Monday, 9 August 2010

Family (Quick Pass Me A Brown Paper Bag) Daycare

A month or so ago I went to check out a place for Tiny to potentially go to family daycare. I was optimistic. I had the sun on my back. I had a bounce in my step. The people who look after such things were very positive, raving about the carer.

Things were a little skewiff when she asked me to come at 5pm. 5pm? This is the time my children go a little ker-azy and are seen chasing each other around the house, half-tired, half-delirious. But ok, 5pm if it's good for her, it's good for me.

We rocked up and I could see her through the glass door, so I stood there feeling like a massive dork - she was talking to someone picking up their child. The Doctor, Tiny and I stood there - with me thinking - surely she's going to open the door, surely she sees our shadows on her doorstep. But we stood there for a good few minutes before I relented and I knocked.

She opened the door, barely acknowledged me, and I stood to the side while she continued her conversation with the other lady.

Finally she led us out to her kitchen, which had an adjoining play room with sliding glass doors. She ushered the kids out to play. Then she closed the doors. The kids could see us, but they were blocked by those heavy doors. It was like being in a criminal line-up. Except it wasn't one way glass. And we weren't criminals. And there were no height markings on the wall. And I am sure even police cells have heating. It was freaking cold out there dudes, and my smalls had been shunted out of the way so she could talk shop with me.

And then she let her oversized boxer dog in. And he kept sniffing around me. And sniffing. And sniffing. And she didn't pull him away.

Let me put my cards on the table right now.

I like dogs. But I don't love dogs. I love cats. Dogs - dogs are needy, sniffy, sometimes a bit smelly, I am not a dog person. And there was a massive boxer in my face - licking my arm, it's making the hairs stand up on my neck just thinking about it. I like dogs, I do not love them. Especially licky dogs that sniff a lot.

So the dog was allowed to be with us. But my kids were shut out in the cold 'play room'.

We chatted in some awkward interview type deal, and then I decided that I needed to get my children back from sub-zero temps and go home and defrost them.

Tiny came in and she completely wreaked of a big steamy poo. The carer handed me some rubber gloves and insisted I change her nappy right there and then. Er... We lived not even four minutes up the road, am I wrong? Am I wrong for wanting to change my daughter's nappy when we got home instead of in a stranger's home?

Clearly, I did not proceed with this arrangement, and have put the brakes on with any form of care. I've been lucky enough to rely on my sister and my FIL to help when I am going into work. But that's only a short term arrangement and I need to come up with something else. After having a few dud experiences with family daycare, I am loathe to go back there.

Basically, I'd like Nanny McPhee.


sharpiegirl said...

Sounded awful, always go with your gut. I used a sitter once who cared for more children than she initially let on. One day I dropped in on her and my angel was asleep in a highchair with food all over her face and hands. I was so disgusted and angry I immediately began looking for a new place to keep her.

Corrie said...

yikes, the dog would be enough for me to walk away and say no thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!! nightmare!

I have a twin mummy come over to mind my twins each week and am loving it! my house, my rules and she's a nanny the rest of the week! working well for us!

good luck!

Lin said...

Me too! Or an Italian Nonna who weilds a big stick and cooks a mean lasagne. *Sigh*. Yeah I've heard bad things about family day care unfortunately. But then centres can be bad too (in my opinion). My boy lasted for 9 weeks in one until I pulled him out - he was sick constantly and hence, so was the rest of the family. Drove us mad! Stick with family members as long as you can! At least they care!

the tomorrow girl said...

Ive never commented before so HI! *waves!*
I have recently been thru this too.
It was gut wrenching and horrible. My experience was with a centre.
Never ever again for us.
Always go with your gut, mumma's instinct is rarely out of whack! :)

teddybearswednesday said...

Yikes, glad you got out to there quick smart.
And I'd be your Nanny McPhee in a flash xo

Nat Kringoudis Melbourne said...

Crappers! I haven't had to cross this bridge yet but I don't look forward to it. I hope you find somewhere you are comfortable with but I agree with what others have said... the gut knows! At least you have short term solutions in place in the mean time.

Cherie said...

Gadzooks that's hideous, the dog inside, your little Darlings out ... bloodyhell, outrageous!
I'd put my hand up to be your Nanny McPhee but there's a shortage of hours in my day as it is ;-)
I get your ire I'm in a similar bind for a boarding/minding situation for my Blossom (I know ... middle aged women with cats as their babies.) As a cat lover you get it, as a great grandmother I get your plight - what to do?
Follow your gut feeling, it's spot on every time. xo

the textured leaf said...

I dont know if this is along the same lines but I was frightened of the ladies at the local kindergarten and only went back once. If I found it intimidating how did my baby feel?

Cath @ chunkychooky said...

We have the most amazing family day carer in the world! Busy started when she was 1 and Therse or "Fureeze" as Busy calls her is like a grandma to her. I said to the universe "I want someone who is in ther 50's with grown children of there own who absolutely loves kids and has been doing Family day care for a while" and there she was. It has been a great experince , Busy now at 3 and a half has just started preschool but still does one day with "Fureeze" as none of us are ready to let go yet. Keep looking, someone is out there for you.

Alisha Stamper | Photographer said...

i say give up on that one, but not family care. my mom has run one for 25 yrs +, and has a great philosophy-- maybe as you look ask the provider: if they have multiple kids of the same age in care? Reason being that it is more like a FAMILY if the kids are different ages. My mom said she would only take on new people if the kids fit in as if she had naturally had them herself. You just need a good one. The kids my mom had are STILL like siblings to me and my actual siblings. Its like they inherited another family (and their parents are like aunts and uncles to us). You'll find a good one! :)

katiecrackernuts said...

Holy crappola. Pray you never have to see this woman or her stinky dog again.

Sam said...

That sounds terrible!

Having a dog around would throw me off, and I'm a dog lover!!

I'd say stick with members of family as long as possible. They are really great carers, whom you trust, and I'm sure the kids love them too!


Luv a Duck! (afka Partito y Monito) said...

I am SO with you on the dog issue... Viva La Cat! Bummer about the daycare issue.

ClaireyH said...

Firstly, dogs were designed to live outside, makes me vomit when I smell dogs inside. Family day care is needle in a haystack style of finding a good one. At least at a centre there are lots of people around making sure that your littlin' is being looked after, and they don't take sick leave, holidays or allow stinky dogs inside.
But, use and abuse the family as long as you can!

Katie@ Grow. Cook. Sew. said...

Oh no, I had the BEST experience with family daycare in Sydney. I found a lovely old woman who looked after her grandchildren and 2 other kids.. I keep hearing shocking stories about FDC but there are good ones out there.. I promise!