Tuesday, December 6, 2011

It's hard to say what is best when dealing with other children

Yesterday I requested that Rory and another little boy in the daycare be permanently separated and the daycare has granted my wish. Today Rory is in the "other" toddler room and I have had this great sense of relief since drop off, but it hasn't come without a lot of doubt.

The decision to make the request has been coming for a couple of weeks and truthfully we have been torn about it.  The short version of the story is there are two children in Rory's daycare with behavioural issues.  One of the children has a severe biting issue. He bites multiple children a day (which Rory now has been on the receiving end 5 separate times), unless he is shadowed by one of the education assistants all day long.  If they take their eyes off him, he bites. The other is a child who is also violent but more in a hitting, punching, and throwing type way. He is hyper active, and quite frankly in my opinion anyway, out of control.

Two weeks ago I had a meeting with the daycare about the concerns I had over what was happening in Rory's room.  There was another biting "incident" report for me to sign at pick up time and while in the room discussing the bite, the other boy (the non-biter), started throwing chairs across the room. Those were followed by buckets of toys and a high pitched yell. It was total chaos in there. Chalk it up to pregnancy hormones but I started to cry. I started to cry hard, right there on the spot. Thank God Peter was with me.  I just couldn't deal with it, you know? Is this seriously where I was leaving my child all day?  Is this really what one of Toronto's best day cares looks like at 5pm?

So Peter left with Rory and I calmed myself down. I then went to the office to express my concerns about a situation that I felt had escalated to an unacceptable level of care for my child.   We discussed at length my concerns, the things they were already doing to help the two "situations" that they too were aware of, and what else they could do to alleviate some of my specific concerns about Rory's safety and development.  And they also made aware of some more private details of one of the children's background that could be contributing to his outbursts and violent behaviour.  And, at that point I was asked if I wanted Rory to be moved into a different room? And I said no. I said no for a number of reasons... I didn't want more change for Rory, I wanted them to work on the issues in the room to benefit ALL of the children in there, and I also didn't want to pull my child out of the first situation where a "different" child was making me uncomfortable. I want Rory to learn that not everyone is like him. That's important.

Peter and I talked about the meeting for a long time that night and also some of the details that were shared about the child (the non-biter, but extremely violent one).  It definitely pulled on our heart strings and we wondered what we would do if it was our child? Before I go further, the child is not developmentally delayed, or autistic. These are behavioural problems probably created by his infant environment and stimulus.

So, Rory stayed in the room.  Things didn't get better over night. Or the next day, or the day after that. And I am not entirely sure if they are better today either. But what I do know is that there is now an extra education assistant in the Toddler  2 room, and that makes me feel more comfortable about the safety of all of the children in there. 

So fast forward to Monday morning.  Yesterday.  It was our first evening/morning alone and things we're going great. We arrived at the daycare and Rory was excited to be there with big waves and hellos for everyone. I had just finished putting Rory's shoes on, and he walked over to a table where there were four toys sitting out.  What I witnessed was shocking. As Rory began to play with a toy, the little boy (the non-biter violent one) stood up from the chair he was sitting in, and hit Rory in the face. He wound up to do it.   Rory isn't a cry baby. He has to be pretty hurt to really wail, and he wailed. He cried so hard that he eventually made himself puke all over himself and all over me.  He puked so much that I actually thought he was sick. He wasn't sick, he was scared and shocked and hurt. Shit, if you arrived to work and someone punched you in the face you would probably cry until you puked too.

That was it for me. I am done. I have removed the guilt of knowing anything about this other child's background, took my child home for the day, and then formally requested in writing that Rory be permanently be separated from him.  They will be in separate rooms from now on.  It isn't this other child's fault. I know that. But he needs more than a stern voice from a daycare assistant to help his behaviour at this point, and maybe the silver lining will be that my request will be some sort of positive catalyst. Hopefully they will speak with this child's parents about getting him some professional help that he desperately needs.

Every parent needs to draw a line between development opportunities and your own child's well-being and safety.  I am at peace with my decision. 

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