Thursday, December 15, 2011

That would be "Miss Nanny" to you, thanks.

Because I am going back to school soon we (M+M and I) have been shopping around for a daycare/pre-school for the lil guy.

The first daycare we looked at I have grown to like more and more. The people there are friendly and kind, they have a lot of experience with children, they have their own playground, the halls are filled with music and a performer from the Kennedy Center comes every week to sing with the children.

The second one, the one that we went to yesterday, was, in a word, horrible.

I met up with the dad and the mom was to be along soon. We walked in and the director came to greet us. I introduced myself as "Nicole, the nanny." We went down to the classroom and she introduced me as "Nicole, the babysitter."

I was insulted. "I'm the nanny," I kindly corrected as I met the teachers.

"Babysitter." The director said in a sickeningly patronizing voice.

Okay people, I am not the lil guy's babysitter. I am his nanny. It is a big difference. This is not some on and off job where I come for a few hours a couple weekends a month so mom and dad can have a date night. No. My hours are 8:15-6:30 Monday-Friday. I have sick days and paid vacation and this is my job.

I am a big part of the lil guy's life. I've taught him words, I change his diaper, prepare his lunch, go to his appointments, read him books, pick out his outfits, kiss all better his boo-boos, wipe his nose, teach him manners....I am not some babysitter when it comes to my lil guy.

Throughout the visit I became increasingly unimpressed by this so-called "daycare." They had a snack time and we had told them several times in the five minutes that we'd been there what the lil guy's (severe) allergies were, and I am without any sort of doubt that the mom made these very clear over the phone. But just to be sure when one of the teachers handed him a cracker, the dad asked if it had any dairy or nut products in it? and guess what the teacher said....

"Oh, I don't know."

Excuse me....what? You don't know? How could you not know? How could you not make absolutely certain before feeding this child? I admit, I made a mistake once feeding him goldfish. That was wrong. However I would like to say that I was new, inexperienced with food allergies, and the mini goldfish were with the lil guy's other snack foods.

These "teachers" are supposed to have experience dealing with kids with allergies. To make a mistake like that is inexcusable at any respectable daycare. The clients of said daycare are smart, and live in DC, meaning that they undoubtedly have access to good lawyers. I once heard that there was one lawyer for every ten people in DC. Sounds crazy, but think about it- not so unlikely. Do they honnnnestly think there wouldn't be repercussions for careless feeding?

And the teachers the teachers. Lemme talk some more about the teachers. I really liked one. She was supernice and good with the kids. But all of the rest....??

All of them wore UGG boots and fancy, stylish clothes. All of them had a vacant stare. All of them seemed vapid and selfish and slutty. Yes, I am absolutely judging those books by their cover, but I don't believe I am too far from the truth.

I have grown up around girls like this all my life. I grew up in a very privileged area, and designer labels are seen everywhere. Wintertime at my high school was an opportunity for all the girls to break out their UGG boots, and a Vera Bradley key chain/wallet are staples. Although I don't like UGG boots, I am in the very small minority. That's just the way it is around here.

And that's not a problem, but I still couldn't stand to be around those teachers because they were just so snobby. The big difference between where I grew up and these girls is that where I grew up people weren't stuck up about how much money they had or whatever. It is an affluent community. It's not a big deal if everybody has it.

These girls were so stuck-up and unpleasant and I don't know how any of them got their jobs. There was this poor little boy, and I guess he was having kind of a bad day, because he wanted to sit on one of the teacher's laps during the dumb story time (it was a book about triangles in the city. Triangles in the city. Kids don't care about that! They want dogs and ducks and trucks.). If it had been me, of course he could've sat on my lap. If it had been at the other (better) pre-school, this wouldn't have been a big deal, a little deal, or even a deal. It's a child- of course they'll want to sit on your lap.

Well apparently this was a big deal. They teacher kept shoving him off, but the kid really wanted to sit with her. Finally she was like, "Okay you can have one hug one and then you have to go sit on your dot."

I don't see what the problem is. The teachers weren't doing anything but sitting around listening to the stupid story anyway. And this was the only kid who wanted to sit on a lap, so they wouldn't be playing favorites by allowing it. So dumb.

When the mom arrived, the lil guy wanted to see her so we went up the stairs and greeted her. She chatted with the director while the lil guy, the dad and I went back and forth from the classroom. Finally the lil guy made it clear that he wanted us all (M+M and I) to go to the classroom with us. As we went down the stairs the director called after us, "Oh, it's probably best if Nicole doesn't go. I mean, three people would be a distraction."

Umm....are you trying to tell me that one person more would make such a difference to a room full of kids (and most likely teachers) who can't count? Honestly?

M+M kind of looked at her for a second, nonplussed, and then smiled apologetically at me. "I'll just wait up here." I said, walking back to the lobby, which overlooks the classroom that the lil guy was in. I watched them for a couple minutes and then went to the director's office door.

"Hi," I smiled, knocking on the glass panel because the door was open. She turned around in her chair and didn't even try to smile. Just looked at me.


I smiled again, because such is my habit. Because, unlike some people, I am polite and nice. "If you have a moment, I would love to hear more about this daycare."

She stared at me blankly and grudgingly asked. "What would you like to know?"

I wasn't expecting this. At the other daycare when I announced my desire to learn more I was bombarded with fun-facts, solid information- all told with a smile. I could see I would get no such treatment from here.

"Well," I began. "I noticed that there were a lot less boys than girls in the class. Is there a reason for this? Are some of them perhaps on vacation?"

She was smiling now, but it was a hard, cold, frozen smile as she quickly informed me they "don't discriminate because that's not how it is in the real world."

Really. Really? People in the real world do not discriminate? If that is the case then I would like to know whyy I felt like she was discriminating against me because of my job title that she could never quite manage to get right.

"Oh I wasn't thinking that you did." I assured her, even though that was a lie. "I was just wondering because there seems like so much more girls than boys."

"No, that's just the way it turned out. A lot of these children have been with us since their infancy and the families all know each other and they get together on weekends and stuff."

I smiled appreciatively at this piece of useless information. "Okay. What's a normal day like?"

She proceeded to tell me of the boring, drab days these kids have to endure Monday-Friday, 365. They have "student-led" activities in the morning. I asked if the "students" were interns, and she told me that they were the children.

I raised my eyebrows. "So....for two hours the children are in charge?"

The director rolled her eyes. "The teachers watch them."


Then they go on a walk. They have this rope/leash thing that all the kids hold and the teachers lead them to playgrounds. Ohhh-kay. I know this area. There are no playgrounds around here. It is a hugely busy place, and that's saying something considering that DC is a busy city to begin with. There are countless buses, cars, taxis, pedestrians, cyclists. I don't know how all these kids are still alive bc whatever playground this woman was talking about has to have been at least four city blocks away, and I wouldn't trust those teachers to get themselves across the street.

After that it's lunch (disaster), naptime, snack (please try not to poison the children), and then storytime and free play or whatever.

"That sounds like a fun day!" I lied, thinking that I would rather walk through a mine field than subject my lil guy to that many risks in one day.

I was done talking with her, and she had clearly checked out before the conversation even started. I thanked her for her time and the mom gestured for me to come down to the classroom. She told me that they were going to stay for a bit and that I could nip home if I wanted. Oh yes, I very much wanted.

As I walked out I saw this kid sitting in what must be the time-out chair in the lobby. He looked miserable and very worried and couldn't have been over four years old. The director called him into her office and began reprimanding him for I don't know what, but the way she was going at it his crime might as well have been drowning the class gerbil. I pointed this out to the dad, and he seemed very convinced already that this was a horrible place.

Later the mom asked me my opinion on the daycare. I was very hesitant at first, but then I realized that if I didn't say something my lil guy would probably have to go to that wretched place, since the mom seemed to like it. I cleared my throat and told her my experience. Immediately the mom's face became shocked, then indignant.

"What?! Why would they treat you like that? For all they know you could be my sister!"

The reason she said this is that I have a nanny friend in my building who is nannying for her sister. I introduced her to the mom one day and she simply adores them.

"I know!' I agreed. "And it's not like you won't ask me what I think."

The mom nodded seriously and reassured me that my opinion was very important to this decision. I am very glad about that, bc I already knew it in the first place but it was nice that she made a point to reassure me on this.

Because even though I am "just a nanny", I am very proud of my job and the work that I do. It is one of the most important jobs out there. So yeah, that would be "Miss Nanny" to you, thanks.

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