Submitted by Danny Grubb
The girls had recently turned 2 and were in a new room at their daycare. This room was bigger with more kids and more staff. We had not interacted with these teachers before, but we absolutely adored the teachers in the last room once we got to know them. Realizing that this would surely be the case in the new room we decided to relax and see how the girls adjusted to the change. Two days into the transition something happened.
My wife and I were picking the girls up. When we got to the room the kids were having circle time. The girls LOVE circle time. The teacher and the kids sit down on the rug and the teacher reads, the toddlers all get to socialize and sing songs… its just fun. We didn't want to interrupt. One of the twins had her own book, pointing at the pages and talking to herself. She was in her own little world. The other twin was sitting on the rug and listening to the teacher. She was sitting a little too close.
After about a minute we watched our daughter stand up. We saw the teacher's hand (we couldn't see the rest of her because of a bookshelf) reach out and grab our daughter by the arm and sit her back down. It looked rough, but on the edge of reason. I will admit to having sat my children down on occasion when I was trying to get them to focus on a meal; obviously not that hard, but with purpose. Another minute passed and she stood up again. This time she was about half an arms length farther away than the first time. We watched as the teachers arm shot out again, grabbing her by the arm and yanking her closer… REALLY hard. We watched as our child's body seemed to streamline itself in the direction of the pull, her feet leaving the ground and her head snapping to one side. This is how you start a lawnmower, not handle a child!
We stormed into the room and confronted the teacher who was now holding our inconsolable daughter on her lap.
"That was a little rough, don't you think?!"
Looking shocked, the teacher replied with "Oh, she was… um… crying and I pulled her closer."
My wife said "No" and I responded "She was not crying" as I plucked my daughter from the hands of this lying bitch.
Deciding that I had wasted enough time with this person I told my wife to grab the coats… we were going to the office.
After explaining the scene to the director of the daycare center she assured us that she would deal with the situation immediately. When I checked back the next day she confirmed that the teacher was let go - about 5 minutes after the incident. I don't like to see anyone lose their job, but as far as I was concerned that was the only acceptable outcome. This person should not be around children.
When my daughter gets hurt, she can sometimes have night terrors. We wondered what we could do that would help her refocus and take her mind off of what had happened. There was only one answer: The bookstore.
Both of our twins love books, they love to be read to and they love to flip through books by themselves. When they are in the children's section of our local bookseller they squeal with joy! After half an hour we had bought them Olivia and Olivia Saves The Circus, read them about 10 different books and let them leaf through a few on their own. They both had a great time and the night terrors were averted.
Catching Our Breath
To be frank, my wife and I were pretty disheveled by the whole experience. We had a sleepless night that night and were worried if the daycare had taken the correct action (because we hadn't heard yet). Once we found out we were impressed by how quickly the situation was resolved.
I had to wonder if this was a behavior the teacher practiced regularly. How many other kids had she been rough with? Are there other teachers there with similar tendencies? It never ceases to amaze me what adults will do to children because they are tired, upset, or stressed.
Now that everything has settled down I am acutely aware that my children aren't within sight when I'm at work. They aren't even within half an hour of me. I can't just look to see if they are OK, not even at lunch. The safety of my children is in the hands of other adults at a place where they take care of children for a living. In order for our family to survive, both my wife and I have to work (In this country, that is the norm, not the exception). It is absolutely imperative that I trust the people who take care of my twins.
I choose to believe that the vast majority of child care providers are good people who want to provide a loving environment for kids whose parents have to work. As is the case with anything though, there are always a few bad actors. It is still our job as parents to know who is taking care of our children and it is up to everyone to make sure that our children remain safe.
Being there when the incident happened was good. Not knowing how many other incidents occurred before that is gut-wrenching. Being OK with going to work after something like this is something we're still working on.
I will not disclose the name or location of the daycare center or the identity of the teacher, so don't ask.