In my last letter, I talked about the real-estate industry and the drama that I had to endure when contracting my home to sell and then find somewhere else to live. One hell of a dramatisation followed by another. Where do I begin!
I had to find myself a divorce lawyer, going through the settlement process, find somewhere to live though I had no full-time job and was on maternity leave from my current job. So I decided to go back to University just to get my head together in the hope of starting a new career one day in the future.
I was a mum on a mission firstly to put my two-year-old in child care; if you have a toddler you will understand my predicament and how cheeky they can be. It was too hard as a single mum to make ends meet, and though it broke my heart, leaving him with strangers was the only way. I had no choice, I had no family members or friends who could help.
So the next best thing was to put my son in child care despite stories I had heard about the industry. I always had the belief that when you go private and you pay for the service, it should be what you pay for, or so I assumed. I found a child care facility in the northern suburbs with hundreds of child care facilities all over the country. They are very well-known, and I believed that this would mean it would be quality, but this has been far from the truth in my experience.
If anything, I was paying for a child care facility whose building was not up to scratch and if you made a complaint to the manager you were doomed if you did, and doomed if you didn’t. As the saying goes, ‘A fish with his mouth closed never gets caught’. The child care workers would create an alliance to intimidate me; it felt as if I was being ganged up on and I felt powerless.
He was crying most mornings, I could not understand why. Did he want to go? Didn’t he? I didn’t know, he couldn’t express or explain himself properly as he was only two. I’d call them back after I’d drop him off. They said he was fine and he settled in. When I confronted the facilitators about his mixed emotions they said that it was normal, they all cry at that age. I didn’t feel it was normal though, he was always a bubbly kid. As a first-time mum in my mid-30’s I didn’t know any better, but I know now that I should have followed my instincts.
One experience that he remembers like it was yesterday was a supervised obstacle course where there was a needle sticking out from the fence. One of the children bullying my son at the time pushed my son straight into the fence onto that needle, wounding and cutting his upper eyebrow. As a result he was rushed to hospital in an ambulance, needing 20 stitches at the age of three.
When he reached the tender age of three-and-a-half he started to express his feelings, and he could put sentences together where I could make sense of them. He felt as if they didn’t care about him and he didn’t want to go back. I listened, respected his wishes and I pulled him out of that child care centre. After that, I didn’t want any more trouble.
I took my son out and left without making a formal complaint, I just wanted to put it all behind me and move on. He is now 10 and still talks about it sometimes. It really affected him, and he still remembers it like he lived through it yesterday. Now in primary, he loves school and says it is better than child care. I would like to think that childcare taught him some lessons though that strengthened him in some way rather than harmed him emotionally, but we as parents have a job to do and this should be respected by the system.
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