I like the daycare my husband and I send our daughter to. We trust her teacher, Miss Jennifer, and Reese really seems to have warmed up to her new routine and classmates. The facility, for the most part, serves healthy food — I do occasionally grimace when I see tater tots or chicken nuggets listed on the lunch menu — and the children are allowed plenty of time outside.
Recently, though, I’ve become a little frustrated because daycare will not promote Reese to the next “class.” She turned 1 more than two months ago and is ready to move up, yet she’s stuck in the infant class. Even though she’s the oldest child in her group, according to her teacher, Reese likely won’t advance to the 1-year-old class until late August. Late August! She’ll practically be 1-1/2 by then!
My husband, who drops off and picks up Reese from daycare every day, broke this news to me. He apparently had questioned Reese’s teacher about the delay in her promotion. He knew I wouldn’t be happy about it as he prefaced his announcement with, “Don’t shoot the messenger, but ...”
I called the director of Reese’s daycare and expressed my concerns. She kindly explained to me that they don’t want the children in the 1-year-old room taking bottles. I thanked her and assured her we’d wean Reese from her bottle right away.
I informally polled my friends who have children and learned that the best way to go about weaning was to cut off the bottles cold turkey, so I did.
That night, on my way home from work, I stopped and bought several more of the straw sippy cups that Reese prefers. Right then and there, I started sending her milk to daycare in those sippy cups rather than bottles. She took it better than I thought she would. Problem solved, right? Look out 1-year-old class, here we come!
Not so fast. It turns out that daycare’s policy involves “graduating” children in pairs. So Reese can’t move up to the next class until another child in the infant class is ready. Reese’s teacher thinks one little boy will be ready by the end of August because he just took his first steps last week.
Hold up. I don’t appreciate daycare delaying my daughter’s intellectual development because she has to wait for another child to catch up with her. We were told to cut off the bottles. We did that. Reese needs to move up now.
The daycare follows a specific curriculum, and it may seem bizarre that I’m worried about my toddler’s academic prowess, but I want to make sure Reese is being challenged and encouraged to learn new words, hone her motor skills and explore the world around her. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.
I have a good mind to again call the daycare center director and press her to bend the rules and allow Reese to advance. However, my husband has begged me not to make a big fuss about it. So far, I’m humoring him. I can’t promise that I’ll stay mum, though. When it comes to matters concerning my daughter, I tend to be vocal and passionate. I certainly don’t want daycare to label us as “the problem family.” I always swore I wouldn’t be one of those parents. I think it might be too late for me, though.