Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Heart of the Matter

About a month and a half ago, I went to pick the girls up at the sitter's.  As I always do, I asked our babysitter how the girls' day was.  She just rolled her eyes.  When Jaden walked up to me, I could tell she was in trouble.  Now, we had never had a problem with Jaden at daycare up until that point.  She always does what she is told and is very polite.  Our sitter has told us on many occasions that she wished more of the kids would act like Jaden.  I knew that if Jaden was in trouble, something pretty out of the ordinary happened.  When I asked, the babysitter told me (in a louder-than-needed voice) that Jaden is a liar.  Jaden is bad.  Jaden gets no go-home candy.  Jaden is a LIAR.  The babysitter was so over-the-top.  I felt bad for Jaden and felt angry that this woman was yelling such negative things about my child.  It seemed as though she was intentionally trying to hurt her feelings again.  At this point, I still didn't know what happened because each time I asked, she just said Jaden lied.  Then she told Jaden to go show me what she did.  Jaden timidly led me into the playroom.  I didn't see anything out of the ordinary.  Honestly, the room was cleaned and kids were playing.  Then a kid pointed to a chair.  I assumed that Jaden was told to sit on the chair at some point during the day??  Then I saw it.  A tiny heart.  On that miniature folding chair was a perfectly drawn heart.  But what does this have to do with Jaden?  I just looked at the babysitter questioningly.  She (with a raised voice) told me that Jaden drew that heart on the chair and LIED to her, telling her that she didn't.  I asked if she saw Jaden draw the heart.  She replied that no, she did not see her but she knows it was Jaden because Jaden is the only one that can draw a perfect heart.  Surprised, I told the babysitter that I had never seen Jaden draw a heart.  I can tell you, as Jaden's mom, that she did not do it.  I know in my heart that it was another child.  At home, Jaden draws all the time.  A day doesn't pass that she doesn't draw, whether it be with crayons, colored pencils, or on her Magna Doodle.  I would have seen her draw a heart.  Our babysitter stood there accused J of something that she had no proof of; something that Jaden was probably innocent of.  When we got to the car, I explained to Jaden that because she got in trouble at daycare, she wasn't necessarily in trouble at home.  I told her how important it was to tell me what really happened.  I kept reinforcing to her that I was not mad at her and she is not a bad girl.  She looked me square in the eyes and said, "I didn't do it, Mom."  That was the truth.  She was being honest with me.  I asked her if she knew who did it.  "It was Alyssa." 

When we got home, Jaden and I were in her room playing.  She had her Magna Doodle out.  I asked her if she wanted to play a game.  I told her that I would draw a circle and she could draw a triangle.  We did.  Next, I told her that I would draw an oval and she could draw a square.  We did.  I'll draw a house and you draw a face.  Done.  I'll draw a star and you draw a heart.... I drew my star and waited.  Jaden tried to draw a heart.  She messed up and started over.  She messed up again and started over.  She couldn't do it.  She was getting frustrated because she couldn't get the heart right.  She asked me if I would show her how.  I drew a heart and had her copy it.  As proud of her as I was, her hear was far from perfect.  Jaden's heart didn't have a point at the bottom and looked more like a circle than an actual heart.  That was proof enough for me.

I know Jaden is not perfect.  I know that she can tell a tall tale... we are working very hard on that.  I am totally for putting her in time-out when she does something wrong.  But, I also know when she is being truthful.  I also know when not to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

I never brought this issue up to the babysitter again.  In fact, now that it is almost two months later, I still hold a tiny grudge.  You would think that being a daycare provider for over 30 years would teach her a few things.  For starters, don't let the kids play with markers unsupervised.  Second, if somebody does draw on something that they are not supposed to, and nobody will confess, take the markers away.  Explain to the kids that if they don't tell her what happened, than everyone will be punished and nobody will get to draw.  Third, practice what you preach.  Don't tattle. Don't finger-point.  Don't call names.  Be kind.  These are some of the many things that she instills in these kids.  Lead by example!  I understand that being around kids all day long may take it's toll on a person.  Fine.  Have a glass of wine at 6:00 when they are all gone.  Do not EVER put your finger in my child's face and call her a liar again.  Do not EVER put her down and make her feel ashamed again.  Do not EVER embarrass her in front of her friends again.  Love her and care for her.  Be there for her when I can't.


Kelly said...

oh Shan... I'm so sorry this happened. Jaden is SO sweet!

Autumn said...

Awww. I know we don't "know" eachother, but I follow your blog and this story breaks my heart! Sometimes grown-ups need to put themselves back into a child's position. All too often I think we are overcome with the chores of our daily lives, routines, etc. but that is NO excuse for humiliation.

amanda said...

wow - you handled this so much better than i think i would have. you are an amazing mommy! jaden is such a sweet little lady - i'm so sorry this happened :-(

Lala said...

I'm sorry Jaden had to hear those words said about her. I'm also sorry you never said your piece to the babysitter. I would talk to her. It's hard to argue a situation you weren't there for, so I wouldn't necessarily advise doing that. However, you should definitely let her know that you condone time outs if she feels it's merited (even though you know this time it wasn't), but that you don't feel comfortable with J hearing herself labeled as "a liar" or "bad". While you can't tell her how to manage her client's kids just as she can't tell you how to parent, you can rightfully tell her what your preferences are when it comes to her disciplining your child.

I would hope that such a message might make her think about the damage words can do. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how many years a person works with people--they don't always make the best choices. In the case of working with kids, your mistakes or poor judgment can have lasting effects. (Hello stressful career choice!)

Cecilia said...

poor jaden!
But I am sure that also these things can help her growing up stronger if you stand by her side! :)

Kristen said...

so sorry Shannon! I'm glad that Logan is out of daycare now, and Riley has never been... I dread the day that he has to go!

Pam said...

I have to comment on this blog. I heard about it but couldn’t believe you would say such negative things until I read it. I too am a mom and have had two children go through this daycare. Some of my kids fondest memories revolve around the things at Annies, including the over-the-top holiday parties, the everyday fun, crafts, putting on plays on the back deck, Scottie’s famous grilled cheese sandwiches, go- home-candy and on and on. She instilled manners like saying “please” and “thank you” and values like picking up one toy before getting out another and telling the truth if you broke something. The environment is clean and beautiful and decorated in primitives which, yes, often involve antiques and what you call “dim lights”. Frankly, I think you should be praising God that you found a daycare that is Christ-centered and that Annie provides nice things like those elastic bracelets that all the kids loved. Maybe your constant nasty jabs are a symptom of the jealousy you feel having someone else spending so much time with your children. The only way to have total control over your children and their environment is to stay at home with them. Short of that Annie's is one of the most wonderful daycares available and lastly, no one is paying "big bucks" for daycare there. She could charge double and probably should.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to say I think it is in complete poor taste on your part that you talk bad about your sitter and say such aweful things in such a public way. I don't know you and I know I have not met your provider and I do not know all the details. I just stumbled across your blog and have to comment.

I have had an in home daycare for many years. I do not think you have any idea of how hard it is to do what a daycare provider does. Unfortunately, taking care of the kids is the easy part and dealing with the parents and trying to keep all of them happy is what is the real challenge. To me, it sounds like you are not giving this "Annie" the respect she truly deserves. I read in one of your posts that she has been doing daycare for more than 3o years. Isn't that longer than you've been around? And again, to publicy attack her and her business on your blog? You've used her name and posted pictures of her too. Did she give you permission to do that? If any of my daycare parents did that to me that would just rip my heart out! I do not know what I would do. Nomatter what the circumstances are. The hurt I would feel inside would be just unbearable. If she has been open and successfully running a business for over 30 years, she must be doing something right!
I think I read a quote you posted about not judging other people because you have no idea what trials they may be going through...something along those lines. Do you really mean those words or do they just look good on your blog?

I have to say, it is completely okay for you to disagree with the way your daycare provider does things. You are completely within your rights as a parent to make requests and suggestions of how you would like things to be. But, at the end of the day...it is not your daycare. That woman is completely within her rights to run her daycare the way that works best for her and the other children. If you don't like that, then you are completely within your rights to take your children somewhere else. But to attack a woman, to post pictures of her, and to use her name over and over? Really, I think that is hateful. You showed absolutely no discretion at all. What gives you the right to take away over 30 years of hard work from this woman just because you and her disagree on how she should run HER daycare?

I am sorry if I am offending you, but I just find your words so hurtful. I just keep thinking if it was me, what would I do and how would I feel?

I know for a fact if I was her, I would have asked you to take your kids somewhere else if I caught wind of any of your postings or your comments. No amount of money in the world is worth having someone mistreat you or disrespect your value.


Shannon said...

I do not discredit our former provider in any way. She did a wonderful job with our girls and we were thankful to have her and her husband in our lives. I wasn't giving nasty jabs toward her; only giving J's "side of the story." We've recently left because of other issues, but have no hard feelings toward her. She's a good person and I've told her how grateful we are for her. Thank you for your comments.