Praying for Ansley

Friday, September 12, 2008

What a difference a week makes...

Well, Tuesday everything was fine. How quickly things change. Wednesday, I got a call from daycare about 4:00 p.m. Maia had pushed another kid in her class, and when the teacher told her no, she bit the teacher. Rather than a time-out in the room, they sent her to the office to take her time out. Then she returned to class. When I got there, not too long after this (maybe 10 minutes after she was back in her classroom) I walked in to her swatting at her teacher a little for something or other. I walked across the classroom watching her every move and by the time she saw me, giving her a stern glare, she bowed her head in shame and for what I had just witnessed, I spoke to her, told her not to hit her teachers and made her sit in a time out. Her teacher told me she had already done a timeout, but that was for the other incident and since when is the limit one time out anyway if she is still acting out?

So, I'll forwarn you all. I'm mad. This will get detailed and frankly, I won't be overly nice. The above was the tame version of what I'm about to tell you. And I'll say upfront that Matthew went to this same daycare for 10 years. It was awesome. I loved it. It suited him well. As I have quickly learned, each child is different and responds differently to the same situation. There, there is the only nice thing I have to say about this day care anymore. 10 years good. 3 months, crapola.

So, this daycare is very against anything negative. Meaning, of course, they can't spank a child, (wouldn't want them to!!) and are very positive in their approach to discipline. Their idea of discipline is when a child 'chooses' to shove a child, they say, "Maia, no thank you." No reference to what they are saying no too, and it is said in the same tone as "Would you like some candy?" would be said. This is the extent. So, although since she has been there since the end of June they had said "Maia, no thank you" for various things... this was the first time (Wednesday) she was sent to the office and got a Beahvior Note. Remember this. Day 1 - Wednesday this week. The note said, "Maia chose to push a child and when the teacher said, "Maia, no thank you", Maia chose to bite her teachers arm. So, we invited her to come take a break in the office." What the @)*(&@(*#&%. You INVITED her to come take a BREAK in the office. I'm sorry, I'm 39 years old, can you speak to me like an adult and tell me she was sent to the office for a timeout?? Invited to take a break... please. Side note - what toddler would ENJOY a field trip to the office - to them, that's a field trip!! To this daycare, it is 'punishment'. (Which I MIGHT understand if they are 4 or 5... Maia is still ONE, mind you.)

Call it mother's intuition... I knew right then. We were in trouble.

Thursday, about 4:00 p.m.... I get yet another call/voice mail at work (my new job of 3 months, remember??) "Maia has chosen to shove a few of her friends today." (I witnessed this a couple of times when I picked her up, she is 22 pounds, in the 2% of her age... so the smallest in the class, and her 'pushing' might move their shoulders two inches from the starting point. I am not advocating violence, but a one year old pushing someones shoulder for 2 inches is not violence. She was "invited to take another break" in the office. When I called back after receiving this voice mail, I was told that after they had spoken to the Owner of the School (the same one that was their when Matthew started there at age two!!) it had been decided that "I was going to be invited to contact a Behaviour Coach". What????? She is ONE (ok, almost two) and this is the second SHOVE. WHAT????????? When I got to the school and asked about the coach, she told me it was free (good thing!!) and that they would help set up a plan for me to follow at home so that she could get better. I looked at her, getting a little pissy at this point, if the truth be told and I said, "I have to be honest here... I don't have these problems at home. Is this coach going to talk to you all too about what further steps could be taken HERE as a little extra boost to the No thank you routine?" She said that the coach would coincide the plan set up for home with school... Somehow, I doubt a coach they are employing is going to do things my way, rather than their way, which, have you noticed, isn't working??

Before I made it to the center on Thursday, after Wednesday and the voice mail about the Behaviour Coach on Thursday.... I KNEW where this was going - and I stopped at a different center on my way there. I LOVED IT and although the money is materially more - I was highly considering this option - but they didn't have room until she turns two - 30 days from then. I thought about this option all night, and just really tried to determine if the additional cost was a possibility. It is, but not an easy one!! It won't come easy....

This morning, I was sure I wanted to move her. If I could get two weeks from now, I would give two weeks notice, get my deposit back and make it through the next 30 days at this daycare center with no toddler abilities at all. (It worked for Matthew because he was the easiest kid I've ever met!! Say no once, done deal.)

Maia was in an orphanage, where it was survival of the fittest for 16 months, until she was 18 months old. Maia has a stubborn streak. Maia wants what she wants, and is used to pulling it out of the other kids hands around her to get it. If they take it from her, she is accustomed to taking it back. That's the way the orphanage was. The workers there couldn't and didn't mettle in every 'fight' the kids had. 16 months, this is what she knows. Maia has been in this center for 3 months, this particular class room for a grand total of 9 days. Maia doesn't have kids her age at home to share with - it's all hers. Matthew doesn't want her toys. (However she does want some of Matthew's.... his computer, his cell phone, etc...) Her interaction with other kids occurs at daycare. I've had to discipline Maia in ways I never had to with Matthew. Sometimes it takes more than I think it will to get her to feel 'remorse' for her actions. She's used to putting up a wall with her feelings, no one came to her aid before in the orphanage - so her emotions are harder to break than kids who have been in a loving, happy home for the same 18 months.

So, Behaviour Coach. Day 2. Yesterday.

Today, 3:50... do you see a pattern?? I get a call from daycare. My boss is with me at the time so I don't get it. I can hear about her pushing incident in a minute. SO, I call them back and "After speaking with the owner, we'd like to INVITE YOU to a Parent University class that the owner is holding on Wednesday night from 7-9 p.m. to go over behaviour techniques you can try with your children". (Side note - for the 11 years we have now been affiliated with this center (Matthew stopped going a year ago) these Parent University classes are marketed for parents at their wits end with unruly kids at home. How to help. Ideas on potty training. (I went to this ONE for Matthew years ago - it was a JOKE and their techniques would NEVER have worked for Matthew. Mind you when I potty trainned Matthew my way, he had NO ACCIDENTS. EVER. NOT ONE. and I was a working parent then too so it's not like I was home with him all day and sat him there for 8 hours or something to be able to say this. My way for Matthew, no accidents.) Anyway, I never went to any other classes because Matthew beat to his own drummer too, and was EASY. So, my thoughts on having to attend this (AND TALK TO A BEHAVIOUR COACH) is starting to really tick me off!! SHE'S FINE AT HOME PEOPLE. Do you think perhaps some kids need to know a little more who is in authority, to be give a stern look and a solid NO and perhaps even holding her hand if she is going to 'swat' or 'shove' someone, and look her in the eye to say no. That's not mean, that's not spanking, that's not yelling, that's authority and discipline. "Maia, no thank you." PUH-LEEZE.

Ok, so after being offended and wanting laugh that I am the one they are trying to change her (what have I done wrong?? She is 'acting up' in your class with your teachers - not with me. She knows better with me!! Anyway, so I'm already getting mad, and she adds on the phone this afternoon, "And also, if there is ANY more aggressive behaviours, Maia will be DISINVITED TO ATTEND the school for 30 days." She'll be suspended for 30 days, no notice. That day, that's it. So, I asked, "what behaviours?" Shoving, pushing, biting... OK, let me get this straight. To date, she has bitten ONCE. ONCE. and on the SECOND time, at age 1, she will be suspended. I understand this for older children, MAYBE, even then I would give more chances and stricter immediate consequences to the child. This would only hurt the parents. I'm a single mother of two. Next offense could happen in an hour, or 3 weeks from now - and with no notice she'll be gone. Ridiculous. She isn't violent. A teacher in the class told me yesterday (day 2) that they ALL push each other - and for some reason - she's the one getting in 'trouble'. Yes, a teacher told me this. Could I say something and get her in trouble for telling me that. Probably. Do I want her to stay at this center? LORD NO. I just want to make it though 30 days. At the end of today's 4 pm call, I asked how she was being today. They came back on and said "SHe's had a WONDERFUL day." Great.

On the way home, I stop on the school I visited yesterday and signed up. I pleaded to try to be admitted early if possible - no such luck, but Oct. 13 it is! Now, how many days can I get out of the old center before she 'sneezes' and is out on her butt??

I get to the old center at 6:10. Guess where Maia is - two hours after my phone call. Sitting up front at the office. That's it. She's been disinvited to attend the center. Can you speak like grown ups to grown ups please? Ok, you've suspended her for 30 days, I am giving my two week notice. (They aren't sure yet if I'll get my deposit back.... they've never seen the OTHER side of me, I'd better get EVERY PENNY. I'm stupid enough to pay more to get it back to make a point than to let them keep it.)

So, Tuesday. ALL IS GOOD. Friday, she's been disinvited to attend the center. (What a crock!! I don't even want her there now because I truly can not hear them talk without being disgusted or wanting to burst out laughing. Disinvited to attend.... UGH!!!)
I now have 30 days, 4 full weeks of no day care coverage to fill - beginning Monday. No real ideas yet. A day or two, yeah. 4 weeks - wow. that'll be different. Any volunteers?? :)

The new school is well aware of what I'm dealing with. They've already said, first of all, she's one/two. Second of all, she is still non-verbal and this often seen in kids who are still non-verbal. I asked very pointedly today if they've dealt with shoving and pushing, and maybe even biting and they said yes. No one has ever been kicked out, and if it ever came to that, it would be after MONTHS of trying different things (for different kids) etc.

I thanked her profusely for saying that no one had ever been KICKED OUT rather than saying that no one had never been disinvited to attend the school... and am POSITIVE they have the knowledge and skills needed to see that different children are different, there is no 100% formula for all kids, and certainly not one that doesn't show your authority over them, no matter how nice you try to be. I'm all for being nice and trying things the calm cool and collected way, I'm not in to violence, but I also am not in to kids walking over me or being disrespectful. But if they don't respond to NO,or redirection, or books on the subject, or timeouts, or spanking if necessary, THEN MAYBE you'd have no choice but to suspend them. (LIke I'm going to find day care for 30 days and then bring her back?? PLEASE!) The new school already has books on hitting and biting, etc. and one thing they do if it's a problem is SPEAK about the specific offense, and read the book, and lend them to parents to do at home too. This is one example. The old school. "Maia, no thank you." Yeah, that works really well - HA! In my family we use no thank you to say we don't care for any more carrots. Or as an answer to the question, "Do you want to play a game"? Answer: "No, thank you." If Maia hit her brother - She would start with a definite NO and then have to hug and kiss him if she repeated it would be a definite time out with many references to what she did wrong and stern looks.

Anyway - you all get it. I'm sure of it. I'm not asking them to spank her. I'm not asking them to SCREAM at her. I'm asking for common sense in dealing with a toddler (in this case from a different background, but I don't think this has much at all to do with this!!) and I'm asking for more than her SECOND BITE or third shove/offense to not result in a suspension. Yeah, she'll learn a LOT from that at this age. Brilliant philosophy.


Sandi said...

Oh my goodness, that daycare sounds like they truly do not understand how to work with children that are not PERFECT. I'm sorry you are having to deal with this, and 30 days YIKES, I hope you can find a solution, if I lived closer I would offer my help. Hang in there, sounds like she will soon be in the best of hands.


Jennifer M said...

Oh my. Wow! You are going through a lot right now. Wow. (Sorry, I'm sounding like a parrot.)

I'm glad you found a new daycare that apparently knows how to help teach kids!

I don't blame you in the least for pulling Maia. I just don't dig all that happy, sappy, redirection stuff. I mean of course I believe in redirection, but I also believe in correction. And often correction comes with some sort of explanation and discipline.

I hope you're able to find some temporary care for her. Oh, this must be so difficult for you!