Saturday, February 24, 2007

Three O'Clock In The Morning

I am sane (at least most of the time). I know enough to go to bed early because you never know when those kids might get up. I know that come 6:30 this house will already be littered with toys and the day will be in full swing. I know this and still I have been awake since a little before three.

All I really wanted was to stumble my way to the bathroom and then slide back into my warm bed and sleep until one of the kids woke me up. Unfortunately, the bathroom led to a sip of water at the dining room table scattered with brochures and print outs from the Internet. I brushed by the table and managed to knock off a little of the mess and as I straightened the pages one word caught my eye- yochien.

That is the Japanese word for pre-schools or kindergartens. Usually for children from the ages of three to five, they are not compulsory but lots of parents send their children.

As you know, Bailey (and sometimes Sophie) attends a day care. They do lots of fun things like sing songs, read books, do crafts and put on little performances for the local nursing home. Day care is the place that we thought Bailey would be until he started elementary school. Turns out, we were wrong......

Last weekend, Hubs older sister said that she had something she wanted to talk about with us. I figured it was something about English since he husband works with a foreigner with limited Japanese ability. Turns out she had heard some bad things about the day care. What concerned her most was the fact that the kids are mostly left to there own devices and that adult supervision is kinda lacking. She is worried that it may not be the best environment for Bailey.

I know she is right.

Bailey, like lots of little boys, has lots and lots of energy. The only problem is, if left to his own devices he doesn't know what to do with that energy and becomes a little overzealous and acts out in ways that he shouldn't. It is the same case for other little boys in the class.

One little boy, in particular is a biter.

I do not know the whole story and I am not there to see how it all plays out, but Bailey gets bitten by this kid at least once a week. At least once a week. Bites that leave bruises and marks all over his little body. His left ear was black and blue for the first half of February.

Again, I don't know what leads up to the biting, but I do know that it makes Bailey stressed and scared to go to day care.

I have watched Bailey closely this week and I have realized that if the Biter is not in daycare that day, Bailey is so much more relaxed and easy going when I pick him up. He listens better and there are less temper tantrums.

I know that this kind of scenario could happen anywhere, but I have experienced first hand the lack of supervision at this particular day care. Once a week, I teach English there. The little ones (Sophie and another little boy) are usually put into high chairs, given no toys and just expected to sit there. They could be crying their heads off and the teachers wouldn't even stop to give them a toy or a reassuring word. Heart crushing.

And then, yesterday, when I came to pick the kids up Sophie was sitting by the gate howling and no teacher thought to pick her up or to try to help her.

I started this post as I way to sort out my feelings and it has become clear to me that it is time to move on. Time to find a better place for Bailey and Sophie. Time to find peace of mind and less stress for all of us. Time for change.


Midori said...

You know, being 100% comfortable with the place/ people that you allow to look after your children is SO important. Joey goes to a private daycare place and the teacher-child ratio is wonderful, the teachers never let the little ones cry and it feels like a second home for Joey. It is so reassuring for me to know that there is somewhere he will be safe and stimulated when he is not with me! I hope you find somewhere lovely for Bailey and Sophie to go!!

Mike said...

I'm with you. I'm a night owl. Each time, I remind myself to sleep early knowing that my 3-year old and 1-year would wake up around 7:00 a.m. But I sleep around 4 even 5 a.m. nonetheless.

"Daddy," my 3-year old would say in the morning. "Go drink coffee. You still look sleepy grumpy."


chelle said...

Totally sounds like you need to find a new place for the kids. The bite marks sounds heart breaking!

I used to be a night owl ... pregnancy has totally gotten me to bed earlier!

coarse gold girl said...

My elder daughter used to go to a day care two days a week when she was 2 years old. . . she cried to much every morning! I should have known because I just didn't have a "good" feeling about the place but I didn't follow my instincts, instead I used my logic to quite that inner voice. One morning however, after dropping her off I had to pop back in to grab my umbrella which I had forgotten by the door. The caregiver was holding my daughter, who was wailing and crying, and she turned on her and said in a very angry and mean voice, "moo yamatte. urusai!" When I realized that she was "angry" with my daughter I realized I had to find other arrangements. I mean, a 2 year old, who only comes twice a week? crying after saying good bye to Mommy but care giver already angry? DD went to another daycare which turned out to be brilliant. (The day care that I took her out of was affiliated with the daycare where a child was killed from being put in a cot with a larger child.) And later, when DD was 3 and a half as we were walking past the old day care place she turned to me and said, "I hate it! They made me stay in a baby bed!" Upon questioning her further it sounded like they had been leaving her in a baby crib--just to keep her out of the way/not have to deal with her. I should have known something wasn't right when on her second week there they sent her home wearing another child's cloths! An infants!
Good luck. You are doing the right thing. And everything will be so much better when you can relax knowing that Bailey and Sophie are getting the quality of care that they deserve!

Tigermama said...

Yikes! That is horrible that your child is being biten...ON A REGULAR BASIS! Like Midori said, it`s so important that you feel good about the place that is taking care of your child. It is possible to find a good quality provider (yochien or daycare) here in Japan. My kid`s yochien is fantastic and, because I teach English there I get to see what it`s like during "off" times. We have also dropped in unexpectedly on occasion and the care is consistently good. I really recomend you do that (drop in unexpectdedly) to see what it`s REALLY like.

Good luck with the hunt and please keep us posted!

Susie said...

That day care sounds like a place to avoid!
Human bites can be so painful and also can be dangerous!
Glad you're considering other options!