paci. She should have said she was sorry.”
Em looked at me through her teary eyes.
“Not nice,” she said.
Then I gave Em her pacifier back.
I mean, seriously?? Do I have to TELL the daycare director that it is NOT appropriate to grab things from other children, especially OUT OF THEIR MOUTHS (unless they are CHOKING or chewing on SCISSORS)? Do I have to tell the daycare director that if she makes a child cry for doing something hurtful, she needs to APOLOGIZE for her childish behavior?
If the director had a serious issue with Em’s use of her pacifier AFTER daycare hours, she should have done the appropriate thing and talked to ME about weaning the behavior. I THINK she may have meant it to come across as sort of funny, but it was definitely NOT FUNNY. I was floored by how inappropriate she was. Floored.
So here I am, two weeks away from taking my daughter out of daycare for good so that I can stay home with her and be responsible for her care. I don’t know if it is worth it at this point to tell the daycare director how out of place I think her behavior was, or if I should just get over it and let it go.

Have you had any similar experiences? Am I overreacting? How would you deal with this situation if you were me? Grateful, as always, for the feedback.

Dvora Koelling
Parenting with imagination. Or at least trying.

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