I’ve had many sweet people ask me how our new daycare center is going. And without a moment of hesitation I can answer: good. It’s going really, really well. The night and day difference in Lucan’s demeanor and personality is astounding. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still my precious little toddler terrorist, but some of the sad things we had seen going on have diminished. He no longer cries every morning at drop-off. Lucan would stand at the door and wrap his arms around my legs and beg me not to go. This was most every day. He no longer says “Miss X screamin” or “Miss X is mean.”
We don’t get reports every day stating how naughty Lucan was or how he didn’t listen. At the end of our time at our old daycare, there was a chart on the wall with a daily goal for each child and Lucan’s goal was to “be nice.” If a child was good in the morning, they would get a morning sticker and if they were good in the afternoon, they would get an afternoon sticker. Lucan rarely had any stickers. I’ve had 5 or 6 daycare teachers come up to me and make a point to tell me how sweet Lucan is, how he helps pick-up and how nice of a boy he is. I’ve wanted to have a notarized note sent to my old daycare provider showing not everyone hates my child.
We used to drive by the turn-off to go to Miss X’s house and Lucan would cry out in distress saying “don’t wanna go to Miss X’s. No Miss X.” He would do this on weekends and on evenings.
We’ve been off and on potty training for six+ months now. I’m fairly certain that Lucan would have been potty trained at Christmas if we hadn’t had such an unfortunate time at daycare. I had pretty firmly decided that we were not going to buy pull-ups. One day I went to pick him up and Lucan was in a pull-up. From that day on, Lucan wanted pull-ups and was entirely unconcerned if he had an accident in one. We regressed because he would refuse to go to the bathroom anymore – anywhere. Miss X had been setting a timer and every time the timer went off, Lucan had to try the bathroom. Then he started getting really upset by all timers and would start crying anytime one went off. But a couple of weeks ago, Lu’s new daycare teacher said she thought that he was ready to wear underwear. So we really worked on it over the weekend and sent him on Monday in underwear. No accidents. He’s slowly learning to be able to tell when he has to use the bathroom and we do a lot of reminding that it’s time to try. We still put him in a diaper or a pull-up for naps and at bedtime, but he’s potty trained for the most part. We have an occasional opps, but potty training has gone really well.
My parents and in-laws observed how terrified Lucan was of being scolded. Of how he would run and try to hide from you if he thought he did something wrong. Slowly, Lucan is becoming less fearful and trusting of adults again. So when he does something naughty instead of crumbling, he stares me down and does it again (such a toddler). I attended a Cat in the Hat birthday party at daycare and witnessed Lucan and several other children run up to an older daycare worker and give her a big hug. Just because she’s a sweet lady who loves kids.
The thing about a bad daycare situation is that even though your child might not directly tell you something is wrong, there are a multitude of other things he is telling you. In the way he acts around you, how he acts at daycare and their body language around the provider. But most of all, if you spend quiet time with your little one, you start noticing fear in their eyes. Because many times if they are acting out it’s their way of asking for help out of a bad situation. I’m sorry to say, but we let it go on too long out of our own prideful ways. Since Lucan has been born, we have bopped around at several daycare providers and we didn’t want to talk about switching again. Because of our own pride, we left Lucan in a harmful situation and I blame myself. It would be easy to place all of the blame on our old daycare provider, but that wouldn’t be fair. I think it’s quite possible she’s a little bit post-partum depressed and is overwhelmed by all of the kiddos and being stuck inside all winter. But I don’t think she handled things the right way and I’m not sure that doing daycare is the right thing for her.
So the long and the short of it, if you ask me how our new daycare is going, I will tell you without missing a beat, putting Lucan in a daycare center is the best thing we’ve done for him. You were right all along Erika. I don’t know why I ever doubted you :)