the sometimes senseless ravings (and the occassional rant) of an aspiring marine ecologist who may enjoy killing things a little too much

Friday, September 18, 2009

Screw Friday, Is It Saturday Yet?

Things that happened today:
  • I found out that someone I thought was a friend threw me under the metaphorical bus. You don't get details. Just that I said something to someone in a moment of frustration and that something was repeated to a Very Important Person, who took it entirely the wrong way and some very bad things could have happened as a result. These bad things were considered by the Very Important Person. But they didn't happen. Apparently, I can take getting run over by a bus (a metaphorical one, anyway). And apparently, all this went down, like, two weeks ago, and I had no idea.
  • Some kid bit Max at daycare, and it was handled in an... unsatisfactory way. To say the least. But I can't say the least. Now you get details. I picked Max up from daycare a little later than usual today, so one of his teachers (and most of the kids) had already gone home. The remaining teacher was changing the diapers of the remaining four kids. She changed Max, and I got his bag and took Max home. I briefly glanced in the bag to see if his daily information sheet was in there. There was a piece of paper in the bag, so I figured we were good to go. Later, almost an hour after we got home, I fished the paper out of Max's bag to see what he'd had for lunch. To my great surprise and anger, it was not his daily information sheet but an accident report. On this accident report, there was a check mark beside "Child was bitten today." Written in the description section, "While playing, he was bitten on the right arm. Ice was applied. Hugs & kisses were given." That's it. That's all the information I have. I think back. Yeah, I *did* notice a red mark on Max's wrist, but I didn't think much of it at the time. He is a very rashy child, and he currently has about 4 mosquito bites on various parts of his body (despite the liberal application of Off! insect repellent whenever he goes outside). I look at Max's wrist more closely. A perfect red bite mark. OMFG, WHY DID HIS TEACHER NOT THINK TO MAYBE MENTION THIS?!? And also, when we went to the reception desk/director's office to get Max's medicine, they couldn't have maybe said something? Who bit him? Was it Giant Baby? Because if so, that's the second time in two weeks that he's bitten another child hard enough to leave a mark. And Giant Baby has also been hitting, pushing, and sitting on kids like a maniac over the past month. What are they doing about that situation? If it wasn't Giant Baby, what happened to the biter? Time out? Did they talk to his parents? The toddler teachers talked to me when Max hit a little girl that one time (and he didn't even hurt her, and she sort of had it coming since Max was already upset, and she was all up in his grill, as they say). The toddler teachers also talked to me about the one other accident report-worthy incident Max has been involved in at daycare (he tripped over a toy and bumped his head on another toy, something that happens to him all the time at home, and for which I do not blame daycare). So why didn't the 1 1/2 year old teachers talk to me about this biting thing? Which is much worse than anything else that's happened to Max. I am completely livid over here. And I can't even rant about it to anyone who matters until Monday. I am Not Happy with the situation in this daycare class. I understand that 1.5 year olds will occasionally push or lightly slap each other in squabbles over toys. But the teachers have to be prepared to deal with that, and when one child is particularly aggressive and is repeatedly hurting other children, something needs to be done about that posthaste. I have reached the point at which they either do something about Giant Baby and his aggressiveness or I find a new daycare for Max.
  • Also, I ruined dinner. Or the bad ground beef ruined dinner. Either way, dinner was ruined.
Ok, so that's only three things, but they sucked, and now I am officially Done With Friday. Oh, and it's after 8 p.m., and Chad is still at work. That sucks, too.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Daycares as Babysitting Facilities: Is This a Bad Thing?

So the other day I was talking to another parent, and he was complaining that daycare centers are just big babysitting facilities and that they usually don't do enough educational activities. In his opinion, even our local Montessori school isn't school-y enough. Evidently, he doesn't think that coloring, music, and other structured activities offered in most daycare centers teach kids anything.

My reaction: so what? My kid is 19 months old. All he really needs is a babysitter. I don't think he would benefit from formal educational instruction. Babies and toddlers learn through playing. They don't need to be stuck in a formal classroom, a la that crazy preschool in Daddy Daycare. As long as Max's teachers spend a little one-on-one time with each kid, make an effort to name things for them to help them pick up new words, and mediate interactions between the kids, I'm happy. Well, and you know, as long the teachers change their diapers and feed them and stuff.

The daycare class that Max started last month introduced him to his first real structured, classroom-y activities (each lasting 15 minutes or less). Meaning that in the mornings they have "lessons" (i.e., the teachers do a little puppet show demonstrating basic morals like sharing, etc.or they sing songs), and in the afternoon they have art (i.e., they color pictures, using one color each day). They also have reading time before lunch, where the teachers read books to the kids. Call me crazy, but I don't think my 1 1/2 year old needs more formal instruction than that.

In the classes for older kids, they gradually add a few more structured, educational activities. For example, the 2 year olds (or maybe the 2 1/2 year olds) get to use glue! And you know, they talk about a new letter every week in addition to a color. Their art projects focus on a new letter each week. In the preschool classes (3 year olds and 4 year olds), they even go so far as to teach the kids what starts with those letters and what sounds the letters make! Actually, they might try to do that in the 2 an 2 1/2 year old classes, too. I'm sure that somewhere in there they do shapes and numbers, too. I've only been on this side of the building for a month (Max's previous three rooms were on the other side of the building).

Also, the 2 year olds start potty training. If that's not quality toddler education, I don't know what is.

The point: people expect a lot out of kids these days. But let's not forget they're kids, for crying out loud. Five years old is young enough for formal classroom schooling. So let's let toddlers be toddlers. And preschoolers be preschoolers.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Jerks and their Dogs, or Playground Etiquette Part 2

Took The Max to the park this morning. We did our usual walking/riding in the stroller thing (me walking, Max riding in the stroller, duh). But when we got to the playground part of our usual park routine, we were thwarted. By some jerks and their dogs. Not that I have anything against people who walk their dogs in the park. People walk their dogs in this park all the time, and we see some dogs every time we go there. But most of the dogs are on leashes. And the ones that aren't usually stay on the open grassy area with their owners, chasing balls and frisbees and whatnot. Their owners don't just let them run around willy nilly, terrorizing toddlers.

But not these dogs. These dogs (which looked like labs, one black and one yellow) were running around inside the fenced playground. There was an older couple with two children (3-4 years old, from the looks of them) who seemed to be the dogs' owners, since the woman went to catch the black dog when it left the playground. She was then followed by the man, leaving the children and the other dog completely unattended on the playground. Not cool, people.

Anyway, so the yellow dog kept badgering another woman who was there with a toddler around Max's age and a small baby. Her toddler kept trying to climb back into their stroller when the dog came around. One time he tried to climb up his mother's leg.

Not that the dog seemed mean or anything. It was actually very friendly. But toddlers and strange dogs are usually not a good combination. Max is totally fine around Krull, and he tolerates most large-breed dogs, as long as someone is holding him while they get to know each other. Small dogs terrify him. He doesn't want a small dog anywhere near him. Or a cat. Or any other small, furry critter.

Max had been happily climbing on the big wooden climbing thingy for the little kids, but when the dog came near him, he immediately wanted to be picked up. And the dog continued to follow us around. So Max didn't want to get down and play anymore. Because he didn't know that dog. Why was that dog pestering him? And why weren't its people doing anything about it? I actually walked around trying to find the dog's people, but I didn't see them and assumed they were still off chasing the black dog.

My point is, you have to be careful with small children and animals. So when you take your dog to the park, put it on a leash, and don't let it run around in an area full of kids under 3. Because while some little kids are fearless, others need time to get know new animals before they're comfortable around them. Playgrounds should be a safe space for kids to run around and play. And you know, there's a sign at the entrance forbidding dogs within the playground area. But some people are jerks.