I started off this school year watching five children. Three of them were part time, two were everyday. I used to have a bigger group, but with Jayden, this was a good number to have.
The only thing that made me nervous was that there are only three families for those five kids. Two families had two kids coming here, which meant if something happened like a parent lost their job, I would lose two children instead of just one.
Also, the new family with two kids is related to the other family of two kids. The moms are sisters. The first family has been coming for 4 years so I didn't think it would be a problem, but it's a lot of my income tied to just one extended family.
I checked and double checked with the new family (with two children) that they were sure they needed a full year of care. I know from experience that I can get kids in late summer for the Fall, but it's next to impossible to get new kids in the middle of the school year.
She reassured me she is a planner and likes to look at things ahead of time. She even went over with me that in the winter things might slow down for a month or two....and we agreed on a great summer schedule that worked well with the other family.
Then in October, some very bad news came. One of the parents lost his job. I was devastated. Not just because of the money, but because they had been coming here for four years and I couldn't believe I wouldn't be seeing them all the time. (Also, I've been very worried about them and their situation.)
They kept sending the kids for as long as they could, but by early November they could no longer afford to send them. They still have their bus stops at my house in hopes that they can come again when their Dad starts working again.
It's been really hard financially. We've been struggling just to get by. Mostly because we were already financially hurting from the adoption. We've been waiting for the adoption tax credit so we can finally pay off our huge adoption loan (that we've been making payments on for three years.)
And then it happened.....
On Thursday the sister and brother got dropped off here. It's christmas break so it was supposed to be for all day. The girl says to me that she can't play with Jayden because of her eye. I immediately went on high alert that she was here with something contagious. I asked her what is wrong with her eye and she said she didn't know, but her Mom was calling the doctor and getting her medicine. I immediately thought of pink eye and got scared. I separated her from the rest of the group. I asked her if anything has come out of her eye and she said green stuff.
I called her mom (who didn't say a word to me when she dropped the kids off quickly) and asked her about it. She said she didn't know what it was. She thought maybe it was an allergic reaction because of something she was exposed to the day before. But, wouldn't that be in both eyes? And it certainly would not mean green stuff is coming out of it. Allergies would would be clear.
I explained to her that a friend recently had pink eye at her daycare and had to close and she got it and everything. It's not fair to put everyone here at risk. Adam would have to miss work if he got it. I'd have to close the daycare if I got it. Poor Jayden is just getting over an ear infection and is getting three new teeth. This is the last thing we need.
I've worked in daycare for 15 years. If a child is having a discharge from their eye, they need to see a doctor and can't return to daycare until they have a note saying they don't have pink eye. This is common across the country.
Her kids have never been to a daycare (they went to Grandma and Grandpa's house) before so maybe she didn't know. But, if you think about it, it makes sense. How I am supposed to take that risk?
I wasn't asking for a note. I just said if she didn't know for sure what is wrong with the eye that she take her to the doctor.
She hung up the phone on me after saying she is coming.
When she got here, she was visibly angry. She kept her back to me the whole time. I tried telling her the girl said to me she had green stuff coming out and she just cut me off and got the kids out.
Maybe this whole thing would have been different if she came in when she dropped them off and talked to me about it. I had to go by what the girl told me.
I have a responsibility to everyone else. I am sure if she was in my shoes, she wouldn't want to expose her family to something unknown and possibly highly contagious.
I mean, really, we had to spend our morning washing toys, gates, tables, etc....shouldn't we be mad she brought them and exposed us?
Then yesterday I got a call from her giving me two weeks notice that the kids are leaving. I tried saying that I think there was a miscommunication and I asked if we could talk about it. She said no. She said they decided this wasn't the right place for their children and they will no longer be coming.
Because I said your daughter couldn't be here with possible pink eye or other contagious thing? Really?
I spent so much of yesterday crying.
I called the other family to find out if our relationship was over too because of this. I talked to their dad and he made it clear that they love us and this will in no way change that. He said he has felt bad that them not coming has hurt us financially and they want to get the kids back here and soon as possible. (He is one of the nicest dads I have ever known and I am heartbroken for them that they are going through such a tough time.)
We had a family dinner last night because it's the last night we were all together for the holidays (my sister leaves today) and I was just so devastated. I was shaky all over from the adrenaline. I was feeling anger, panic, embarrassment, and sadness all at the same time. I cried the whole way home from the dinner.
I woke up feeling sick this morning. I have no idea what we're going to do. I put an ad on craigslist and posted something on Facebook, but it's not likely anything will come from that in the middle of the school year. How could they do this to us?
Oh, and how awkward will the next two weeks be with the kids still coming? She won't talk to me but I have to still watch the kids for two weeks? And when do I do at drop off and pick up time. Especially pick up time when I usually stand at the door talking to the dad for several minutes. What am I going to say? "Well, you screwed our lives up pretty bad. We can't pay our bills. How are you doing?"
There is nothing like ringing in a new year wondering how you will survive even the next month.