I Went To Court, And I Actually Learned Something
The Boy Child started attending a new daycare last week.
To give you a little bit of perspective, he had been going to his previous daycare since he was less than a year old (he started a few months after my ex left), and he is now almost 5. To him, that daycare was a big part of his life. The teachers were his “other mothers,” and his classmates were his “other siblings.” His nap cot was his 2nd bed, and the facility was his second home. He has eaten there, slept there, played there, learned there, and thrived there for as long as he can remember, and he loved it.
But when everything went down with the states child care funding crisis that threatened my childcare subsidy, and some changes were made at the center with staffing, we needed to find a new place. And I’m not going to lie, it made me really sad, because I’ve trusted that place with raising both my daughter and my son. They have been there for them when I couldn’t be, and until recently, they’ve done a great job.
So looking for a new center, it was hard! It felt like jumping into the dating world the day after the love of your life breaks up with you. It didn’t matter what any of the other places had to offer, none of them were the one we loved; the place we were comfortable with.
But there wasn’t much I could do about that, and with my subsidy threatened and a huge staff turnover at the facility, it was time to get moving. I kid you not, I called every damn daycare within a 30 minute radius of my house. I did tour after tour, visiting some places more than once (often with friends), and when the directors would ask me if I had any questions, you had better believe that I had no less than 30. Because this is my child we are talking about here, and if he is going to be “raised” by someone else during the day, then I want to make sure that he is being raised in a place that supports the way I’d like to see him raised.
As I looked around, I can honestly say that I wasn’t very impressed with a lot of places. They seemed to lack in some major category every single time; safety, education, etc. Getting discouraged, I moved to the last two places on my list, which were unfortunately both out of my price range. Taking a risk that maybe I could work something out, I visited the first place, and I was blown away. While the director walked around the center showing me the gymnasium, computer area, and tornado shelter, I felt peace.
The Boy Child, he is active. And I don’t say that in a wishy-washy sense, I literally mean that every single muscle fiber in that kid’s ENTIRE being, is moving at all times. While The Girl Child is studious, artsy, well mannered, and intellectual, The Boy Child is all about jumping, running, swinging, yelling, stomping, breaking, and dirt. The kid loves dirt. And it’s something that has often created a problem for him in his previous center. He was always the most rambunctious of the bunch, and it has hindered his learning.
While I stood there listening to the director, she kept saying things that caught my attention, such as “we start the day with recess. We feel that the kids just need to get some energy out before they sit down. Then we do group time and learning centers. We have standing table over there (points to a high top table) for the little legs that wiggle, so they can stand instead of sit while they do their work. We feel that at this age, sometimes they do better when they don’t feel like they have to sit still. For nap time, if they can’t sleep, they can play quietly on their cots. We do recess right after nap, and then after another hour and a half of learning, we have recess again. The kids just learn so much better when they are able to get their energy out.”
And my heart felt peace.
I spoke to the director about my financial situation, and our family situation, and I was blown away with the rate that she offered me, which was less than what I was paying at our previous center.
I left feeling like my search was over, that this was the place for him. But I still did have one last place on my list, and the appointment was already set up, so I decided to check it out anyway. I drove straight there and when I walked through the door, my eyeballs fell out and rolled across the floor.
This place was what I might imagine Harvard is like, only 15 years younger. I was greeted by a giant atrium, and… silence. It was so quiet in there. The director walked me around and showed me the art studio where some kids were doing pottery, the organic kitchen where everything is made organic and fresh; including vegetable from the garden that the kids grow in the summer. The 3 year old class was working silently on their subtraction, and the 4 year old classroom was just getting back from a field trip to Target where they were learning how bar codes work. The kindergarten class was doing yoga (I’m not even making this up), and the staff was busy shoving toys (all wooden of course) into something called an Ozonator, which is clearly a giant machine that disinfects using the power of Oxygen. The daily program even included engineering and Spanish.
My kid needs to go here, because clearly this is the place where geniuses are created.
Except that I’m poor, and when she handed me the tuition sheet that says the center costs $2400 a month (!!!!) I died.
Then she told me that they had scholarships available, and I was resurrected.
I set up a trial day, and dropped The Boy Child off a few days later.
When I picked him up later that day, he was in tears. He had hated every single minute of the 2 hour nap time, silent work time, and completely non-existent recess. He was so full of energy that he had worked himself into such anxiety that he absolutely melted down when he got into the car.
She stared to cry.