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More Pesach (tired of it yet?) (Day Care Saga) - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
More Pesach (tired of it yet?) (Day Care Saga)
The Daycare Saga
So I have alluded to it enough that I know you are all just on the very edges of your seats wondering how day care could be so worthy of an entire section of the Pesach Saga Extraordinaire! Well, it probably isn't worthy of an entire section, but it irked me enough that it will receive an entire section. It's my journal, so there!

First, some background: I should note that while Julian's reservation didn't cost nearly as much as each of the two adult reservations, it was quite pricey. Presumably (since he really didn't eat much and certainly didn't take up much space) a large chunk of this extraordinary cost was because there is a presumption that he will be using the daycare services. This is a completely reasonable assumption to make, and I happily paid the cost, because daycare is priceless. And everyone raved and raved and raved about how terrific the day care at this place is and how terrific the person who runs the day camp (Tammy) is. And how amazing a time I would have knowing that Julian was getting such incredible care.

Well, on the first day of Pesach, Seth and I were completely and utterly exhausted. Understandable since we were still sleep deprived and the seder had gone long for Seth (though I retired early, I was not feeling very well still). So we were so thrilled when Julian bounced out of bed at 6:30 to know that in a mere 2 1/2 hours we could safely turn Julian over to slightly-less-sleep-deprived people. Seth, being the mentsch that he is, took care of getting Julian dressed and I pulled together a diaper bag for Julian, and Seth took Julian down to breakfast and then to the day care area. Turns out, Tammy wasn't there this year. She went to the larger of the two locations that the company was running, which is great for them, sucky for us. Seth dropped Julian off with a nice Israeli man who appeared to be in charge of things. When Seth handed him the diaper bag, he said, "Oh we don't change diapers, you'll just have to check back later to see if he needs a diaper." Fortunately, Julian's diaper had JUST been changed, and he would probably be fine until lunchtime.

Seth went to shul to daven, I rolled out of bed eventually, thought about going to shul and changed my mind. Instead I davened on my balcony overlooking the ocean. Heaven. My child is happy and well-cared for, my husband is in shul probably sleeping, I had a nice ocean breeze. Life is good. Seth kindly picked Julian up at 11:30 (after shul and in time for the rather large kiddush). When picking Julian up, he discovered two things: first, the day care situation was going to be worse than we thought; and second, kids' lunch was being cancelled because of the big kiddush. I get that there was lots of food at the kiddush, but not really any kid-friendly food. Fortunately, it was yom tov, not shabbos, so they did have an omelet station. Julian LIVED on cheese omelets through most of Pesach. As for the day care, when Seth picked Julian up at 11:30, they said to him, "Julian doesn't listen very well." Seth blinked and said, "well, he's TWO." Seems like enough of an explanation to me, but apparently not to them: "We have two year olds who listen." Nothing good could possibly come out of responding to that, so Seth brushed it off.

We did not send Julian for the afternoon session of day care because he needed a nap and so did Seth, so they napped together while I wandered around the hotel and grounds exploring a bit. In fact, it would turn out that we never sent Julian for the afternoon sessions. They had him for 2 1/2 hours a day, basically.

I could have lived with the slightly bad taste in my mouth from the experience of the first day of day care, but on the second day of day care, I went down to check Julian's diaper and he wasn't there. Apparently they had taken him upstairs looking for me. Eventually I bumped into someone who told me Julian was with Eleanor and that they were looking for me. Only, it's a really big hotel and finding someone in it isn't easy, so I put myself in a central location and waited until I could find them. Eventually they appeared, I changed Julian's diaper and it was close enough to lunchtime that I didn't send Julian back for the rest of the day.

Every day, Julian seemed to be sent off with another person at some point or another. The day care policy is that only a parent or sibling over age 10 can pick up a child, but they had no problem violating their own policy and sending Julian off with anyone he happened to recognize. Truth be told, they didn't send him off with any nefarious characters (unless you count osewalrus), and I was happy that those non-nefarious characters were kind enough to take responsibility for Julian, but it was still aggravating.

More aggravating was how obvious it was that the folks running the day care were not in any way prepared to care for children who couldn't occupy themselves. They had a couple of beach balls, a plastic baseball set, a couple of board games and some decks of cards. That's it. What was a TWO YEAR OLD supposed to do? Julian was enjoying himself though (we always sent him with some cars to play with, which can keep him happy for hours), and kept asking to go to day care, so we kept sending him. But my frustration was mounting.

Finally on the last day of chol hamoed, osewalrus's sister-in-law told the day care folks that they need to make sure that they don't release Julian to anyone other than Seth or myself without explicit permission. They, of course, took the defensive. "Oh we've never done that and how dare you accuse us of that. Julian is a very difficult child and we just can't care for him."

Ahem. Julian is many things. And he's even a large number of frustrating things when he wants to be. But one thing he is not is a "difficult" child. He does listen, if you approach him with respect and don't forget that he's TWO. He's one of the most affectionate children I've ever met. He's smart, he's responsive, and he can entertain himself relatively well, if he's given an appropriate space to do so.

Also, please remember that wasn't said to me, but rather to someone unrelated to me. I was of two minds... on the one hand they didn't say it to me and they didn't know the message had been passed along, so they could suck it up. On the other hand, they had made it abundantly clear that they would spend a lot of time trying to get rid of Julian when they had him. (Every time he said "I want Abba", they would take him upstairs to find Abba... except Abba was in shul davening and they'd end up leaving him with someone else instead of going into the shul to get Abba or finding Eema) Clearly they did not want to care for my child. So we stopped sending him all together for the last days.

We were not the only people having problems with the day care. There was an 11 year old bully in the day care who had no business being there. An 11 year old belongs in shul davening, not with little kids playing cards. Aaron (7 1/2 year old) was even davening (in the day care area, not in shul, but you know what? he wasn't wasting time playing cards, he was davening!). The 11 year old punk brat bully was hitting kids in front of counselors, but NO ONE STOPPED HIM. (I found this all out immediately AFTER I had decided to take Julian out of the day care permanently)

It really couldn't have been much more horrendous short of outright abuse.

The funny part is that there were signs posted all over reminding parents that there was a recommended $5 per day, per child recommended tip for day care. Julian spent only a handful of HALF days in day care and I STILL wouldn't even remotely consider giving them a tip. I'm a very, very good tipper in general. I really am, but this was ridiculous. If I could have given them a negative tip I would have. I wish I'd handed them an envelope with a letter explaining why they weren't receiving a tip, instead of just giving them nothing.


Next year is supposed to be better. Unfortunately THIS is the year we actually went!

Tags: , ,
Current Mood: angry angry

17 comments or Leave a comment
eyelid From: eyelid Date: April 25th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd seriously contact the people setting up this fiasco and ask for your money back. They promised food and daycare, which they didn't provide.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: April 25th, 2006 06:49 pm (UTC) (Link)
I should note that there WERE days where there was kids lunch and dinner, but there were just a couple days where they canceled it. Always for an understandable reason, I just found it frustrating.

What actually was MORE frustrating was that often at the kids' meals (which were not served anywhere NEAR the main dining room... they were two floors down from the main dining room) there would be more adults than kids eating. I brought Julian down there, made him a plate, and maybe nibbled at the things that he tasted that he decided he didn't want but I most certainly did NOT take a plate for myself. There were adults that came down that don't even HAVE kids that piled their plates high and took them upstairs saying quite clearly that they were going to stash them for later.

The good news is that the kitchen and serving staff was excellent, so anytime I was really desperate for something for Julian, they would find it for me, even if it wasn't out with rest of the food.

I don't expect a refund. The cost for Julian is not explicitly broken down into food/day care/lodging. Even if I had made it clear he would not be using the day care, I would have paid the same amount for him. I will, however, be drafting a letter to the company that organized the whole package deal and express my discontent. They already know that it is unlikely that we will return. What they don't know is that even with stellar daycare it was unlikely that we would return just from a financial point of view. The daycare situation itself would not turn me off of wanting to go back, I would just plan better next time for ways to entertain Julian myself, but they don't need to know that. :)
leahmiriam From: leahmiriam Date: April 25th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
You told me what you paid for Julian and for that, there should have been spectacular day-care with age appropriate toys and activities, food appealing to children as well as snacks, and supervisors who actually know how to take care of children.

I've spent several hours with Julian before. He's very affectionate, and yes, he does want to do many things *his* way but he is two. It's to be expected. He's sweet, communicative, and he will listen.

Clearly they did not want to care for your child but I am guessing the resort paid them nicely to do so. It was abuse all the way around, from Julian to you and Seth to Aaron and all of the parents. If possible, I'd clammor for a partial refund.
ailsaek From: ailsaek Date: April 25th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
What she said. That was not appropriate child care and definitely nothing you should have been expected to pay for.
zis770 From: zis770 Date: April 25th, 2006 06:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
this is horrible. What daycare center takes care of 2 year olds and doesn't change diapers? And not playing with the kidss or even protecting them from 11 year old bullies?

This sounds like false advertising even.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: April 25th, 2006 06:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
well, technically they call it "day camp." And I wasn't ENTIRELY surprised they don't change diapers. It was just the way they handled it that pissed me off. If they had said ahead of time "we can not accommodate children who are not potty trained, so if your child is in diapers, make sure to arrange to check on him or her occasionally" I would have been fine. It was the "oh we don't change THOSE!" attitude that irritated me. Like, how could we be so stupid as to believe that they would lower themselves to change a diaper!

Apparently the company who ran the whole vacation package had never used these day camp people before, but they had come highly recommended. We weren't the only ones who complained verbally and it was clear that the company was not going to be using the same people next year. It was a disaster all around.

osewalrus put it best when he referred to it as being structured like a poorly organized kibbutz.
zis770 From: zis770 Date: April 27th, 2006 01:26 am (UTC) (Link)
It still seems odd. I hope the company finds better people for next year.
cellio From: cellio Date: April 25th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here's another vote for them owing you a refund.
ichur72 From: ichur72 Date: April 25th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'll add my voice to the they-owe-you-a-refund chorus. These people sound borderline incompetent.
From: geekosaur Date: April 25th, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Not so borderline, looks to me.
magid From: magid Date: April 25th, 2006 06:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
nth vote for writing and getting a refund.

In any case the people who organize these things should be informed that the daycare not run by 'the amazing one' was not only not as good, but not acceptable at all, and it needs to be reconfigured completely.
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: April 25th, 2006 09:18 pm (UTC) (Link)
They shouold have told you they could not change diapers, and they should have taken the lead in kicking the 11 year old out. Actually, I'm not suprised about the diapers, since in NY the law states that in order to change diapers an employee has to have a fingerprint and background check (not a joke, it's true). I'd ask for a partial refund... maybe the fraction of meals that were cancelled?
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: April 25th, 2006 10:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I vote you write a scathing letter, and at least ask for a partial refund. I also can't believe that they had a MAN working in the daycare. Call me sexist, but that's just creepy. I'd be really nervous about that arrangement. Potential for abuse aside, he obviously had no nurturing instincts whatsoever. That's just not OK.

estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: April 25th, 2006 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
there was nothing creepy about it. It was an Israeli husband and wife duo that were running the show. He was very nice and very good with the kids. It was his overall philosophy that bothered me.
hannahsarah From: hannahsarah Date: April 26th, 2006 06:59 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm glad you didn't pick up any creepy vibes. It just sounded sort of "off" to me.

hopeness From: hopeness Date: April 28th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC) (Link)
I'm sorry that it was such a frustrating experience. I hate hearing about poorly run daycare, day camps, whatever... the whole handing him over to anyone other than his parents is troubling.
mysticchyna From: mysticchyna Date: May 7th, 2006 01:40 am (UTC) (Link)
oh man, nothign like a hectic holiday...dang.
17 comments or Leave a comment