Friday, August 31, 2007

Day care story

Cantaloupe has been going to day care since she was 5 months. She has been a very accommodative child and has always enjoyed her day care stay. Infact some of her best pals are are from her day care she previously went to. Even though she gets to meet her old friends rarely, its amazing to see how they bond instantly.
But this April, I invited my parents to come over and spend some time with us. The idea was for Cantaloupe to bond with her grand parents. We extended the same invitation to BP's mother as well, but she wasn't very keen. My parents accepted the invitation after much deliberation ... afterall they could not resist the idea of spending time with their only grand daughter. Also, Cantaloupe was growing fast and we figured this was her only chance for a break from school ... she could be pampered lot by her grand parents.
So, May 2007, we stopped sending Cantaloupe to the day care. She made it so much easy on my parents by bonding with them instantly. (note: She had met them only once before ... and that for a very short span of 5 days). My parents booked their return tickets before they arrived and had informed us that they would go back in September. So we had booked the day care from September.
Cantaloupe started pre-school this week. We expected her to cling to us and throw all tantrums the first few days of her day care. Afterall she had got used to a different style ... but that was not to be. She made us proud by waving a cheerful goodbye on the first day. I cried in the car driving back home ... afterall it was the start of school for her and she would be in school for the next 20 something years on her life !! I will cherish that moment for the rest of my life... her cheerful face is stamped in my memory for ever.
The mother in me, could not wait till the end of day to pick her up. I ended up going to the pre-school quite early ... there she was ... again welcoming me with a warm hug and her best smile. The next 2 days was the same ...
But yesterday when I went to pick her up, she was being pulled to one of the corners and the teacher was saying something to her in a stern voice. Cantaloupe was sad ... her smile was missing ... her head bent ... and was ready to burst to tears. As soon as she saw me, she could no longer control her emotions and started crying profusely ... the sight of my baby crying so hard brought tears in me too, though I tried hard to control my emotions. The teacher came to me and started complaining about Cantaloupe.
She said, that Cantaloupe had not been paying attention to anything said in the class, had not helped in cleaning up the toys, had not slept well ... was very excited with other kids and had pushed them etc etc ... the teacher blabbered non stop for the next few mins. All the while, Cantaloupe kept crying. I looked at Cantaloupe and asked her to say Sorry which she did. I told the teacher I would talk to her about it.
The ride back home was very upsetting to say the least ... the teachers words were circling in my head and I didn't know what to do ... I think I was humiliated / upset / shocked all at the same time. I yelled at my baby for all the things that the teacher had pointed out :( All the while Cantaloupe kept quiet and requested to be fed something.
Its a routine for me to carry some snack when I go to pick up Cantaloupe. She is hungry and tired in the evening and is ready to eat anything that I have to offer. No fuss .. no mess time ... anything I give her she will gladly eat.
But yesterday on our drive back, I didn't give her anything to eat for quite sometime ... just kept repeating my moral lessons. Then I realised how hungry she could be and gave her the box of Mangoes and Watermelon I had carried. Cantaloupe greedily ate ...
By the time I reached home, I was more calm ... I looked into Cantaloupe's eye and this was our conversation:
Me: Why did you not sleep?
C: Because I couldn't
Me: (to myself): What would I do, if I couldn't sleep ... of course I would get up from my bed
Me: Why did not listen to the instruction the teacher told you
C: Because I already knew what she had said .. she kept saying the same things
Me:(to myself): Well ... she must learn some patience
Me: Why did you hug ABC?
C: Because she is my friend
Me: But you cannot hug her ... you have to talk to her from a distance. Did you push her?
C: She doesn't like me hugging? I didn't push her ... I was just trying to play with her !
Me:(to myself): Cantaloupe can be wild while expressing her affection ... she must learn to be gentle.

I explained to her that it was not OK to hug her friends and that she had to be patient and listen to the instructions her teacher had to give.
When I opened her lunch box, I found that he had not eaten anything ... my child was hungry and thats the reason she was perhaps restless. While the teacher noticed her restlessness, she had not noted that she was talking to a hungry child. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely some things that Cantaloupe has to learn like being more patient ... but then what would you expect from a hungry starving child?


Kodi's Mom said...

oh! I came here for hope :(
I think the teacher was unprofessional.
based on just what you've written, I find no fault with Cantaloupe at all. she was acting her age. sadly, the same cannot be said for the teacher. is there someone you can talk to about this? are there other teachers in the classroom?

and this is also my huge fear - that K wont eat and that will manifest itself in other ways and no one will know. aaaargh! why isnt this easier??? :(

Madhu said...

I heard the same from another mom whose 3 year old daughter started school too! And I shockingly asked her the same thing, why dont they see to it that they eat their food?
She told me that they have a policy to just tell the kids and not force them.
I am yet to start sending my baby to day care and I am already nervous about it!

mnamma said...

I am really surprised that the teacher did not even notice that Cantaloupe hadn't eaten at all. Is it their school's policy not to force the kids to eat. I felt sorry for Cantaloupe for what she went through and also for you. I hope things improve for you and Cantaloupe adjusts herself better to her preschool.

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@kodi's mom: Hungry child sure acts different ... BP talked to the teacher about it. Aparently they don't force the kid to eat :(
But the latest update is Cantaloupe was much better on friday ... and her lunch box was empty .., me thinks that did the trick.

@madhu: Yes, Cantaloupe's school has that "No force" policy when it comes to eating :( Though it is good in someways, the time till the child gets adjusted to the new routine, its going to be hard.

@mnamma: Thanks for the concern. Cantaloupe fared much better on friday. He finished her lunch and was more gentle towards other kids.
I guess she has to learn it the hard way :(

Moppet's Mom said...

Oh the poor thing! I can understand the no force policy, but I would expect the teacher to then understand why a child who hasn't eaten would probably be cranky and deal with her more appropriately. It's hard, it really is...

Poppins said...

Oh gosh. Cantaloupe's in regular school already. Now why does that come as a shock to me ? I still remember the day she was born !

Anyways, sigh I'm sure it will get better soon. Cantaloupe would have felt weird to eat in a strange place the first day. Now she'll be fine I guess. It's us mothers with bleeding hearts that we got to worry about I guess !

Collection Of Stars said...

This is sad :( I don't think it is Cantaloupe's fault at all. After all, she is a small kid. I thought teachers of small children undego some courses in child psychiatry right?
Also, why cannot she hug the other kids?

Cantaloupes.Amma (CA) said...

@moppet's mom: Well, I still don't get the "No force" policy... but atleast the teacher could have handled her better.

@poppins: They grow fast ... don't they. I am sure Cantaloupe will be just fine in a couple of days ... its the initial period which is tough on her and tougher on us :(

@KT's mom: I don't get that "No hug" thing at all ... I mean, if someone told a 3 year old, "Give your friend her space", what would that mean to her? I just don't get it.
And you what, I took Cantaloupe to the kid who was hugged and she said, "Cantaloupe is my friend, I like to play with her" ... wonder what the teacher complained about :(

rbdans said...

God, I just wrote a post on the exact same topic. You are scaring me now.
What is the teacher expecting from a 3 year old? And that too on her first day in a new environment? They need to treat a 3 year old like a 3 year old.
Hope its getting better and cantaloupe is feeling good about school.

Sumana said...

Hello CA,
I stepped onto your blog and have been liking many of your blogs. I think the teacher should be more calm and patient to instill the same in a kid. Why did cataloupe plan to stay hungry that day?


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