...when they thought you weren't there? Would your first thought be to immediately beat the shit out of them...or would you try to stay rational? It's a tough call...it's one I had to make today.
Let's just say, it's been a rough day. Unfortunately we stayed up later last night (watching Lost), so Shayla went to bed later too. She, of course, was sleepy and a little grumpy this morning as I was getting her ready for daycare. She hates to get dressed every morning, but this morning there were some tears. She was fine by the time we left the house and when we pulled into the daycare driveway, she was sleepy of course, but still fine. Yesterday we had seen a little baby bunny and we were talking about it in the car again this morning. I got her out of the car and carried her into the building...I put her down next to me as the daycare worker walked over to get her. This daycare worker is someone that is and has been a "friend" of the family for years...someone who has always seemed to have a pleasant disposition. As I put Shayla down, she made a polite comment about Shayla's outfit. Then Shayla started whining and saying she didn't like it and wanted to wear something else. Obviously, it was way too late, as we were already at daycare. Then Shay hugged my legs and the daycare worker pulled her away from me...with Shayla tugging at my clothes the whole way calling "momma" "momma". Her calling out for me and being pulled away really bothered me. This was way different than the way we usually go in. Usually she just walks away with the daycare worker as I sign her in and most days refuses to blow me kisses or say "goodbye"...she's always quite happy to go and likes it and the people there. Because she was pulled away from me, she started crying harder, so as I said my goodbyes, I walked out to the car...then decided to sit there for just a couple of minutes to make sure she stopped crying...as she was crying very hard. In the past, the very few times that she has cried when I've left, I've always been told that she always stops soon after I leave, so I thought I'd see for myself if she did today. As I sat there, I watched my baby cry hard. Her back and shoulders heaving from the deep sobs. She and another little girl (who will be 2 this month) were the only 2 kids there besides the daycare worker...and both were sitting in highchairs as they do every morning watching TV and waiting for breakfast (that's still an hour and a half away). I've always thought this was weird, but was told from my co-worker/friend/moms at work, that this is pretty normal in a daycare setting. Anyway, I saw the daycare worker writing on a piece of paper at a little table and I watched Shayla rub her eyes (from all the tears). Then the daycare worker walked over to Shayla and jerked her hand away from her eyes (very roughly) and grabbed a tissue and wiped her nose really hard. I could see the frustration in the daycare worker's body language. I was shocked at the quickness in which she jerked my child's arm down...and shocked that SHE would do that. I wanted to rush in there and grab Shayla and take her home, where I knew she was safe. I tried to rationalize and think reasonably about what to do. What would I do if she wasn't in daycare...I have to work. I have to have a job and there's no one individual that I know who can take care of her while we're at work. The daycare worker didn't hit her, but she was extremely rough. I grabbed my cell phone while still sitting outside. I called the daycare worker...I said (calmly) "It's Lisa, do I need to come and get Shayla?" She said "no, she's still crying, but she's fine, I keep wiping her eyes". I knew this was a lie because she hadn't wiped Shayla's eyes...she almost rubbed her nose off, but she never wiped her eyes. I said, "I'm outside and have been watching". She said, "that's probably why she's still crying, because she sees you". I said, "she doesn't see me....none of you have seen me sitting here watching". At that point, she looked my way (she couldn't see me outside due to it being dark and it being well lit inside the building) and then she walked over to Shayla, grabbed a tissue and wiped Shayla's eyes gently. She knew I saw her...saw what she did. She then repeated that Shayla was saying she was sleepy...I heard Shayla and watched her say that too. She then pulled the whole comforting act out. I had to leave to go to work, but felt better that I had let her know I saw her. I then called my sister as I cried the whole time (thinking that she was being mistreated and I just left her there). I asked my sister to make a surprise visit at the daycare to check on Shayla and she called me within a half hour and said that Shayla was fine, that she was talking to the little kid next to her. While I was driving into work, the daycare worker called me on my cellphone. They NEVER call me...have only called 2 times when they were closing due to bad weather. This felt like her admission of guilt to me. She said, "Shayla's not crying anymore, she's talking to the other kids". I said her name, then said, "can I be honest with you?" I said, "It hurt to see my baby sitting there crying so hard and not being comforted...as a mother, that really hurt...and to be truthful, the only reason Shayla is in that daycare is because of you. I always thought she would be safe with you". Her first and only response was that she didn't comfort Shayla because if she talked to her, then Shay cries harder. She never admitted she did anything wrong. She did...I saw it. I don't need for her to validate what I know happened. The fact that she lied about wiping her eyes makes me wonder what else she's lied about. Mark and I talked at great lengths about this...and talked to the daycare owner, who was as surprised as I was by the daycare worker's behavior. I don't want to disrupt Shayla's life, but I want her to be safe there and not have to worry that someone is being mean to her. Hopefully the owner will do as she said and take care of it. If not, we'll look for another place for her.