Rhia

I went through a breakup this week and it was tough. With MM's Daycare. I don't wish this on anyone because as a family we are traumatised. MM has been going to the same daycare since he was a tiny baby. He is now 3 years old. He knows that place inside and out and it has truly been like a second home. Until recently.

Around his birthday (in Feb) he was moved from the toddler room to the pre-school room. Around this time we started to get reports of undesirable behaviour from the daycare staff. We also got reports of undesirable behaviour from MM about the daycare staff. We thought that MM was telling us stories because he didn't like getting in trouble. We also thought that this explained why all of a sudden he didn't want to go any more and would start crying at 8am before we had even left the house.

As parents this concerned us - as did the reports of his behaviour and we took an active approach to working with the centre to provide continuity and consistency in the behaviour management strategies in order to help get MM back on track. One of the carers in his room was lovely and I could tell she genuinely cared for my son. The other one was vile and had a terrible attitude.

I would go in after work and the first carer would pull me aside and update me on MM's day- good, bad or otherwise we would discuss it in private. I would then go and collect MM from the room where carer #2 would stop reading the story to the group of children and loudly in front of children, parents and whoever else was there proceed to tell me that "MM Had a terrible day, didn't listen at all etc etc etc). On more than one occasion I shut this down with a "thanks- I have been updated" and a look- which should have spoke volumes. She never really seemed to get the hint though.

On Tuesday I wasn't feeling well. I left work early and went to pick him up from daycare. The kids from his room were all playing outside. Carer #1 was on holidays so a carer from the toddler room who used to be MM's carer before he was moved up was filling in. She pulled me aside to have a chat as she was concerned about a few things. Whilst she was filling me in on the days events I was watching MM play with the kids in his room. In the space of 10 minutes I heard the following:

"MM is naughty"
"MM is bad"
"You are a bad boy MM- we don't like bad boys"
"MM is a stupid head, MM is a Stupid Head"

The look on my son's face was heartbreaking. I have never seen him so upset. I alerted the carer I was talking to and she instantly went to take control of the situation because carer #2 was not doing anything!

As we both went over to sort it out one little girl came up to me and eagerly tried to inform me as to what was going on. "MM is bad" she told me, looking up as though I would be pleased with her for letting me know. I lost it. I told the little girl that in fact MM isn't bad- even if he doesn't always do what he is told and that actually it isn't nice to call someone bad. She looked at me in complete disbelief. As if this is the first time anyone had ever told her off for saying that. That look devastated me. I knew then that this had been going on all day -everyday. At the age of 3 my son has been labelled as "bad" and treated accordingly. These are only kids- they are getting it from somewhere and my guess is carer #2.

The carer and I took MM inside and had a talk about what had just happened. I told her what I suspected- and she said "I'd like to be able to deny it but from what I have seen this past 2 days it is true". She also verified MM's stories of being called a "crybaby" when upset (by the carer) etc.

I left the daycare and burst into tears. I called my husband crying so hard that I couldn't get the words out to actually tell him what has been going on.

I can't believe that I put my faith in them to look after my most precious being and they fucked it up. That poor kid. I also can't believe that I kept taking him there after he clearly didn't want to go anymore. I work full time- daycare is a necessity for us, but maybe I should have moved him when I knew he wasn't happy. I just honestly thought that a) they were looking after him and b) a change to a new daycare would be too traumatic.

We had yesterday at home together as I couldn't bear the thought of taking him back there. We interviewed at a new centre and he started there this morning. His first day at the new daycare was as hard as the first day EVER of daycare. Actually probably harder because on his first day ever he wasn't actually able to say "mummy please don't leave me here", I just imagined him saying it.

To be fair I should tell you that the owner of the daycare spent an awful lot of time on the phone to me yesterday telling me all of the ways it will change there. I just need to give them a month, 3 weeks - something and then if I don't see any change move. Unfortunately I know that it is futile. What I experienced Tuesday was a deal breaker. It is time to move on and start fresh.

My heart is hurting today but I am pleased to say I am staying strong. It is lunchtime and I have only called twice to check on him. So far he is being the brave little soldier I know he is.

Have you ever needed to breakup with a daycare?