Thursday, March 28, 2013

The case of the mean kids

The kid goes to a daycare with a preschool program. It's in a house and has the maximum number of kids allowed. There are 3 "big kids," one almost big kid, and a gaggle of 2 year olds. The trouble is that 2 of the 4 non-two year olds are mean. I suspect most of the meanness comes from being the younger sibling and taking the chance when the sibling(s) aren't around to act just like them. One of the big kids doesn't start out mean, but he follows along with the meanness. That results in 3 kids opting to be mean to my kid since she doesn't get how to play the Mean Game girls usually start once in school.

This poses a problem. Mostly because I don't know when to step in and when to just coach the kid on being kind. In a smaller daycare with fewer insane two year olds, this wouldn't be a problem. The mean would be apparent to the teacher, talked about, and not tolerated at all. Here, the big kids are often playing without the teacher so they don't get caught until someone is crying.

The trouble is, I am sick of the crying at home about not wanting to go. I am tired of explaining that my kid needs to tell the mean kids how she feels when they are mean. I am tired of having to explain why kids are mean in the first place. It was inevitable that we talk about mean kids and bullying. I just wish I had better solutions than "be nice even if they're mean because being mean back only makes things worse."

The other problem is the case of the elusive infant spot. I'm happy with the program at this place. I know the kid is physically safe and well-fed (or she would be if she ever ate anything). I know that the smaller kids get more personal attention than the bigger ones. We have dibs on the infant spot when we're ready to claim it (after Little Monster is 6weeks old and vaccinated). We are unlikely to find another infant spot and to find a school-aged spot too (soon anyway)? Might as well be the white stag.

What's best for the kid? Learning that life is full of mean people and you need to figure out how to cope, or trying to find another place where at least these mean kids wouldn't be there? Maybe there would be different mean kids. Maybe my kid would become the mean one now that she knows the tricks of the trade.

Then there's summer and what on earth comes next. We hope to find enough work for the spouse here that we can stay, but there are a lot more jobs closer to the city. We could decide to be done with childcare while I'm on summer break. It would be cheaper (assuming I don't go insane) and no constant mean kid exposure (plus no pumping for the baby). We won't know for sure just how broke we'll be next year until July so it's hard to make any kind of plan (like for kindergarten to be year round or traditional schedule, just in case we move August 1st). Gah.

I hate decisions like this. Just hate them. Tied up in this is the "where to do rotations" question. I get to set up my own rotations if I want or I can let the school pick for me but I'd need to be close to school for that to work rather than commuting from Outer Happy Nowheresville. That means moving. I hate moving. Ugh. It is certainly time for some serious consideration of the options and a decision. I just wish there were an easy decision to make.


  1. Ugh. That sounds like a really hard situation to navigate. I feel like group child care situations, especially at this age, are hard to navigate (at least the one we're in is). And I really don't know what the right answer is. You'd think as a teacher I'd have some good ideas but when it's your kid it's different. Sorry I can't be of more help. My mind if kind of mush right now. I guess I would just think about what the main ideals you want your child to end up with and try to stress those even in this difficult situation. But I don't really know how to do that.

    Abiding with you.

  2. Oof, what a tough situation. It sounds like the "mean kids" won't be a problem for long no matter what you do, though, since the kid will be starting kindergarten soon. I'm sorry you have to sort through so many decisions. Decisions are the worst, truly.