Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A walking wound

The woman who ran Sebastian's first daycare pinched my daughter’s cheek Halloween night.  We were out trick-or-treating with a group of kids and parents and I was up by Sebastian so I didn’t see her do it, but Chris did.  And I'm fairly certain she wasn't looking at the parents of the child she was touching because if she was she probably would have gone to the other side of the street before we crossed paths. At least I hope she would give us that courtesy.
But that's not something she was known for.  At least not with our family.
She let us go with zero warning because of 'behavior problems.'
It was a jolt.  I was newly pregnant and couldn't understand what was going on.
She had a small, in-home daycare with very little monitoring.  If she wanted to keep the TV on all day, she could and did.  If she wanted to watch her soap operas with the kids around, she could and did. If she wanted to secretly put a ton of cereal in your son’s bottle without asking, even though EVERY PARENTING BOOK AND WEBSITE WILL TELL YOU THAT IS A BAD THING, she could and did.  And if she wanted to do a half-assed job of wiping your son’s bottom so that every day he came home unclean and with a rash that I would subsequently clear up every night, just to see a resurgence of it the following afternoon, she could and did, repeatedly.   
And I know that people are wondering why we stayed so long.  And I can tell you. I didn't trust my instincts.  I thought that I was doing something wrong. I had this vibe from the woman, like she thought I was an idiot and I believed her.  She thought me bringing in breastmilk was odd.  She thought me making baby food was odd.  She thought me not letting her give my infant orange juice was odd.  She thought me not wanting her to give my 8 MONTH OLD VIENNA SAUSAGES WAS ODD.
And I was insecure.  And non-confrontational.  And thought the transition to a new place would be more traumatic than keeping him at a place that he knew, flaws and all.
But then our hand was forced.  We were shocked and didn't understand. She told us on a Saturday that we had two weeks.  I let myself calm down somewhat, then decided that just a short, three minute phone call was not enough because she hadn’t given me a good enough explanation.
I'd been making Chris drop Sebastian off because I didn’t trust myself not to break down in front of her.  I’d been crying a lot because the situation was so upsetting and plus I was three months pregnant.   So on the following Wednesday I decided that I had to go in.  I'd rehearsed scenarios in my head, and had repeated over and over what would say to her so many times that I still remember it, more than a year and a half later.
'At some point we are going to have to discuss this because we haven't seen the type of behavior that would warrant this type of action.'
Apparently the woman doesn't like people questioning her.  The only way I can describe what happened next, as ridiculous as it sounds, is to say she went Jerry Springer.  She told me I was accusing her of lying, that I should just ask all the other parents.  I told her that I didn't need to talk to them, I needed to hear this stuff from her.  Plus, if she had a problem she should be talking to me, not talking about me and my child to other parents. 
I told her again that we hadn’t seen behavior like she was describing.  She said 'well, why is it happening here?'  I said that was a good question.  She proceeded to mock my son, yell at me, tell me I had ruined her day (HER DAY!), and wouldn't stop arguing with me even though I told her I didn’t want to do this with children present.  Oh, did I fail to mention that all this was happening in front of four other children younger than 3?
I remained as calm as I could, trying and failing to keep her calm.  She told me that since I had ruined her day that I just needed to take my child and go.  After debating that with her (because I am an idiot, apparently) I took him and left, but not before finally losing my temper a bit to tell her that I thought it was suspect that she already had someone lined up to take Sebastian's place.  
And that's where I think the truth lies.  She wanted a kid in who would take the daily three hour naps like all the other kids.  She wanted a kid who was content to watch TV all day and sit in one little area of a small basement without going stir crazy.  And she wanted another mother in who thought the same way she did about child rearing and who wouldn’t question her ways.
This woman lives close to us, and sometimes I'll see her walking kids by my house, which bothers me to no end because I will do everything I can to avoid her house.
I sat up late writing this the night it happened because I couldn’t sleep.  That woman still affects me and I hate that this situation still causes me to lose sleep.  I hate that I still hate this woman with such a passion that my whole body tenses up.
As I told a friend if mine, as parents we are walking wounds.  We are all just so vulnerable, and if someone hurts your kid or says something hateful about them, it doesn’t ever heal.
I almost wish I had seen her touch Adele because then I could have said what I've wanted to for a long time: get the fuck away from my child you psycho bitch.

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