I want to write about more interesting things, like how Mo learned to clap today, but I need to get this out of my head so I can get over it.
When I left off, our daycare provider, MB, had misunderstood what we were doing with food for Mo. She thought we weren't feeding her solids at all, and she thought our doctor hadn't given us any information on how to feed our child. I corrected her, of course, but found it very frustrating that she didn't seem to be listening to me.
Last week Tuesday I emailed MB to let her know that we were on board with feeding Mo purees at daycare, no problem, and that we'd start bringing some in when she turns 8 months old. I also mentioned that we were not frustrated by the food issue in particuar, but by feeling that "the state" was overruling our decisions and instincts as parents. I then asked what we might expect going forward as far as state regulations for daycares, so that we can be better prepared.
MB called me that night, but it was just as I was putting Mo to bed so I didn't answer and never got a chance to call her back. I also didn't listen to her voicemail (I often don't listen to voicemails right away because I assume they just say "call me back" and I plan to do that anyway). I then saw MB the next morning and we chatted for a bit, and we seemed to be on the same page as far as what Mo will be eating. I also found an email from her, one she had sent after I didn't answer her call but before I talked to her, that laid out a few things we can expect at daycare in the future (eg: when she will start napping in the big kid room, when she will start sitting at the lunch table instead of a high chair, etc).
So I thought everything was fine and all was resolved.
Then Saturday I was listening to old voicemails so I could delete them, and I heard the one she had left me earlier in the week.
And I. Was. Pissed.
It was a three minute message that expressed how frustrated she was with the situation. Not with us, but with our doctor. Because she's been in daycare for 20 years, and she's never had a doctor say not to give baby food to a baby. And frankly, she's shocked that the doctor would tell us that. And as far as what to expect in the future, she doesn't know what to tell me because our doctor should have gone over all of this with us a long time ago.
I listened to it several times and played it for a few other people. I mean, really? After all this, after I told her several times, both in writing and verbally, that our doctor never told us NOT to give her baby food and that we ARE feeding her purees (among other things), she still doesn't get it? AND! AND!!! Our doctor is supposed to tell us what to expect in the future? I wasn't referring to what we're supposed to feed her or how she is supposed to be developing. I was asking about what to expect as far as state regulations at daycare. I reread my email to make sure that was clear, and sure enough. I even asked if there was somewhere I could read the regulations the state has for licensed daycares. So either she thinks it's our doctor's job to tell us that, or she totally misunderstood me. Again.
Not to mention, the message had a very condescending tone. Everyone else picked up on it more than I did. I was so focused on that fact that she's not listening to me, but others noticed the message had a bit of a I-know-what-I'm-doing-and-you're-clueless-new-parents vibe.
I stewed and raged about that message for a whole day. I vented to Mike, my sister and my mom. I wrote a draft of a nasty email (that I didn't send). Then I cooled down a bit and thought it might be better to just talk to her. But every time we talk, I feel like she's not listening. She's responding to what she thinks I'm going to say, and doesn't listen to what I actually say. Plus I just wanted to put this whole thing to rest. I wanted to make a few things very clear (and I wanted a written record, let's be honest), so I emailed her earlier today.
I basically said that I got her message and it was obvious that there was some major misunderstanding or miscommunication. I said I wanted to move on from the food issue, but that I needed to clear a few things up first. And then I included these four bullet points:
- Our doctor did not tell us not to give her baby food. She just said we can give her other things. Not “don’t give her baby food” but rather “it’s ok to give her other things, too.”
- She gets purees at home, but also other things, and she does fine with all of them.
- When I asked about what to expect for the future, I did not mean in regards to food or her general development. I meant in regards to state regulations. You suggested that our doctor should be educating us on what to expect, and as far as her development, she is. But it’s not her job to tell us about state regulations for daycares, and that is what I was asking for. It’s our job to be informed, and that’s why we were asking you for information.
- We are not asking you to do anything you are not allowed to do, so we will happily provide purees for you to feed her at daycare.
In response, she wrote, "Sounds good. Thx."
So I guess that's it. Hopefully she heard me this time.
I'm still not sure how a simple conversation about food escalated like this, but I blame it on poor communication. I'll own my part in it, but when I go back and read my emails, I think I'm pretty damn clear. And what I said verbally, as far as I can remember, was basically the same stuff I said in writing.
So, what to do from here? As it relates to food, we're sending some purees with her starting tomorrow, so that should satisfy that issue. As for everything else, I'm not sure. We're still exploring other options.
I feel bad about the idea of pulling Mo out of a place she knows and likes just because adults can't resolve their issues. And we spent SO much time and energy finding a good daycare in the first place, that I don't want to do it all over again. Yet... does it need to be this frustrating? Could there be a better way?
Mo Tries Food: A Photo Series
MumMum teething cracker: