|Nursery’s like a box of crayons,
there’s always a black sheep…
Our local council decided to send out as a gift on womens’ day the letter telling parents whether or not they have secured a daycare place for their child. Of course it’s sent 2nd class, so nothing has been received yet. But here’s to hoping that our daughter will be somewhere else next year.
Yesterday morning, she peeled the ham off her sandwich and ate it first, then dithered so long that when it was time to leave, she’d eaten a maxumum of two bites of actual bread.
When I lifted her from her chair so she could put her coat on, she started frantically gathering all the bits of bread with both hands, having decided that she might still want them at «some later stage». So I found a Tupperware tub, put them in with half a banana, and gave that to her. She was very pleased and proud, as she loves carrying stuff (not unlike some dogs I’ve had…).
We arrive at nursery just in time for breakfast there. The other kids are already seated, including «Damien» (as I call him in my head), who is a total pain in the arse. I’ve never seen him in a positive interaction with another child. The first time we met, he pointed a stick at me and shouted «You must DIE!!» repeatedly. He clearly has no idea how to get attention in a socially acceptable manner.
Usually at mealtimes, he’s placed in a corner alongside a very quiet girl who’s forced to put up with his antics. However, she’s been on holiday with her parents for ages, so he’s presumably been getting lonely. Therefore, he’s been put at my daughter’s table for breakfast.
When I come in to place her in her chair, lunch box proudly in hand, he immediately points at the box and shouts, «disgusting, disgusting, eurgh, eurgh, porridge, won’t eat it, disgusting». My daughter sometimes brings porridge along for breakfast, and he’s clearly noticed this. He looks straight at her, and my interpretation of this is that he’s actually looking for a reaction in her, and not voicing a genuine sentiment about porridge.
My daughter shirks back from this verbal attack, looks sad and pushes the lunch box demonstratively across the table away from herself. When I offer it to her, she shakes her head and pouts.
And the nursery assistant? She attempts to coax my daughter into eating. Unsuccessfully.
I’m a psychologist, and I know that unwanted behaviour is best ignored if you want it to go away.
However, I don’t think is the reason they don’t correct «Damien». I think they focus on my daughter as she is easier to sway.
I complained twice that she’s seated next to another boy, who points at her shouting «no no no» whenever she arrives in the morning. I’ve noticed that when I pick her up at mealtimes, she can’t wait to get out of there, and barely has time for a hug before she starts tugging my hand and pointing to her coat to get it down from its hook.
I asked if she did something to this boy, if that’s why he shouts at her, but the nursery teacher explained to me that he’s just «a bit of a handful» and that they put my daugher there because «she calms him down».
Now, I know every nursery has one or two of these kids. And they have to sit somewhere. But:
Excuse me! My two year old is not in nursery to calm people down! Sure, she needs to develop her social skills to be able to interact with people of all creeds and colours, but this does not involve having her lunchbox joy crushed at 0805 on a midweek morning! And how can you not even remind this kid kindly that he’s hurt someone’s feelings, which is not very nice?! Distracting the victim is hardly sufficient handling of the situation.
I’ve never worked in a nursery, but I’ve worked in schools with children aged 6-18, and I know what sort of pressure you can be under in a classroom, that you’ll do anything just to keep the peace.
And maybe this is just my conscience speaking, that I’m externalising my own guilt for sending my kid to nursery instead of being at home with her all day, something which would coincidentally in all likelihood lead to maternal depression and child neglect.
Still, nursery people, don’t you eyeball me for being the difficult parent, every time I ask if my daughter may be reseated elsewhere so she can lunch in peace. My daughter’s job is not to discipline the kids you can’t handle.