Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Super Flake

Here's something not so fun that happened to me last week, the first official week of school.

Back story: Last year, Genevieve was at the Montessori school that my two middle children attended when they were pre-school aged. The school had just opened a Nido program (Montessori for baby room), our previous babysitting arrangement ran out, and we were excited to have her at this cheerful, colorful, less-institutional version of daycare. Only the school doesn't see itself as any kind of daycare. It sees itself as a school. At first I just wanted them to stop doing that. I didn't want to go to meetings and do parent hours or have a semester conference about my two year old's "education." But ultimately I decided that if that was their vision and it didn't work for me, I should probably make other arrangements for my child or just stop griping about it. It didn't help that the two teachers in the baby room seemed to hate BD and me, even though they were never anything but loving toward Genevieve. And then as the year ended, they both bolted, leaving the always-friendly directress high and dry. She called me personally to apologize for things she was just fully realizing had gone on between those two and the parents. It seems we weren't the only ones they'd deemed unworthy of the Montessori "lifestyle." It meant a lot to me that she called, and I'd always been happy with the actual care Genevieve received at the school. So now I was in a quandry: send her back to where I knew she'd be happy, or find a daycare or sitter who was okay with the concept that they existed for my convenience and not the other way around.

I put Genevieve on the waiting list for a nearby daycare of excellent repute, but that didn't pan out. SAM had Mr. Baby on the same list, and we both hoped to have the kids at the same place so that I could help her with pick ups some days. I resigned myself to going back to Montessori, and then I looked at the registration materials. Both tuition and parent hours had increased. In the baby room, the increase was so large that SAM felt it ruled out that option for her all together. Their calendar was not in line with the public schools', meaning they would be closed the last week of August before their official start date after Labor Day. Suddenly, it just felt like too much. We already struggled to afford what we paid last year, and the parent hours were a major thorn in my side. Having her out for that week would mean BD staying away from his business to keep her until I made it home each day at 3:30. Desperately, I posted pleas on a couple of local moms' boards for any SAHMs interested in keeping both kids. And I got a bite!

A woman who lives right around the corner from me, whose friends were my friends on the boards, and who had been to my house for a play date, was interested. Her four-year-old son would be going to preschool three days a week, leaving her home with just her three-year-old daughter. She asked for a very reasonable rate, she was close by--it seemed perfect. I left word at the Montessori school that Genevieve would not be coming after all. Monday and Tuesday, things went well. Mr. Baby hadn't started yet because his father was still on summer break from his job. Genevieve was understandably upset at being left, but then she settled down and played and was fine. Then out of nowhere, mid-morning Wednesday I got a text from the sitter saying "This isn't working out. You need to find other child care." Wha?? I asked what was going on and she sent back that G just didn't seem to be happy there and it was affecting her own kids. Thinking she was just a little overwhelmed, I dashed off an email saying that I understood that the adjustment for both G and her kids was maybe harder than she had anticipated (thinking to myself what the hell did she expect by day three??), and reassuring her that in a week or two, she'd be fine and everyone would be used to the new routine. I asked if there was anything I could do to make things easier, if she needed more money, if she wanted a key to my house so they could play there some and help ease the transition. She replied simply that she had made her decision and as of that afternoon, she was done.

What kind of person does that to someone? Nothing had even happened! Were her expectations so utterly unrealistic that she had no idea any adjustments, on anyone's part, would be necessary? Was she that much of a wus that she couldn't at least finish out the week while I made other arrangements? When did people stop feeling like they needed to honor their commitments, or at the very least, wriggle out of them in a fairly honorable way? Do people no longer believe that they should be held accountable anymore? If something is the slightest bit difficult or unpleasant, it's now okay to just walk away, even when that means other people are left holding the bag?

Don't get me wrong, if she doesn't want to watch over my precious baby, I certainly don't want her to. And I'm glad I found out now rather than later that she's a dysfunctional, irresponsible freakshow of a person. Clearly something is wrong there. I guess some people just aren't capable, in the general sense of the word.

I scrambled and begged and got Genevieve back in Montessori school the very next day. They welcomed us back with open arms, even offering to work with us on tuition, and my gratitude for that goes a long way toward mitigating the minor irritations. Genevieve is doing great there and seems perfectly happy to be back in the familiar setting. So there was a happy ending for her, at least. SAM is still scrambling for childcare.

I hate flaky people.


Rita said...

Oh, how that sucks! I cannot believe that woman did that to you! What a bitch!

I'm glad the Montessori school took her back easy enough and that they're working with you on the tuition. Maybe this year will be better than last year, since the other women left. God, what a shitty situation all around.

Memphisotan said...

I'm going to send that woman a video of Mr. Baby's face as he was being dropped off with total strangers in a completely unknown place this morning. She's going to need to take in a whole messload of kids to pay for our therapy bills.

Mrs. Katherine said...

The only good thing about flaky people is that you get to use this saying: "She's as flaky as a biscuit!"

My entire daycare flaked out and closed. I didn't panic until I realized that there was not another place on the planet good enough for the little lady!

Anonymous said...

Shit, you guys. It's times like these I wish I actually lived in Memphis. Sorry this happened to you both. So sucky all around.