"And another one down, and another one down, another one bites the dust."
I was going to start this blog with some sort of baseball commentary, but I've never paid that much attention to baseball, and couldn't write effectively about it. So I will just honor Queen, and use their infamous song with the brilliant bass line, Another One Bites the Dust. I have been humming and singing it since yesterday morning. Why you ask? Well the Vampire hit strike three yesterday, and has now lost her spot in yet another daycare. Should I call and make sure they don't charge my credit card for today's services? I mean I had to pick her up after her being there for two hours on two days of her nine day stretch with this facility. I was always told before that I was paying for the entire week to hold her spot, but now that she's been given the hardcore boot (all of her stuff put neatly in her cubbie) they don't need to hold her spot anymore, and I can't afford to part with money for nothing in return....
I'm a little angry, a little bitter. Not towards the Vampire at all, but at the failing system I seem to have no choice to keep putting her in. I have now lost my scholarship with the 4C due to this because there are only a few centers in the area who are partnered with 4C, and the Vampire has in 12 months time, run through them both. At the first center, her biting was excusable until she turned 3, at the age that developmentally most children stop biting. Since she turned 3 in July, the pressure has been on me pretty constantly due to the biting behavior. Most of the months of July, August, September, and October, I have had to pick her up from school early 2-3 days a week.
The Vampire is a very smart little cookie. She learned early on that she can indeed get what she wants using biting and brute force due to the discipline used by the child care center. You see their policy is to lavish affection on the child who is bitten, ignoring the biter (because any attention could be considered reinforcing negative behavior) then after ensuring that the bitten child has been coddled and medical attention is administered, then they turn to the biter and say "we do not bite our friends. biting hurts!" This is the widespread belief to be the cure to biting in young toddlers. With my Vampire however, she learned that she bites the child, the child drops the toy or gets off the slide that the Vampire wanted. The teachers all rush to the aid of the bitee while the Vampire is happily playing with the slide or toy that she wanted. This happened just enough to show her that there is a power in brute force, and she hasn't been able to un-learn the behavior. The most recent child care center seemed to be onto that pattern, and I was mildly hopeful that they could help to correct it for her.
I did pretty well holding my emotions together yesterday. I didn't begin crying until the teacher who has seemed to work hardest with the Vampire bent down and told her goodbye and hugged her. The Vampire is seemingly oblivious to the fact that she will never see this lady, but it is all too real to me, and I lose it at that point. Dad met me there to pick her up from me, because I can't miss any more time off work as I have a lengthy doctor's appointment with a behavior specialist this afternoon. I was shaking (too much caffiene) and sobbing and just handed her off to him and went back to work. I didn't want to go to work. Every ounce of my concentration towards my employment is just gone, as I now need to get on the ball and find another facility. I didn't even have the will to do that yesterday. I was just numb, and exhausted. The Vampire doesn't understand all of this. She just says "bye" and happily goes off with Papaw. But I can't be too upset. This is my cross to bear. I stepped up and took the reins of raising this problematic 3 yr old and her mouthy sister. I knew going into this that there would be bumps, issues, emotional drain. I just didn't figure it would be so soon. I imagined that they would lash out as teenagers in anger because they don't understand how mommy and daddy could ditch them. I have a feeling in my heart that my sister has other kids, so I have braced myself since I first heard of her pregnancy in October of 2009 for the day that one of the girls looks at me and screams "HOW could she bail out on us... and run off to have more kids!" I can only fathom the amount of pain and anger they will feel when they learn of this - if it is true. I have been preparing myself for those more problematic years... I just didn't think to prepare for a 3 yr old who can't seem to stay in daycare!
I have many calls and e-mails out about this entire issue. I am waiting to hear back today from all those people to find more child care before next week rolls around. I will have to drop my independence facade and allow Uncle M to begin helping me pay for child care. That alone is hard for me to swallow because of my background. You see I was in an abusive relationship for many years, and relied upon my abuser for everything from a place to live to being told how to feel. When I was finally able to get away from him and learn how to soar on my own... I vowed never to be in a position where I couldn't take complete care of myself. I must break that vow, because the Vampire has to have daycare, I have to keep my 40 hour a week job, and I would have to sacrifice what little time I get with the girls to work a part time job if I don't give in and let Uncle M donate money to the cause. Total package price on the cause is 542.00 to 760.00 per month. My current daycare costs have been (since Drama Queen started Kindergarten) 252.00 per month, so the new costs will be double to triple what I am currently paying. And all of this for people who can't seem to get a 3 year old to learn that biting to control others is not acceptable. So sad.
The Drama Queen is doing very well in school. She has a hunger for knowledge, and is in an enrichment group to help feed that desire. Her teacher seems to have a love of teaching, and I felt really good after the meeting because the teacher seems to be very patient and working very hard with the Drama Queen. The teacher did say that the Drama Queen can't seem to sit still. That is a problem we have at home too. When I try to talk to her about it, she will tell me "but TT, I am a Wiggle Worm, I can't sit still..." It's true. She has always had a fidgety issue. When we were at her dance recital, before the lights came on, I could see all the outlines of the little girls on stage standing perfectly still, and I knew the one who wasn't was the Drama Queen. Regardless, I have been working with her on it. I keep reminding her to sit still and just take five minutes now and then to be calm and be still. I think her metabolism is really high too because she will eat and eat and eat, and not gain weight. More to talk to doctors and therapists about.
The little girl who was burned with the cigarette is healing. It sounds as if her mother is doing what she can to protect her, and I told my friend to remind the mother that if she doesn't chose to - someone else will some day, and she will be cut out of the child's life. To some of us the decision to protect a child is a no-brainer, and it is difficult to understand why anyone would hesitate. There is probably a great number of reasons for the hesitation, that we will never understand - but obviously some people just don't put their kids first, and all of these torn and abused kids in our society reflect that. If I can stop the pain, abuse, or neglect of one child, I will have done something great in my life, and will hold my head high. I don't need to be a star athlete, musician, or writer to make my mark in life, because my mark will be something far greater - the mark of the smile and pure joy on the face of a child.