Look out world, mama bear is angry. I think I’ve figured out the nap time issue that DD1 has been having at daycare, and I am not pleased.
DD1 has always been great at daycare. Sure, we’ve had issues here and there, but nothing major. She loves the teachers, they love her, and she generally listens and plays nicely with everyone — all the feedback you want to hear. She is also (forgive me now, I am the mom) very clever. By which I mean, she observes situations very closely, and doesn’t miss a thing — catches all the little nuances, and translates them with her almost 4yo brain. This can be a problem. We have to over explain things because without the life context of an adult, the world is not nearly as logical as DD1 would like.
About 2 months ago, DD1 started shrieking at naptime. You know, the wake-everyone-up, bring people running from the next room (or the next floor), bloodcurdling shrieks. The first time it happened we grilled the teachers on the context, trying to figure out why she would be doing that. No, they told us, there wasn’t really anything different about naptime. Except, one of the teachers had to leave a little early. We asked DD1 about her behavior but she didn’t seem upset and couldn’t tell us why she did it, so we figured she had a hard time with the new routine, and we figured out a punishment/reward system for her which has always worked in the past, and we moved on.
Clearly, I wouldn’t be writing this diary if that had been the end of it. No, the shrieking continued. It was so bad, they told us, that during nap one teacher would take her out of class and talk to her about her bad behavior in the hallway. This triggered warning bells — to a 3yo, one-on-one time with a teacher that she adores sounds more like a reward to me. We mentioned it and they promised us, they had been very stern with her and the extra time with the teacher was no treat.
The shrieking has continued, a day or 2 a week, since then. Knowing our DD, we continued to probe on any changes in the class that might have driven this and were told, up and down, that the kids days hadn’t changed at all. Over this time DD1 has been great at home. I should mention that a few months ago she tried the whole screaming thing at home when she felt like her baby sister was getting too much attention but she found that it got no response, so she quickly gave it up. We did mention that to the daycare when the whole thing started, but they told us that they couldn’t just ignore her when she was waking up a whole class of kids, so we let them handle it their way. Oops.
And now, the plot thickens. A few weeks ago we get an e-mail that one of her classmates is moving to another daycare in the city. Seems odd since all the kids will be moving next fall when Kindergarten starts, and I know this family lives blocks from the current school. I ask questions, and surprise, surprise. This other little boy (who had behavior problems in previous years that had triggered some copycat activity from my DD1) had been acting up on a dramatic scale for several months, and was finally asked to leave.
Upon learning this I am livid that, even when asked point blank if anything was going on in the classroom, I was told that things were normal. Because, no they weren’t. There were behavior problems being modeled on a dramatic scale. In the interests of protecting this thuggish kid I lost the chance to explain to DD early that she shouldn’t try to get attention by acting up. And so I explain to the teachers and school head that this is likely what triggered the behavior, and am told not to worry, that they did a perfect job of shielding the misbehavior from the other kids.
I question DD and she, of course, didn’t miss a thing. She tells me about his every transgression and the reaction of the teachers. She tells me that this boy gets to go to a new school so they won’t see him any more. And then she tells me that she wants to go to a new school. And suddenly, it all falls into place. While this little boy’s misbehavior was different from my DD1, the school reaction was the same — one on one attention from teachers, sent to the office, and now I have been asked to a conference with the head of the school. By her logic, she is well on the path to getting to go to a new school, and meet new friends, and new teachers! How terrific!
Now, I am not quite as quick as DD1 and this all only fell into place for me in the middle of the night, and it is all I can do not to call them all and go all mama bear on them. I don’t know where to start — the teachers? the administrators? A conversation with DD1 explaining that her classmate didn’t “get” to go to a new school, he was kicked out; that this is a bad thing? All of the above?
In any case DD1 will start at a new school for kindergarten next fall, but we were planning on leaving DD2 at the daycare. I have no idea if that is what I want to do or not, it’s hard to figure things out when all you can see is red.
So, any advice? Conversation starters? Offers to join me in my mama bear rage?