MetroPosted: December 17, 2013
The day that our social worker called us and told us that Mea would be coming home to us, I dropped by Mack’s old sitter Lois’ house to see if she would take Mea in her daycare once she was home.
At that time, Lois had quit taking babies. Two to three years old was the youngest she would take them.
She said she couldn’t promise anything but she would try it. She was concerned, she kind of didn’t think it would work with a “little” baby and the rest of her big kids. She said that if it didn’t work out she would let me know, and give me time to find someone else to watch her.
After the first week, they were two peas in a pod. Lois loved Mea, and Mea loved Lolo. It was an instant bond. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much time saved up to take when she came home, and my Aunt was sick, so I had lots of “being away for work” guilt, so Mea started with Lois the second week she was home.
Lolo and her husband have been like a second set of grandparents to both of my kids. First Mack, and now Mea, they are forever bonded to this couple.
On November 20, Lois pulled me aside and said that she needed the week of Thanksgiving off. She told me that her husband had cancer, but they didn’t know where or how bad yet. The week of Thanksgiving was when they were doing the majority of the testing. The evening before Thanksgiving, I had a call from one of the other mother’s to tell me that Lois was done. Her husband was pretty bad, and she couldn’t do daycare anymore starting immediately.
I was a little hurt that she didn’t call me herself. (This is a post for a different day. We have visited and called since and it is yet another heartbreaking story to go down for 2013.)
In addition to her being Mea’s babysitter, she is my friend. I have cried all over her and her husband so many times over the years it is ridiculous. I gave them a little space, knowing just how much they were going through at that time, I just left them be for a few days.
Then the search was on.
No one can replace a Lolo, but I was determined to try.
Mea was adamant from the beginning that she did not want to go to Metrokids, the school’s before and after care program. I didn’t know why at the time she didn’t want to go, but she was so upset whenever I even mentioned it, I was going to try hard to find somewhere else.
I called all the centers all around us, and none of them had an opening for Mea’s school. It is a big school. One of the largest elementary schools in our city. Not one of them had room on their bus for before and after, or after school only.
I posted a few things on Facebook, looking for opinions or suggestions of friends.
I looked online.
We found a website for state approved daycare providers within our area, and called a few that were close. I set up appointments to go over to these homes, and interview the babysitters.
At the first house, it was clean. The girl seemed nice enough, a little young, but nice. Then she told me that she forgot that her own child had early out from school that day. She goes to a private Catholic school, that only does early outs every now and then instead of every week like Mea’s school.
But, you guys, she FORGOT HER OWN CHILD!!!!
While we were there someone from her child’s school brought her daughter home and another daycare child!
As I am talking to her she tells me that she picks up from another school that gets out at the same time as Mea, but what she will do is pick up from the other school first, and Mea could cross the street with the crossing guard and wait on a street opposite from the school until she gets there. It should only take her ten minutes.
ONLY TEN MINUTES????!!! My kid is not standing in the cold, on a street corner, away from her school while she waits for you to get there.
The next house. This house was across the street from the school. It looked okay from the street.
It looked less okay up close and personal.
It was awful. Mea goes tearing off playing with the kids. The babysitter asks me if I want to see the rest of the house, I agreed only because I don’t know if I knew what to say. It was filthy. If you knew someone was going to be coming to your house, wouldn’t you run the vacuum? Wipe down the counters in your kitchen?
But then again, from the looks of things, this probably was “clean” to them. She asked me if I wanted to sit down in the living room and I declined because the couch was so filthy I was afraid to sit on it. There were no legs on the couch or love seat. There were visible stains on both couches, that were almost “crunchy” looking.
Of course, Mea saw nothing wrong with this place. At all. She was so mad when I said that she was absolutely not going to go to either of these places. After the last one, I quit calling any in-home daycare providers.
We basically had no choice. It had been two weeks, I needed someplace for her to go. I told her that she had to go to Metrokids at the school, and if she hated it, I would do my best to find somewhere else.
The night before the first day, we had read some of her latest chapter book and were snuggling in bed. She says in her whining tiny little voice that she does not want to go to Metro. I asked her what was bothering her so bad about it.
She said, “Metro is in the cafeteria, and during lunch we have to sit and be quiet and not talk, or they turn the lights out. I don’t want to sit in the dark from after school until you get there Momma.”
Oh, my heart.
“Mea, just because Metro is in the cafeteria doesn’t mean that it is just like when you are in the cafeteria for lunch. At Metro they play games, they play with some toys and do crafts. They play outside when it is nice enough outside, and it’s supposed to be fun.”
She was still terribly nervous. I promised her we would go early and I would stay with her for a little while so that she could meet some friends. The lady who met us at the door was a little gruff, but nice enough, the other ladies inside were sweet and talked to Mea about some things. She saw a friend playing “restaurant” with some other little girls, so I took her over to say hello. They immediately asked her if she wanted to be a “worker or a customer” and brought her into their game. I stood back for a little while and watched.
I walked over to her after a few minutes and asked if it was okay for me to leave. She nodded her head and kissed me goodbye.
When I picked her up after I got off from work, she asked me why I came to get her so early.