A question of devotion

Shit man, this kid-raising gig is just one question after another. Because I have now vocally entered the realm as a mom blogger (pardon me whilst I give a 1000 watt smile and tend to my baking muffins), you'll be forced to endure more and more of this stuff as time progresses.

As you know, I am one of those cruel mothers that institutionalises my child by putting her into daycare all day, 5 days a week. The poor kid must suffer through endless cuddles from her adoring caregivers, many hours a week spent painting and gluing, and trips to the seafront, parks, and the daycare's very own playground. Things really were much better for her when she spent all day, 7 days a week with me - desperately vying for my attention whilst Mummy topped up her martini, took slow drags from endless cigarettes, and watched Bold and the Beautiful.

Anyway, as children in the care of Evil Daycare are wont to do, P has come down with a few illnesses since joining a few months ago. I'm inclined to think it has been increased succeptibility due to lack of breastfeeding (ok, ok, I'll let it go now, sorry), but kids are just going to pick these things up occasionally. However, dear Evil Daycare, please do not ring me at work each and every time P is not her shining star of a self. The girl cannot be on every hour of every day. She is going to have days when she doesn't want to flash you a grin for just looking at her. She can't always be just so damn charming that kids cry when she leaves, which, I might add, happened a couple of weeks ago. For reals.

I have had some time off sick lately myself, despite having been breastfed for 14 months (SORRY, ok, I'm really done now), so I need to actually get work done when I'm, you know, at work. After having off Thursday due to a random 24 hour retching disease which saw me vomit for the first time in years, I was back to work Friday like a happy little clam who wanted to get shit accomplished. My mobile rang its standard 24 CTU ringtone, which is never good because no one but P's daycare phone me on it during the day.

I was told that P was hovering between being well and likely unwell. She did not have a fever, nor had she thrown up or expelled any odd liquids or foreign bodies. She was, in the words of one of her caregivers, "not herself". I paused, waiting for her to tell me why she had interrupted my work-induced mania, but no such statement was to be had. She suggested that P should be collected earlier than usual, despite not having anything other than this possible unwellness. I called The Dude so we could figure out if he could pick her up earlier, but neither of us could figure out if we were to rush to P's aid due to lack of cheeriness on her part.

I phoned daycare back to let them know that if one of us could swing it that we would pick her up a bit earlier, but that we weren't going to hastily drive/book taxis and get there in 5 minutes just because P was a bit quiet that day. Apparently the staff at P's daycare disagree with my parenting style, as I could hear them discussing my indifference in hushed toneswhile I was supposed to be on hold. The most I could make sense of was something along the lines of -

Mean Nursery Manager Lady: "She doesn't want to pick her up?"

"She has been told that P is NOT WELL, right?"

:::heavy, laboured sigh:::
"Ok. We'll keep her here then. NOT WELL."

So I'm a horrible mother. I have a lot of work to do and I don't want to pick up my daughter when she is simply "not well". I didn't appreciate being
metaliaed and judged for the decisions that I make. What is the point of me working full time if I have to rush to my child's aid every single time she is a bit under the weather? I'm a paranoid person with anxiety, if I thought something could possibly be wrong, I would be there quicker than you can have a panic attack. I don't know what jobs some other parents have which enable them to leave work at least once every week because their child is crying more than usual or is picking his or her nose four times a day instead of two, but I don't have that job.

I am curious to hear from others - how sensitive do you have to be? Would most parents drop everything at the slightest hint of an unwell child? For the record, The Dude picked P up two hours early and she was absolutely fine. Hmph.


Obligatory holiday card exchange reference: At last count there are 13 participants, well short of last year's 20. C'mon people, live a little.

If you are on the fence about participating, feel free to email me to ask who else has signed up. I'm more than happy to tell you. I assure you they are all people at least some of us know. You may not read them yourself, but I'm sure you know someone who does. If you don't want to use your real name, that's fine too. A couple of participants last year only provided their blog nicknames, and it all managed to go without a hitch. Also - UK people, what the fuck? There are two UK-based participants including myself so far, and we're both American. Stop drinking tea and watching EastEnders (or whatever it is you limeys do) and email me.

Because I'm not just a whore I'm a thieving whore, I'm taking
DD's handy little button and her idea about personal card exchange as well. What are you going to do about it DD - write a pithy little smart ass email to me? I can take it. Anyway, if you are keen on the card idea but don't want to send one to a group of people you may or may not know, why not send one to me? I'll do the same if you provide me with your address, just make sure you specify which card scheme you want - mass or me. No flat ass photo requests please, I'm ever so tired of them.


Suz said...

My nanny does the same thing, knocking on my door to tell me that one twin or another is "off." I think she thinks that I'm a horrible mother for not calling the doctor each and every time, but seriously, they're not going to want to talk about an "off" child either.

Work is for work.

May said...

I loved this. You wrote it so very well.

I've had to go pick up D from her daycare because she had a runny nose. Never mind that her daycare takes kids with runny noses every day-- her caregiver (who I do like and trust very much, despite this memorable incident) was leaving for vacation the next day and didn't want to take a chance on getting sick herself.

Sigh. You just can't win. I'm glad you sound like a strong enough person to not let it get to you too much.

DD said...

You haven't even emailed me yet to let me know if you'll participate, you evil, breastfeeding, flat-assed MOMMY!

RE: daycare. We have a contract that clearly outlines what is considered "ill", none of them happen to include "being off". While I don't recall it word for word, I'm sure that "fever" and "bodily fluids" is mentioned.

P.S. I'm in on your card exchange. You knew that, right? The response has been quite tame over at my place as well, so either it's them or it really is just us.

Eva said...

Your daycare sounds quite reactionary. Our daycare is the opposite -- a fever isn't enough to keep you out, vomiting isn't enough to keep you out... you have to be doing those things AND they have to be interfering with your functioning (which perhaps is a longer way of saying "off"). This works great for us in the sense that they are infrequently calling us to pick them up (S did indeed once throw up at daycare and they cleaned her up and kept her the rest of the day), but not so great when you think about the germs other kids are harboring.

Anonymous said...

The policy at our center is that the kid can't be there if he/she requires one-to-one care. I think that's fair. I've yet to have a call (jinxing myself here) to come and get my kid.

That being said, my son seems to have had a cold or bug about every 6-8 weeks since starting day care. The fact that he was and still is breast fed hasn't made much difference. Anyway, there have been many many days that I've had to fret over whether or not to send him. I'd stay home with him every time he sniffles if I could, but I just can't. So generally, if he can function reasonably well, he goes.

Anonymous said...

In our daycare, if they had a fever or were puking, they had to go home, otherwise they were fair game. My kids rarely get knocked down when they have a fever..they just want to party all the time...so sometimes, they were actually pretty sick and no one realized it (until I tried to put a turtleneck on one of them, say, and they began screaming from the raging ear infection that went otherwise undetected). I'm a bad mom too...we did daycare...and they are thriving despite it all. It is because of the deal I have with satan himself.

Nico said...

I would not have gone early to get an "off" child either. So if you're a bad mom, I am too.

Magpie said...

I work in the city and live in the suburbs. The soonest I could ever get to the daycare would be about 2 hours. I think I've done that once, and she did have a fever and was sick. But mostly - yeah, I'm a bad mommy.