Occasionally, there are things that happen which I have chosen not to write about. The reasons range from “it’s a long story” to “it’s too embarrassing” to “it would be unfair to point out the utter stupidity of someone who can’t defend themselves.” Garrett has been through 3 daycares in 6 months and I have chosen not to write about any of it. If I shared those stories, we’d be here for a week – and Child Protective Services would have certainly been called.
However, after sharing this particular story with another parent, I felt confident that I could tell you what happened without specifically naming names.
Several weeks ago, we were highly encouraged by a childcare professional (who had been working with Garrett) to visit a specific daycare. She was adamant that we would love the program, love the daycare providers, and it would meet all of Garrett’s needs. This school was supposedly “the best” and we would be lucky to get in. GWE spoke with the director of the school who informed her that they don’t do private tours, but we could be added to a future group tour. GWE accepted.
When we arrived, GWE and I were welcomed to the school and brought into one of the classrooms where a group of parents had already begun to gather. Most were moms. I was one of two dads. When the director was ready to begin, she asked us all to sit in a semi-circle as she and her mother sat facing the parents. The director was in her mid-50’s and her mother (who founded the program) was in her 80’s. Happily, the two of them began extolling the virtues of their school. They talked about the importance of morning transitions, the tactile experiences the students would have, and all of the other opportunities they would provide. (I’ve been through these speeches a number of times now. After 2 kids and 3 daycares, my “Daycare Bullshit” detector is pretty accurate.)
And then, the oddest thing happened. While the director was talking, the older woman interrupted her and said, “Ok, let’s start the songs!” I thought she was kidding. She was not. Together, the mother-daughter team told the parents that they would need their participation as they began to sing two children’s songs. But they were songs no one had ever heard before. I looked around the room to see the other parent’s (including my wife’s) reactions. Most of parents went along with the request (probably because they were told that this was The Best and they couldn’t get in and thought “Maybe if I sing and participate, they will accept my child.” I don’t know for sure.) GWE reluctantly sang along, but she is happy for any opportunity to sing! I mumbled along all the while staring down the director with a look that said, “ARE YOU F#$%$@@ KIDDING ME?!?!?”
As a side note, there were no children in the room. Well…..that’s not entirely accurate. Two parents brought their children, but the director made it perfectly clear that children were NOT welcome to this meeting. That’s correct – the child care provider did not want children in the room meant for childcare. Begrudgingly, the children were encourage to “go and play in the corner.” (Yea…. wrap your head around that for a moment.)
Once the songs were done, they proceeded to give the parents a 45 minute guided tour of their facility. When the tour was over, we were asked to return to the room we started in for final questions.
But, before the questions could begin…..it was F#$%$@@ SONG TIME AGAIN! I wish I was kidding, but I’m not. They insisted that the parents sing two more songs. I turned to my wife and whispered in her ear, “I’m done. There is no (very long combination of bad words) way I’m sending my child here.” She agreed and we excused ourselves to leave.
I waited until we were in the car before sharing my thoughts….loudly and uncensored. After I was done, I once again turned to my wife and rhetorically asked, “Do you know who sings children’s songs when there are no children around? Serial killers and HAL 9000 from the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey!!” And, he killed his whole crew!!!”
“Daisy, Daisy / Give me your answer, do. / I’m half-crazy / all for the love of you……”
As an addendum, they called a few weeks later to tell my wife that Garrett had been accepted into their program. GWE politely declined the invitation. However, I really wish she had done it to the tune of “Row, Row, Row Your Boat.”