Friday, November 2, 2007

Haunted Halloween (2)

While it wasn't the sweeping or terrifying sort of change that came with Halloweens past, there was a memorable event this Halloween I neglected to mention in the last post. This year Halloween was the last day we employed Sharon as our family babysitter.

Four years is a long time to stay with one childcare provider. Early childhood is a state of constant flux for both parents and kids. People move, schedules change, kids get older and move on to preschool. Through all this time Sharon has been a fixture in our days. She was kind and patient to our kids. Three out of four years DH and I were incredibly happy with Sharon's services.

No more. In the last ten months things deteriorated to the point where I am sad and bewildered at how things ended up the way they did. It was never about the kids and their treatment, but about the adult aspects of the daycare relationship: money and time. And at the end, respect, too.

Yes, I cut back on my work schedule, and that impacted Sharon's income. But she is not a nanny who worked for us exclusively. She has as many as five client families at a time, depending on whether the kids in question go to her home part time or full time. So I don't understand the animosity of the past few months after I started a part-time schedule. Sharon now seems to have a sense of entitlement that I find obnoxious. She is angry that I didn't want to pay a 20 percent rate hike for services when she simultaneously cut back her available hours by 20 percent. But what rational person thinks they can get paid so much more for working so much less? (Especially when they devolve into petty nastiness during the discussion about all of it.)

When I gave Sharon two weeks notice a few days after our blowup, she accepted the news without any questions. I guess there really wasn't anything else to say. We fell into an ignore-the-angry-elephant-in-the-room type scenario for the last few weeks. But that last time I picked up Little A from Sharon's house, I sort of wished we could part with a few kind words. I admit I could have made the effort, but chose not to. She did the same. And so I walked away from her house with baby and diaper bag in hand, feeling a peculiar mixture of feelings. I hate having big arguments, but somehow that one day has seemed like the most truthful exchange between the two of us in some time.

It's a new month now, and the beginning of a new daycare situation for Little A. The new babysitter, Susanne, is a retired teacher with a house full of toys and and a rambling, gorgeous yard. I like the idea of Little A being outside playing in the fresh air. And it's nice that the relationship with Susanne is a clean slate. No muddy boundaries or simmering resentments. When I dropped Little A off this morning, I left with a sense of relief that hasn't been part of my daycare routine for a long time.

I know the change we made was the right one. I am sad I stuck it out with Sharon for so long. It would have been better for everyone involved if we had left sooner.

But that in itself makes me sad, too.

(Note that I can't get bleeping Blogger to link back to my older posts on Sharon for some reason. Anyone got any pointers on that? But I wrote about our blowup last month in several "daycare debacle" posts, in case anyone is curious ...)

1 comment:

meg said...

I'm not sure about linking back to older posts, but I bet Niobe knows!

I'm glad the new daycare is in place. You sound much happier than that post you wrote about Sharon before. It is disappointing when people end up not being the person you thought they were. But I'm glad that you've found Susanne now.