We are going to be ok.
I just had to get that out there. Yes, getting booted from daycare was probably my lowest moment as a parent thus far. I cried a lot. I got pissed (meaning mad AND drunk....ok, so I had a little wine). I was sad. My husband (who I often call Pollyanna Sunshine) was instantly optimistic that this was a good thing and that there is nothing to be upset about. Typical. But that's not how I roll. I need to process. I need time...
I was most upset that this whole thing made me question my parenting abilities. (Have I already screwed him up so badly?) It also made me question, if only for a moment, who my son really is. Was he the "mean" child that our current daycare provider has labeled him? Can a not-yet 20 month old really BE mean intentionally? I have never seen it. But I questioned. For the first time ever I had to really take my mommy blinders off and try to see the whole picture clearly.
And what did I see? I see a normal, healthy and active toddler who is exploring and learning and growing. There is nothing mean about him. I am here to tell you that I know my son better than anyone in the world and he is AMAZING. He is an incredible little person and I will not let anyone make me question that ever again. That is my solemn vow.
I really appreciate all of your comments. I read every word and took them all to heart. You, my dear readers, are wise. And I thank you for your kindness.
Here is the story behind the story: Our daycare provider is 77 years old. Yes, I said 77 years old. She has been doing daycare for over 50 years. She does this with the help of her husband who is a retired phy ed teacher. Together they watch about 6 kids in their home that is just 4 blocks from ours. They are friends from church.
Now, before you go thinking we are crazy for even sending him to a 77 year old, let me fill you in on a few things. She is a young 77 year old. She seemingly has more energy than I do and appears to be much younger than she actually is. They live a VERY healthy lifestyle. She makes home cooked meals from scratch with low fat and salt for the kids every single day. She keeps her house impeccably clean (which is important to us). And the kids seem to love Joanie and Uncle (as they call them).
But things aren't always as they seem. I realized very early on that this was not a situation in which we were going to get much communication and feedback on, well, anything. We rarely knew much about what he did in his day. Did he poop? I don't know. Did he nap well? I don't know. Because she would never communicate anything to us. We would ask, "How was his day?" and she would always say, "Good. Real good." We would then have to ask more probing questions and would sometimes get little tidbits. It's not that she was trying to be secretive or that she didn't want us to know, my sense is that she thought we should just trust her and leave it at that. We got the feeling that the kids and families that she selects to be in her care are NOT Type A personalities. She wants the "easy" kids that will just play on their own all day long with no structure and be happy about it. She wants the parents that don't ask any questions. We strike out on both counts.
In her defense: they took very good care of Miles and he loves it there. His little friends are precious to him and he says their names all the time. "Ella bub-bye?" he will ask in the evenings after we are home. It's really cute. The kids are well cared for. They are read to, they sing songs, they play outside. But the flip side is that they are also very hands-off. The fact that Miles might need to be redirected once in a while or might need to be disciplined or might just want to be held and snuggle (which he often does) was way too much for them to handle. Ok. Whatever. I can see now that it is very much time for us to move on. And it's way past time for her to retire.
Here's the good news: With the help of some local classifieds and the help of my awesome friends we have some good leads. We are actually really excited about the possibility of getting Miles into a more structured setting and into a place where they let kids be kids!
The moment I knew we were going to be ok happened yesterday afternoon. I was talking to a nice daycare provider (who we are going to interview this week) and she was gushing about how much she loves little boys and "how naughty they can be". Music to my ears. We will be fine. Just fine.