Friday, September 11, 2009

Running a Daycare

Holy crap! How is it possible that there are so many horrible daycare providers out there?!? We brought LL to Natasha's yesterday, to see how it would work out with Piper filling in for Natasha. I hadn't exactly gotten a positive impression of Piper on Tuesday, but S had met her before and liked her, so we decided to go together and talk to her and get some more concrete information from her, and give her a day as a trial run. When we got there, the two children were in the middle of destroying the house, total chaos. And the television was on, something that is absolutely not done when Natasha is there. And she kept saying things like, "He'll be fine as long as he doesn't try to crawl anywhere." Huh? Or he picked up a toy and started chewing on it, because that's what babies do, and she grabbed the toy away from him and said, "Don't chew on things! Gosh, I hope that he doesn't keep doing that." Again, huh?!?

When I picked up LL, Piper told me that LL cried for much of the day, which is completely out of character for him. I don't know how much of it was the strangeness of a new caregiver, or the fact that the caregiver kept taking toys away from him and not letting him do anything. I asked how his naps were, and her response was, "I assume that he slept okay." What the hell does that mean? "I put him in his crib, and he cried for ... at least 30 minutes, but I'm not sure how long. Then he was quiet for a while, so he must have been asleep."

She let him scream for 30 minutes, after he had clearly already been upset by the change in caregivers. Crap. I hate her so much right now, I want to strangle someone.

To top it off, I had this conversation with her:

ME: So, could you please give me a few references, preferably for clients that were around LL's age?
PIPER: I've run my own daycare for many years. I have lots of experience.
ME: Yes, I understand. That's why I assume it won't be a problem for you to give me a few references.
PIPER: Oh. Um... well, I don't actually take care of infants at my daycare. Just preschoolers.
ME: You had given me the impression that you took care of infants. Okay, well then I'll take references for the children that you do take care of.
PIPER: Um, I'd rather not.
ME: Excuse me?!?
PIPER: You know, I run my own daycare.
ME: Yeah, you've mentioned that. Could I please have some references?
PIPER: That's kind of a problem, because I haven't told any of my clients that I'm not going to be there for the next month. I left my assistants in charge, but I didn't tell any of the parents. If I give you their numbers and you call them, they'll find out.
ME: So, you're lying to all of your current clients? Interesting. Um, okay. In that case, why don't you give me some references from past clients, for whom your absence won't be an issue?
PIPER: Well, but I don't want them to know, either. I'm not really comfortable with that.
ME: Is there some reason why you're unable to give us any references?
PIPER: No, I have lots of references! It's just... see, my assistants sort of interact with the kids more than I do, so if you call the parents, they're not really going to tell you anything about me, just about my assistants, so I'm not sure that it will help.
ME: You run a daycare, but you don't interact with the children?
PIPER: But I have lots of experience! So you don't need to worry.
ME: Well, I am worried, because it sounds to me like you're refusing to give me any references, which makes me think that you're unable to provide any.
PIPER: Oh. Um, okay, fine, here are two names, but I really do need you to lie to them for me about why you're calling.

Needless to say, we're not going to bother with the references because we won't be using Piper. I'm having a hard time believing that this woman runs a successful childcare business. Our current theory is that she likes preschoolers, but didn't want to have to bother taking care of an infant, so she was doing a passive-aggressive thing to convince us not to bring LL back. If so, it worked.


Sunny said...

Good for you for trusting your mommy instinct! That woman is CLEARLY suspicious. I wouldn't want to leave my son with her for two seconds.

This may be totally unhelpful, but here's what I did when I wanted care for my son. I posted on Craigslist -- conducted a few interviews, background checks (easily done online) and called references. I found a wonderful woman who came to my house and watched Bean while I worked from home. It's a tough economy, you might be able to find someone good, a couple of days a week!

HereWeGoAJen said...

So are you starting to reconsider the commute to Florida for temporary daycare? Because REALLY? Argh. I strongly dislike that woman.

Jennifer said...

She's so OUT! What a whack job. I am so glad you're not entrusting LL's care to her anymore.

K @ ourboxofrain said...

That makes me want to cry a little. Or a lot. Or hit that woman. Or yell and scream.

I am incredibly frustrated for you. I hope you are able to figure something out soon.

Science Gal said...

if it wasn't a real life story and it wasn't your kid....then this dialogue would be HILARIOUS! I would have sworn it was from a sitcom....I do have references, just not to give out..HA HA HA.

She's lucky that she's even employed! you should have insisted on the references and then called all the parents to warn them that she is lying to them.

ditto on the craigslist, I have had two friends use it to find a reliable, cheap fill-in for their regular daycare provider.

Jen said...

Unbelievable! I would definitely not feel comfortable leaving my child there.