It’s Not All Mary Poppins

This WASN’T a surprise, people

Hmmm… Katie started full-time almost two weeks ago, and already there is trouble.

Katie’s parents have decided, less than two full weeks into the new contract, that they are having trouble managing my closing time, revised a year ago. They want to know if they can pick her up fifteen minutes later, my old closing time. I am unwilling. Will they pull Katie from my care? It’s possible.

I’m exasperated, because I carefully made a point of reminding them of the new closing time when we discussed the new contract, several weeks ago. I then sent the contract home with them, so that they could read it carefully. When mom asked on Friday about the possibility of a later pick-up, I reminded her that I’d pointed the time change out well in advance. “It was in the contract, and I made sure you’d seen it. If you had a problem with it, I expected you to tell me then, before you signed the contract.”

“Well, yes,” says mom, “but we didn’t know it was going to be a problem.” Hello? They were both already working. They had a gramma at home caring for Katie much of the time then, a gramma who was staying with them and gave them lots of nice flexibility. Surely they had opportunity over those two months with gramma to figure out when they could get home of an evening.

I further think that after not quite two weeks of care, they haven’t really tried to make this new time work. It seems that getting me to change is their first choice of solution. I’d like them to try other things first.

Mom and I had the conversation Friday evening. At that point, though I expressed reluctance, I said, “Let me think on it.” Today Katie’s home, no reason given, and I’m wondering: are they looking for alternate care? I moved my closing time back 15 minutes a full year ago, but because Katie came so intermittently, I allowed this family to stick to the old time. Even though he knew he was coming later than everyone else, dad would still arrive at the very last second before late fees kicked in. I’d look out my front window and see his big truck parked out there, him on the cell or the Blackberry. This man works at his desk, he works in his car, he works from home. Since he’s working on the way home, anyway, I can’t imagine that leaving his desk fifteen minutes earlier will make any real difference to his day. Besides, I’ve already cut them a year’s slack. I will do so no more. If this means they walk, so be it.

And maybe my next family won’t push, push, push the pick-up time to the very last second. That would be nice!

May 1, 2006 - Posted by | daycare, the dark side


  1. I’d love to post something slightly superior sounding but…. you’re talking to someone who forgot to pay her daycarista on Friday and had to do the sheepish “Do you want me to deposit this for you on my way to work…” dance this morning….

    Other stupid parenting tricks: Calling at 3:00 and saying, “Hi, I’m 4 hours away, Hot Stuff just got called to a fire & my mother-in-law is in another town…. but my father-in-law will do pickup tonight but…. can he borrow a CARSEAT???” (Gosh, I hope our daycarista doesn’t have a blog…. you know we’d be her top story-makers….)

    Comment by Homestead | May 1, 2006 | Reply

  2. Oh, not only is that unfair and disrespectful to you, it’s also unfair to their kid, who has spent a long day away from them and, even in the best care, is likely to be worn out and ready to go home. Is that last call really more important than that?

    Comment by kittenpie | May 1, 2006 | Reply

  3. How frustrating, after giving them a year and then going over the expectations with them repeatedly before they signed a new contract. Grr! I hope it all works out for the best and you end up with new respectful clients…

    Comment by Kristen | May 1, 2006 | Reply

  4. They sound like brats trying to enforce their will. They will either come around or move on. You told them the rules, they agreed to the rules, stand your ground.

    Comment by Peter | May 1, 2006 | Reply

  5. Teach Mia to use those whistles and send them home with her. Or the noisy piano toy! Or both!

    Comment by Susan | May 1, 2006 | Reply

  6. They just signed a contract, which means (you would hope) that they actually read the contract. It would have been one thing if she’d mentioned it before signing the contract but since she didn’t you have to stand your ground. Do they work very far from your house? Maybe it is hard for them to make it if there is traffic or anything, but not for two straight weeks. I’m thinking once in a while if that’s their excuse.

    Good luck with this family, or the hunt for a new one!

    Comment by Angela | May 1, 2006 | Reply

  7. Wish them well and send them on their way! You gave full disclosure and a year of “lets take advantage of you”

    Comment by ET | May 1, 2006 | Reply

  8. Stand firm, otherwise you know the repercussions. I did after school sports and we charged late fees after giving a one time warning. Parents had to sign a paper acknowledging this. One mom picked her girl up one hour late. When I told her that next time we would have to charge a late fee, she ranted and raved and threatened to pull her child out of the program. “Oh great, let’s punish the child for your mistake,” I thought.

    Comment by Mamacita Tina | May 1, 2006 | Reply

  9. Good luck to us all in the service line. Wonder if it’s human nature that we tend to ask others to accommodate us first before we start to accommodate others. Even though it’s written in black and white, a lot of clients still think that changes can be flexed for their sake…

    Comment by Queen Bee | May 2, 2006 | Reply

  10. Homestead: I’ve said this before: Post-dated cheques! Give that woman a bunch of post-dates, and it would simplify your life immeasurably. Though I suppose all that dancing burns calories… 😉

    Kittenpie: That’s how I see it, too. Evidently, they see it differently. I’d buy into the notion of the corporate culture making it very difficult to pull away from your desk a few minutes early EVERY day, because I know that pressure, BUT: he drops her off after nine in the morning reasonably frequently, and since he’s still working when he comes to get her, anyway, what difference would it make to the person at the other end of the phone? He’s still working!

    Kristen: I’m now regretting the year of cutting them slack. Instead of it accruing lots of brownie points for me, (which I could call in later, Machiavellian me, heh, heh) it has instead given them the false impression that they can get me to continue this forever. Boo.

    Peter: I agree. Enough already. (It’s like working with toddlers, I tell you, only bigger and with chequebooks.)

    Susan: I sent her little pink-and-white self home at the end of this day absolutely filthy; will that do?

    Angela: They work in the same area of the city as most of my other parents, who manage to make it no problem. It’s a ten to twenty-minute drive, depending on traffic. (Interestingly, this particular dad cries traffic woes frequently, while the other parents are all saying, “Traffic? No, it wasn’t bad. Why?”)

    ET: Hello! Welcome!! Yes, I now regret being nice for that year. I didn’t at the time. *sigh*

    I will let them make the decision to stay or go. This is not cowardice, merely pragmatism: if I send them on their way, I have to refund their deposit; if they quit, I don’t.

    Tina: If it’s the policy when you signed on, why would you make yourself look a fool by ranting and raving about it? You’re right. I can’t afford to give them this, because, as my year of giving them the grace period has taught me, it earns me no slack from them in return: they will only take it for granted and demand more.

    QueenBee: That’s it, exactly: ask others to make accommodations before we make any of our own. I can feel virtuous here, because I did accommodate, but I’m done with that now!

    Comment by Mary P. | May 2, 2006 | Reply

  11. There are times that I ask my day care provider (I really need to figure out a new “name” for her because that one stinks!) if she can keep my little one for an extra 15 minutes but those times are rare. My personal feeling is that I hate when my boss makes me/forces me to stay late for no other reason that his laziness. Therefore, I dont think you should have to stay late at your job just because a parent cant maintain a schedule.

    My hubby and I have worked out a schedule so that we can both be “committed” while at the office but we can also make sure that our little one is picked up at the right time—–hubby does am drop offs EVERY DAY and I do the afternoon pick up. We both get time with Grace alone and day care is happy because we can maintain the schedule.

    If I were you, I would tell these parents that your office closes at X time and that they will incur late charges after that time, no exceptions. Also, if it is a regular practice of picking hte child up late, you will have to “charge them” (cant think of a better word right now) with breaking the contract—as much as you would hate to see Mia go as you adore her, they would have to find other day care. Its fair!

    Good luck!

    Comment by So-Called Supermom | May 2, 2006 | Reply

  12. Just out of curiousity – They signed a contract for the next year of care. Is there any clause covering what happens if they back out early? Because then you’d be short on income while filling that spot.

    All clients pay a months’ security deposit, and they pay in advance each month. (Cheques are deposited at the end of one month to pay for the next.) Given that they bailed toward the beginning of a month, that means they’d paid for that month, and wouldn’t be getting their deposit cheque back, which gave me about two months slack. Too bad it took me five months to fill the spot!

    I rarely have spots vacant. In this neighbourhood, people find care for their children four to six months ahead of time… but that means that if something like this happens, it could take me four to six months to fill the space. Which it did. Now, I try to keep a financial cushion against this sort of thing, and I did have one then, but we ate through it before I found a new child. Made me nervous for a while!

    But the dad in this family was *such* a dork, I was not sorry to see them go. I’m sure he signed on, knowing full well they couldn’t do it, thinking that, faced with the possibility of a 20% drop in my income, I could be pressured me into doing it his way. He was just that kind of person. Probably still is! (I hear he and the wife split recently…) (Oooo. Mary gets catty…) 😛

    Comment by ktjrdn | December 19, 2011 | Reply

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