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Maybe You Need Better Flashcards

February 18, 2010

Before I get started on this post, I’d like to clarify something. I fear that I may have left you lovely folks with the impression that I don’t like Piper’s caregivers, or that they’re stupid or that they don’t listen to me.

None of those things are true. I do like all of her teachers and they truly care for my child, I believe that. Piper bonded to them and is excited to see them and play with them when I drop her off in the mornings. She is safe, and cared for and even loved in that place and I am grateful for the attention that she gets and the fun that she has. All of her teachers tell me that she is a happy baby and have an obvious affection for her. They do listen to me and frankly some of my requests specifically surrounding how they feed her during the day are a pain in their asses and they have never pushed back even a little. I am very grateful.

I DO want to know when she displays a behavior that is concerning, or when they notice ANYTHING that’s out of the ordinary. Why would I not want to know that?

However. This is daycare. And while we gladly shell out what is considered to be big money in our area for the “good daycare”, these are not individuals with advanced degrees in early childhood development. These are daycare ladies. One in every room is a “Credentialed Staff Member” but this is frankly less important to me than the fact that they are all CPR certified, or that the joint come with a sweet webcam so I can watch my kid steal pieces of non-organic hotdog off of other kid’s plates and drag her cot around the room with her while refusing to nap. It’s also 7 minutes from the house.

So I didn’t put the whole “She Falls Down A Lot” thing out there because I was fishing for reactions indicating that they don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m pretty clear that a lot of the time, they don’t know a huge amount about what they’re talking about.

Like when they asked if we were working with our 13 month old on flashcards and sitting still for story time because they were having trouble getting her to pay attention? I’m pretty sure they could tell from the expression on my face that I thought they had no freaking idea what they were talking about.

I come home and tell Topher about this ridiculous conversation that I just had with the lead teacher. His reaction?

“Obviously their flashcards are boring. They should probably get some better flashcards.”

And the next morning, that’s exactly what I told them. They laughed. I laughed. Then I explained that no, really, we meant that we couldn’t give a crap about whether or not she was paying attention to their flashcards and that we had absolutely no desire to spend our limited time with her in the evenings “working” with her on something STUPID like that.

They laughed again. Because they get it. They get that it’s lame. But the fancy daycare has “curriculum” for 13 month olds, and they pretty much have to do what it says that they do on the fancy brochure.

I won’t say that this incident was the first time I started thinking about alternative care arrangements for my child, or my growing dissatisfaction with the one size fits all approach to care that our center epitomizes. But it was the same week I started emailing local Montessori Schools about their preschool programs and daydreaming about “stealing” the late afternoon teacher in Piper’s room to be my cheap part time nanny.

If only we didn’t need full time care…

10 Comments leave one →
  1. emily bilbrey permalink
    February 19, 2010 3:01 am

    flash cards for a 13-month old? you’ve got to be fucking kidding me! gah. have you looked into at least part-time nanny pricing? i have a friend (who may very well be lying/don’t hold me to this) that claims her in-home nanny is only $100 more per month than full-time day care… but i’m totally prepared for the fact that i’m full of shit because HI i’m a sahm and i have NO PERSPECTIVE on this matter!

    no matter what, best of luck to ye on whatever step comes next! kisses and fingers crossed that no one implies piper is retarded ’cause she hasn’t mastered long division yet…


    • February 19, 2010 12:41 pm

      Em, I have no idea what the quality nanny vs quality daycare cost differential is in your area, because I don’t live there, so it certainly could be that slight. I know what it is in my market though, and it isn’t anything like $100 a month.

      There are also additional costs associated with in home care that are likely not included in that calculation, which are not inconsequential. In addition, regardless of cost, with my current career, full time in home care is not a good fit for us.

      Thanks for the comment!

    • February 19, 2010 12:55 pm

      Wow, do you love how I took the time to reply to your comment but didn’t actually answer your question? I do.

      Re: looking into a part time nanny, We both work full time so… looking into a part time nanny is not something I’ve done because I would still need someone to watch her the rest of the time we’re working.

  2. February 19, 2010 12:36 pm

    When I think about flashcards, I think about multiplication tables and then I get all itchy cause I hate math. And, the comment about “getting better flashcards” sounds exactly like something my husband would say! What, exactly are they trying to teach one-year-old with flashcards?

    • February 19, 2010 12:44 pm

      Apparently there are THREE SETS of flash cards. There’s one for colors, one for numbers, and one for shapes. When they told me they were doing the flashcards I was kind of hoping they were doing cool ones, like from Baby Boom.? “Shrimp Sushi, Great Gray Owl, BMW!”

      Maybe she’d pay closer attention to those?

      Or maybe she’d just try to eat them.


      • January 3, 2015 5:28 am

        If you wrote an article about life we’d all reach enhenltigment.

  3. Liz permalink
    February 20, 2010 8:12 pm

    Just a note from one of your childless friends πŸ™‚ but just wanted to say that I went to Montessori as a kid and LOVED it. Absolutely loved it. It’s because they let me do what I want so when I wanted to learn to read cause that’s what the big kids were doing, they totally taught me how.

    My older brother on the other hand did not dig the Montessori thing. He needed a little more structure. Having so many options was apparently a little overwhelming for him.

    But if Piper’s as independent minded as she seems she may do like her aunt Liz and totally thrive at a Montessori. Just my two cents πŸ™‚

  4. February 22, 2010 2:08 pm

    Are we supposed to be showing them flashcards at that age? I have no clue apparently! I agree that their flashcards are totally boring!!!

  5. heirtoblair permalink
    February 23, 2010 7:46 pm

    I didn’t use flash cards until high school.

    and with one fatal sentence, we realized what the fuck my problem is.

  6. silenceandnoise permalink
    March 10, 2010 9:03 pm

    Wow, flashcards sounds pretty intense for a 13 month old. “Sorry, your baby failed flashcard class and needs to get a flashcard tutor after daycare.” Crazy! I think even I would find it difficult to pay attention to stupid flashcards, and I’m 27.
    We’ve also considered Montessori for our son, but as your friend Liz says, it is not for everyone so who nows if it will work for us.

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