Thursday, January 5, 2012

Prison Rules


My cell phone rang at work today and the caller ID showed "Daycare". Uh. Oh. Since they don't call to tell you your kid is having a fantastic day, or she ate all her vegetables and solved a Rubix Cube, I tensed up but answered. This call is usually to tell me they couldn't get a hold of mom but your kid has fever or the plague so you need to come get her. Now. This leads to the fun Who's Having the Worse Day at Work and Can't Go Pick Her Up Game with the wife.

This was not that call.

Our daughter has been in this same daycare for almost a year and a half. She's gone through a series of different classes and teachers (I call them teachers. I don't know what else to call them) as she's developed. With, for the most part, no problems and she and her parents seem to be enjoying the arrangement. A few months ago, she made the big jump from the infant wing to toddlers. Or as we called it, The Big House. Nor more cribs, personalized feedings and immobile cell mates. No more Juvie, you're in with the big kids. We joked she was going to have to pick a fight with the biggest kid in the room on the first day to boost her cred. Or wear an extra layer of clothes for protection from homemade LEGO shanks.

The first week was rough. With the wife out of town, Dad got drop off duty and it sucked. She'd scream until snot bubbles blew from both barrels while clamping onto a leg like she was holding onto the edge of cliff. I'd peel her off of me while the other kids would form a circle around her. Just waiting for dad to leave. Fresh meat.

She made if three days before the first bite. It was vicious. The teacher handed me an "Incident Report" that required a signature.

"For what? "

"She got a little bite, it happens." So sign this so you can't sue us.

Little bite my ass. Looked like some punks engraved their initials in her arm with rusty buck teeth. This must be daycare's version of prison tats. I guessed it must have taken four, maybe five others to hold her down long enough to inflict this much damage. I fought the boiling urge to ask who in the hell did this and what car do their parents drive?

The weeks passed and with it some more reports. But she was also fighting back and doing some gnawing of her own. At pick up, they tell you she had 'attempts' or "She bit one friend today." Friend? Oh-kay.

Evidently her brutal induction into the rough rules of toddler daycare hardened her up. She started biting more "friends" and earned a rep as the "biter". We know because we here the whispers and see the sideways looks at pick up. Now, I'm the one getting the hell out of dodge before rival parents can ambush me in the parking lot. Do other kids bite we ask? Yes. Do they bite more than her? No. Well, there's that.

Today daycare felt compelled to call me and ask if anything is wrong at home. Huh? The dishwasher's been acting up but other than that no, why do you ask? Your daughter bit two more kids today and tried for a third. Is she biting at home? No, but I will check the dog for holes.

Sensing a very large shoe about to drop, I apologized profusely and asked what her loving, caring, uber-concerned parents could do to help. Nothing really, she said. We just wanted to let you know and we're going to work on a solution.

Solution? Interested to see what this turns out to be. Solitary? Loss of yard privileges? Garlic and a cross? A Hannibal Lecter mask? A stern lecture?

Have a feeling there will be more calls coming. Please call mom first.

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