Wednesday, December 2, 2009

night and day

I know some of you have been waiting on my reply to this question?

How is Morgan doing in school?

Well, look at this face.

I mean is that one of the saddest faces you have ever seen?

You see, I tweeted about her first day in school and how she was so excited to be there. She was with a smile. She hugged one of the teachers and didn't even look back at mommy to say good-bye.

I left there feeling pretty good and so proud of her.

I also couldn't wait to get home and check online with the surveillance cameras to see how my little "big" girl was doing on her first day of school.

I opened it up and there she was...... CRYING!

My heart of course dropped and I had to continue watching the surveillance cameras to see how they handled it with her and if she were going to stop crying on her own.


They tried to hold her, but most of the time they walked right on by her, leaving her to cry walking around in circles. I felt like a bad mommy.

I continued to watch.

She continued to cry and walk around desperately wanting one of the care providers to attend to her.

I know they are busy with a room full of children, but this was after all her first day to be there.

When I arrived to pick her up her eyes were blood shot and swollen. She had dry and wet snot all over her face and she looked like she was pure exhausted. Probably because she was exhausted for crying and being terrified alone in this new place for that extended amount of time.

She was happy to see me. Held me as tight as she could and said "bye" several times as we were leaving. She was so relieved to be getting out of there and wrapped in mommies arms.

I of course started having thoughts such as "is she ready?" "am I being selfish by putting her in preschool right now?"

So, I snuggled her up at home, gave her a good lunch and got her down for a well needed nap.

She slept like a baby.

All that afternoon she was VERY cranky about EVERYTHING. She even started to slap at me. Could she already be coming home from her first day of school learning to hit others.

Or was she expressing how mad at me she was for being left there?

Well, to make a long story short (or at least I will try).

She went back Wednesday and again cried the entire time.

Went back Friday, and again screamed the entire time. This time I couldn't leave her there. Something was pulling at my mommy instinct and I felt the urge to go get her and just take her out of there.

I know my child. I know this is not her. She doesn't do this at the gym daycare. She doesn't do this at church nursery. So why here???

I arrive and enter the school building. I hear this LOUD LOUD screaming/cry coming down the hallway. It was MY BUTTERFLY. She was crying so hysterically. Not one of the 3 teachers where comforting her. All other kids where in their high chairs eating, and there was Morgan screaming so loud, like I have never heard her scream before with this look of pure terror on her face.

I walk in and she sees me and cried harder and runs into my arms. I look at the teachers as one tries to tell me, its going to take time. That she has had some kids cry every day until they leave her class to the next class. I think she could tell by the look on my face that I wasn't buying her rambling garbage.

First of all.... NO CHILD needs to cry that hard or for that long period of time during a day, yet for every day for many weeks or months period. I get the week or two weeks with some children, but something about this just wasn't feeling right.

Weekend came and Monday rolled around. I just couldn't get myself to take her to school that day. I was torn. I needed the break, but I just didn't feel right about taking her back to that school, so I didn't.

I was on a waiting list for this Christian Academy and hadn't heard from them. I just thought to myself, I'll give them one more call and see.

To my surprise they had a space come available and I wanted to drop the phone and run to the school that minute to enroll her and secure her spot.

Morgan was sleeping so I of course had to wait until she woke up, but I was so excited to hear this.

After Morgans nap we went up to the school and this was the second time I had been to this school to visit. Each time it was always peaceful. It was clean, organized and the kids were always sweet and cheerful. No screaming. No chaotic craziness.

Every day I went to the other school, it felt like pure chaotic stress. Kids running around everywhere in a square space. Always crying. About three kids all with black eyes. It was always high strung the moment you walked in.

Not this other school.

Morgan gave the teacher a hug again, but she is very careful to make sure I did not leave her sight. We met all her new classmates, sat and had a snack with them and just got familiar with the new place.

I held off on starting her right away and told them I wanted to take Thanksgiving week off with her to let her forget about the other school, so we could start new and fresh at this school. They agreed and thought it was a smart idea also.

I then left to go to her other school to gather her things. I have her in the stroller and we walk in and instantly she begins to look afraid and starts crying. I assured her she wasn't staying and "we" were going bye-bye. She kept reaching for me saying "bye-bye."

I didn't give the teachers my time. I simply asked for Morgans things and left. I was nice, but they could tell that I was not pleased with the outcome of Morgan's first week.

Wednesday the day before Thanksgiving I called the new school and asked if we could come up and show daddy and bubba her new school. We went up there and the whole family took the tour and again Morgan walked in with a smile and hugged the teacher. Not afraid. No tears. Nothing.

Thanksgiving came and gone.....

Monday rolls around and we are off to our second "first day" of school.

She again walks in and hugs the teacher. She is greeted by about 3 friends all smiling at her and welcoming her. She looks up to make sure I am still there. I smile and encourage her to go in the gate. She goes.... I watch for a minute....she begins to explore..... and I sneak out.

I go to the office to finish off some paper work and as I am walking out of the office her class in walking out to the playground. She is holding hands with a new friend. They go to the playground and she finds a ball to play with. I leave feeling really good about everything.

Actually, I take that back... I felt warm and fuzzy. Safe. In good hands.

All the things I really didn't feel at this other school. I don't know why.

I told them to not let her cry the entire time, that if she cried and doesn't stop... to call me.

Well, I never got a call. Also, I didn't have surveillance cameras at this new school to watch either, but I trusted that they would call me.

Besides, I knew once I arrived the truth would be there on Morgans face anyways.

I arrive at noon to pick her up and they had just finished their lunch. Morgan was rolling on the floor smiling and playing. She saw me.....

She saw MOMMY.....


She ran away!!!

She was having fun and was not ready to leave.

I get her and as we are walking to the car she says with a smile "bye" and starts to run and play outside. I get her in the car and as we drove home I saw in her eyes "safe" is what they said to me. I knew then in my heart we found OUR school.

God opened this door for her and for ME.

That moment took such a huge weight off my heart. I knew something wasn't right at the other school. I knew it.

I couldn't wait to tell daddy.

This brings us to today, Wednesday, her second day at her new new school.

I am out of town in Vermont for work. What a bad week to get booked out of town sort of, right?

Daddy said he dropped her off and she went right in and gave her teacher a hug. When he arrived to pick her up, she refused to go to daddy. He asked her "are you ready to leave?" Her response was a quick and matter of fact "no!"

She left in a good mood, went down for her nap and slept through the night for daddy.

Behaving like the happy trusting girl we know.

What a good girl. A big girl. Makes mommy being away much easier.

I haven't yet gotten to take pictures of her at the new school, but I will.

She will only attend on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays for 3 hours 9-12. However, tomorrow is Thursday and she will actually attend school ALL day since daddy has to work and mommy is out of town. This means we are taking in her things for her to take a nap. They sleep on these cutest little cots.

Lets see how she handles nap time and a full day there.

I have a feeling nap time will be a little tricky, but since she seems so secure and happy there.... I have to be honest. I am not really all that nervous.

Thank you for that Jesus.

I am so thankful we got into this school and part of me wants to say something to the other school, but really, what would I actually say?

I want to express my concerns about there being no real structure and how chaotic it always appears to be in this class. I also want to tell her that when I walked in on Morgans second day of school there, I saw the teacher changing a diaper pretty much plop the little boy down on the changer to be changed as he was crying. She wasn't comforting him, or gentle laying him down. I wanted to speak up then.

I want to tell them I think they should put surveillance cameras on the other side of the room, because you can only see the half of the room with the two cameras in there. You can't see them changing your child or feeding your child on one side of the room.

I want to tell them I watched them on the cameras while Morgan cried, reaching her arms up to the teacher for comfort, the teacher walked right by her and even gave Morgan's head a little light push as to "move out of her way."

I want to tell them I also saw on the camera that at one point Morgan picked up someone else's sippy cup. Instead of getting down on her level and telling her that wasn't her sippy cup, and then exchanging that cup for her own, they instead yanked the sippy out of her hand and gave her own sippy cup. What is that teaching her? Teaching her its okay to just take things from others? I dislike any adults that feel they can or allowed to man handle or treat children with such authority, with no respect or sensitivity. Its wrong....and that's another post itself.

I want to say that I watched on surveillance camera that while tyring to put kids down for nap, one little boy got of hismat and the teacher instead of walking him over there and laying him down. She pretty much pulled him by his arm and by his arm pushed (not forceful, but not caring either) down onto his mat. What is that teaching a child? That physical force is allowed?

Or the one day walked in and they had all the lights out and every kid down for a nap as they left Morgan sitting by herself in the middle of the floor, in the dark, with no to comfort her until I picked her up, since she was the only one not napping. I walked in and she was sitting there scared with her hands in her lap not knowing what to think or do, by herself.

It makes me angry.

That's what I want to say....

But instead... I just walk away and give thanks we found this new school and so far Morgan fits right in. On Wednesdays they do chapel and they pray over lunch and snack time. They also talk about Jesus.

Everything about it is perfect!!!

At her new school she will actually have uniform shirts to wear. So cute.

Do yo think I should tell the other school my thoughts and concerns?

Part of me feels I should speak up and be the voice for those other little children.

Am I overreacting?

24 Personal Thoughts:

FollowingHIM said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FollowingHIM said...

First of all, you are not overreacting. I used to work at a church-based nursery and if it were during church, we always held a child who crying. If the child could not be comforted, then we would page the parents after 15 minutes.

During the day, if a child cried, we would comfort them and if the crying was over an hour, the entire time, we would call the parents. The parents, sometimes, had us try a few things or they would come get the child. It varied on the family.

Sure crying is difficult to watch/bear, but the place that M was previously should NEVER had let her cry for the entire three hours. I am appalled for you. I think you should report the previous place to either the people who own the place or to the people that accredit the place. Sure there are video cameras but the shocking truth is the people may not see anything wrong for what they are doing. You have a chance to voice for the kiddos and I do believe you should say something!

I do think you should ask the procedures about what happens if she cries for a prolonged period of time.

Anonymous said...

Misty, you are NOT overreacting! Yes, you schedule a meeting with that school and tell them your concerns...obviously, since they are allowing themselves to be videotaped they should be able to describe to you why they are "behaving" they way they are. I would ask for explainations...obviously, some of these children don't have their own parents advocating for them...take the opportunity to stand up for these sweet kiddos.
Most importantly, for you and Morgan, you listened to your "gut". Never doubt that...

RyderMakes3 said...

I agree, you are not overreacting at all, Misty. It broke my heart just reading how they treated Morgan and the other children. The part about Morgan sitting alone in the dark scared with her hands in her lap is especially sad, but all the situations you described are bothersome! I think you have every right to voice your concerns to somebody in charge at that school.

Praise God that she got into the new school, what a blessing! It sounds like a perfect fit, with caring, loving, Christian women working in it.

Love the pictures, Morgan is such a doll!!

Katie :)

Linkis Family Love said...

Yes, you should have a meeting with the director (the teachers would just be defensive at this point). As adults, as Christians, as Mommies, we need to speak up and help to protect and stand up for those little ones who cannot speak up, stand up, and/or protect themselves. I cannot imagine the agony these children are enduring on a daily basis. Thanks to God that Butterfly had a Mommy who got her out of there...but what about the kids that are there for a several year sentence? Sounds like there is definitely something WRONG going on there...cameras, or no cameras. You Go Girl!
Praise God for Butterfly's new school. We had the same thing. First school, had red flags. Now, our girls are at a Christian school 5min from home, and it is like a 2nd family!
Kelli Linkis <><<

Crysgoss said...

Glad you found a new school and you and her are at peace now. I would speak up.

Kristi said...

I do not think you are overreacting at all. I was tearing up just reading it and can't imagine them doing that to my baby! I would totally have a meeting with them and let them know how you feel. There could be other parents that feel the same way but don't want to speak up. You have nothing to lose because your baby doesn't go there and you dont have to see them everday. Plus it will probably make you feel better getting it off your chest. I hope she continues to love her new school! My baby is 18 months and wish I could let go and put her in daycare just to get her out of the house. I tell my husband every day I wish I was stronger and could leave her.

daniella said...

You most definitely are NOT overreacting! I would say something because not all parents have the ability or access to watch their kids on the computer like you were able. I bet they have no clue and end up blaming their child throwing tantrums and clinging based on something else. I bet they have no idea that while these caregivers are not harming them, they ARE doing their job barely half-way, with no heart or tenderness. This is the age when kids learn most and develop their emotional IQ immensly. If all day they're taught by these caregivers qualities that are not good for them then it will cause big problems in behavior and the home. So, do everyone a favor and say something.

What a great thing God blessed us women with - INTUITION. I find that even as a Christian, it's even better because the Holy Spirit resides there and it's like a double whammy :-) Glad you had confidence in yourself and listened to God's discerning voice and did what's best for your family. You go girl!

Angie said...

Hey Misti! I agree with everyone else in saying something. My little girls goes to a Mothers Morning Out that is two days a wk and loves it, if I was one of the other parents that the child was not being loved on or takin care of it would break my heart and I would do just like you and pull mine out. Gods plan was for Morgan to be in her new Christian school and I hope she continues to love it!

ABCDH said...

My heart was simply breaking reading this post. I can relate to this on two different levels.
The first is that I am a licensed daycare provider and have plenty of experience with separation anxiety. That being said - there is NO excuse for the lack of compassion on the daycare's part.
Second is my experience in sending my oldest daughter to preschool and finding out that when the class got out of hand the teacher would yell "get on your backs!" and she'd shut the lights off and make the kids lay down. I found this to be humiliating and scary and promptly told the director that I did not agree with this method of discipline. That preschool teacher is now the assistant instead of head teacher.
I don't believe in "over"reacting - or being "over"protective. Isn't that our job?

Adventures on the Farm said...

Let me tell you I have been in your shoes.....and when the feeling isnt right it isnt right for a reason. My son cried for a week straight before I decided we needed to do something different. The provider offered NO compasion to him and just expected him to adapt first rattle out of the box and that is NOT his personality.

SO dont think for 2 seconds you overreacted you are a mom and if you dont take care of your sweet babies and do what is in there best intrest NO one will.

You did the right thing and your sweet little girl showed you mommy this is where I am ment to be.


Joycy said...

Definitely not overreacting, you felt what you felt for a reason - mommy intuition. Any school that your child does not wish to leave is a warm, loving school. I used to have to bring a CD in from the car to lure Isaiah out at her age. Great feeling!!
The fact that you gave them the benefit of the doubt for a couple more days, and you watched them repeatedly not take the time to comfort your sweet baby, when they knew she had NEVER been to school is simply not acceptable. Sometimes people get too complacent in what they do, they don't take the time to see each circumstance as unique, and perhaps requiring special attention. For Pete's sake she still a young, young child. She gauges her world at this point by her level of comfort. If she's comfortable, then she's happy. You totally did the right thing and I would have a chat with the director. You may even be inclined to drop the words, "I would have loved to recommend this school to others, but at this time I cannot..." ;) Let us know how the big Thursday went, even if she did cry a bit, it would have been the change in schedule, not the people. ;))

Keri said...

I am so happy for you that Morgan is happy and safe in a school you trust! And yeah for her that she has a mommy that pays more attention to her instincts than what others around may be saying. Good for you!!!

6HartsforHim said...

I would totally speak up and say something to the school.Either meet with the director,or send a letter.I also suggest you read the book "home by choice".Written by a wonderful woman,who has a PHD(can't remember her name off the top of my head).She has some very good perspectives on pre-school/childcare and what it does to a child to be treated the way the first school treated children.Might be helpful to include sections of what she says in her book in a letter to them.Not to mention her book may help assure you that you are in fact not over-reacting!That school is damaging children for life,and may not even realize it!Have a safe trip home,and hope Morgan had a blessed week!

Love Being a Nonny said...

I am a mom. I am now a Nonny. I taught preschool for several years. you should speak up. It may help someone else. My motto: ALWAYS be kind to children. (When I taught and got frustrated with a child, I would always tell myself to treat that child like I would want someone else to treat them). SPEAK UP in a caring way.

Anonymous said...

You should report the school to HRS. The only way the school can improve is with your feedback. If you call HRS and tell them to conduct an annoymous visit, then the school will get a fine. I have worked in daycare and have seen horrible things. Just telling the director is not enough, sometimes they do not care either. I once told a director of my preschool what a teacher was doing, that was horrible and the director actually told me that the teacher needed to hang herself with her own rope and get busted by HRS. I quit and then called HRS on the school and told them that they needed to do a sneak visit on the school and told them the name of the teacher that was doing inappropriate things to children. She told two years olds that if they did not eat their snack she would stuff it down their throats. She would line up chairs with the kids names on the backs, and tell the kids to find their chair with their name on it (they were two!) and if they didn't she would yell at them FIND YOUR CHAIR! She was so mean. If a kids did not sleep during rest, she would put their mat in the bathroom! She wanted me to do things her way. I could not bear to work there anymore. You have to go beyond the director Misty and contact HRS! Make sure that they give them a sneak visit, because many preschools are on their "best behavior" when they know HRS is coming. I am so glad you found your "warm and fuzzy" school for your daughter. Always go with your gut, it knows best! Good Luck and please tell those teachers how much they mean to you. They have your precious world in your hands everyday.

Miss Denise

Karen said...

I would pray about what to say and for God to prepare the director for your words. I always do that before I confront someone with something, because I loathe confrontation!! You should say something because the director SHOULD want to know that Morgan wasn't comforted. I would say it just like that, "I just wanted you to know why Morgan won't be going there anymore. I wasn't comfortable with the fact that..." You might even just do a letter/e-mail so that you don't get excuses and defensiveness back. You aren't wanting anything from them, so you don't need to hear the excuses. All you want, I think, is their awareness.

I took my daughter out of our preschool this year, too. It is a school I love, but it was not working for my third child. The director asked me if there were any problems with the teachers or anything else. She really wanted to know. If the director doesn't care, that is even more reassurance to you that you made the right decision!

Love your blog, Misty!

amanda said...

NO! I don't think you are overreacting at all, and I would surely tell the director of the school, and/or most likely I would just contact the state to come into that school! The director may not be aware, and could correct that classroom by simply just moving that worker to another classroom and watching what goes on in there to see if that helps. The worker may be too stressed by working with children Morgan's age, but may well be fine with working with an older age, but she should be watched to see. Some people take daycare jobs just because they need an income, and not because they like working with children and have that dedication and care and concern and patience it takes to work with children. It sounds like to me the lack of structure that wasn't provided caused the entire problem for the entire classroom, and certainly the director needs to know if she didn't, and if she did, then most certainly I would go way above the director with my concerns, because that teacher could take out her stresses and frustrations on a child even more so, and what she did was bad enough!

Leighann said...

Wow! I think a well phrased letter is appropriate when you are ready to write it. It doesn't have to be mean and nasty, just a simple explanation of all the things you saw on the camera and how you didn't feel it was the right environment for Morgan. Go mom!

Leighann said...

Wow! I think a well phrased letter is appropriate when you are ready to write it. It doesn't have to be mean and nasty, just a simple explanation of all the things you saw on the camera and how you didn't feel it was the right environment for Morgan. Go mom!

Anonymous said...

You should definitely report the first school! If there is an agency that watches these things definitely go to them to do a "secret" visit!!
I'm agreeing with one of the previous comments, think going to the director wouldn't do any good she must know how her teachers treat the children.

Rachel Boldman said...

Hi Misty,
I just moved away from Florida, and while I was living there I was a social worker for DCF (department of children and families). If you are really concerned (as a mom of a 20-month old, I would be concerned too if I were in your position) about the old day care, give DCF a call and explain your feelings. All day care/pre-school centers must go through DCF.

What a heartbreaking story about your little girl--I am so glad that the Lord has redeemed this situation!

Lori said...

Just happened upon your blog, nice to meet a fellow Floridian.

I am a past pre-school teacher and wanted to let you know you did everything perfectly. You know your child, you know when they are sending you clues that something is not right (it really is a different kind of cry), I praise God everything worked out perfectly.


Heather said...

I think I would say something also. Those kids don't need to be treated that way.

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