Posted by: Hannah | 10/11/2012

properly motivated

Since Luna missed those two days last week due to an ear infection, she’s been a sobbing, hitting, stimming bundle of nerves.

Every morning, crying and wailing at drop-off. Isolating herself for up to forty-five minutes, either by sitting on the potty even though she didn’t need to, or lurking in a corner and swatting anyone who came near. Asking for mommy. Refusing to eat lunch. Rhythmic hair-pulling & ear-tugging.

The anxiety period has been getting longer and longer every day, until yesterday, when thanks to a late drop-off and an early pick-up she was actually avoiding everyone or actively crying for the entire time she was here.

At pick up I told her mom that the anxiety behaviours were getting worse, and that it was negatively impacting the other kids. I reminded her that Arthur’s baby sister is starting full-time in two weeks, and said that if the anxiety continued to worsen with the advent of a new baby that we would have to reconsider the arrangement. I also asked that at home, they have a positive attitude about my house at all times, especially Luna’s dad, who is also anxiety-prone and has a tendency to take the “poor little darling, I know being locked here in Hannah’s Toddler Dungeon makes you sad, but you only have to manage to stay alive for three hours and then you can come home.”

I didn’t think she paid it much attention.

But this morning! They arrived, and Luna was not crying for the first time in a week. Her mom said they kept smiles on all morning, and on the drive here talked about the changing leaves & how pretty they were. Then when they arrived, they spent a minute or two in my front yard looking for leaves, and Luna presented them to me as a gift (which I of course accepted with lots of praise).

We’re an hour in and there have been no anxiety tears. She did act a bit standoffish at first, but started playing with the other kids of her own accord within ten minutes.

Apparently all it took to get Luna’s parents to take her anxiety seriously was the realization that *I* control this relationship, not them – and that if I decide it’s not worth my while they will need to find someone else to accommodate their weird hours… and Luna’s various odd behaviours… and the whole package that is starting over with a new dayhome.

Ha. Threat heard. And action taken.

Hannah – 1, Wacky Hippies – Zero.

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Responses

  1. Ahh, one of my biggest pet peeves is a parent who makes it seem like they are leaving their child off to be tortured for hours because they have *no* other choice, they *have* to work!!! And then wonder why their kids are a hot mess each morning. Good for you for taking control.
    (I just had to term a family for aniexty induced behaviors – so I feel the pain!! – well, I did but not anymore YAY!)

  2. I will always maintain that in some kids, anxiety is absolutely directed by the parents, or at the very least fed by. Good for you on your wacky hippy win. (and oh, how I LOL’d at that.) I always try to recognize my kids concerns but then follow it up with positivity. And you know how hard that is for someone like me, but it pays off. I hope it keeps up for both your sake AND Luna’s. 😀

  3. YESSSSS. I agree with Jada, kind of, – although some kids are more anxious than others, parents can really impact the level of anxiety.

    • In Luna’s case – and her sister Molly’s too, actually – I think it’s partly hereditary with a healthy dollop of fed-by-the-parents. Their dad is one of the most painfully shy and nervous adults I have ever met. The apples did not fall very far from the tree.

  4. It’s both, isn’t it? They’re inclined in that direction, then they get poor modelling from parents, and they’re not taught good coping skills (because the behaviour is seen as normal/inevitable by a parent who has the same issue and isn’t dealing with it well, himself).

    Good for you for making your expectations and the potential consequences clear in a supportive, unemotive, professional way. You *do* control the relationship, if not all the dynamics, certainly its continuance. I’m glad everyone’s clear on that now!

    • Thanks. I didn’t feel right just up and letting them go without making it clear just how disruptive her behaviours were becoming. At least this way, if things don’t work out, I won’t feel like I totally dropped a bomb on their heads.

      • Fair and entirely professional. Also underscores the *reality* that YOU get to decide the optimal mix of characters, needs, challenges, and personalities for your work environment.

  5. Get DOWN with your bad self, homecare lady. I just don’t understand that ‘daycare as torture’ thing – I think caregivers like you are worth a price beyond rubies, and our kids really got that.

    • Your kids picked up the appreciative attitude from you and your husband. Kate’s hit it right on the head – if the parents are always apologizing for going to work and making going to the daycare seem like a giant chore, it’s more painful for everyone. On behalf of your past caregivers, thank you. 🙂

  6. Can we please please make Hannah’s Toddler Dungeon the official name for your daycare? I expect to see it listed as such in Kijijo or similar. I would send my kid to such a place. As it is, there’s a daycare that PH wanted to sex Owl to desperately, which I vetoed because it is 30 min away from us and across a bridge. His reason? It’s called E.T. Daycare.

    • I’m guessing you posted this from your Blackberry? Because “PH wanted to sex Owl to desperately” is going to bring me some wacky, wacky search results. 😉

  7. MWAHAHAHAHA!!! Damn you, autocorrect!! That was “send Owl to desperately”. OH… MY….

  8. Just saw your tweet about this being your busiest day. I think I might be *partially* responsible for that–I spent quite a while late last night, just reading through your archives. I’ve enjoyed Mary P’s blog for years, and really like yours too–even though I have no kids! Now, it’s been a week . . . where’s the new content??!? 🙂 I’ll be back (but am a lurker at heart, so you may not know it)!

    • Welcome! And thank you so much! Hope you delurk sometimes, anyway. 🙂

  9. […] her social anxieties and lack of coping skills can be dropped right at his feet, which I’ve mentioned before. He would rather be home all day, not facing the Big Bad World with all its […]


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