It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Where all is revealed

I know you’re all waiting with bated breath for the denouement. But first, a brief recap:

I have as clients a couple who opted to sign on for less than a year initially. Then — major red flag — they didn’t sign the renewal contract in a timely fashion. Correction: they STILL haven’t signed.

Additionally, they pay month by month instead of post-dates, and then, most recently, I began to wonder if mom is pregnant. Far enough along to be visible under a bulky winter coat would mean she’d left it far longer to inform me than is standard. Far longer.

All of which adds up to enough unease that I decided to address it. It may mean nothing, but it may be significant. Either way I need to know, so I can a) relax or b) address and correct.

Okay. That brings us to yesterday evening, when I planned to ask mom my Question: “Is there a reason you haven’t signed the contract?”

Cue sinister music.

So there we are, she and me, in my front hall. She’s the last to arrive, so I don’t need to worry about being interrupted. She’s cheerful and chatting, as usual, and I’m waiting for a lull. When it happens, I pop out my prepared question.

She doesn’t even blink. She simply waves her hand down toward her belly and says,

“Well, it’s the baby.”

“It’s THE BABY?” WHAT FREAKIN’ BABY?? Iwasright, Iwasright, Iwasright, IwasrigthtIwasrightIwasright… dammit… “It’s the baby”, she says, as if I’ve been informed, as if I knew all along. Which I was NOT, and we both know it.

But we’re not done yet. Just wait till you hear what came next.

“Well, it’s the baby,” she says, “And we just haven’t figured out what we’re going to do!”

YOU haven’t figured out what YOU’RE going to do? As if this doesn’t concern me at all? As if this isn’t an issue of joint concern? As if — and you’d think sheerest self-interest would have brought them to this conclusion — informing me wouldn’t have made it easier for us all to come to a mutually satisfactory resolution?

You KNEW you were pregnant and DELIBERATELY avoided signing the contract because you were uncertain about your choices… and you DELIBERATELY chose not to inform me when I gave you the renewal contract back in December. The brazenness with which she blurts this out takes my breath away.

“We were going to tell you as soon as we’d figured out what we were going to do.”

Blink, blink. I think that’s supposed to reassure me, or something. Reassure me of what? That they haven’t behaved in a devious, dishonest way?

You know, after your baby is born you have (because this is Canada) a full year of maternity leave… during that year childcare is a luxury, a convenience. And you have a full year to sort out the details of the necessary childcare for two children. But — and this is something that has obviously completely and utterly escaped these people — after your baby is born, childcare is still MY FUCKING LIVELIHOOD.

I am astounded.

You know, maybe I’ve been lucky over the last FIFTEEN YEARS, but my clients have always, always seen this as a joint concern. After they tell their parents, they tell me. Because we want as much lead time as possible to work things out. Because there are possibilities and variables that concern ALL of us, and they know and respect that.

Because, frankly, it’s in everyone’s best interests. The more lead time we have, the more likely it is that we can come up with a solution that is satisfactory to everyone.

I am a low-key person. I do not rant and rave. I do not shout. I do not go off half-cocked and react impulsively. This serves me well in situations like this, because while internally I’m reacting with “WHAT?!?!? Are you out of your MINDS? Do you have ANY idea how SELFISH you’re being?”, externally my face is impassive. Because I need time to process this.

“We’ll give you your two months’ notice, of course.” Which is all they’re required by the contract, so one might say ‘fair enough’. In fact, given that we now have no contract, one might even say that’s more than fair… except that spots in this neighbourhood fill sixish months in advance. Often more. They signed their child five months in advance.

I manage to spit out the relevant question. “When’s the baby due?”


June. She is five months pregnant, and had not yet told me. Five months. FIVE MONTHS! I did tell you that my clients have always, always told me about ten minutes after they inform the grandparents? I am used to finding out when mom is 12 weeks along. Five months.

We chat idly a moment or two longer, and mom and tot leave, smiliing and waving, with no idea of the turmoil they’ve caused. Which is a very good thing.

Five months pregnant with a baby they hadn’t told me about. A contract deliberately, consciously left unsigned. And no communication with me about it whatsoever. Because THEY hadn’t decided what THEY were going to do.

It could be that they didn’t bring me into the loop because they wanted their asses thoroughly covered first. But now, what they’ve guaranteed is that if it’s in my power, I will kick their asses to the curb. BEFORE they can give me notice.

It could be that they did this to preserve their sense of control. But now, what they’ve guaranteed is that I am going to do my utmost to take control.

We haven’t decided what we’re going to do.”

Good lord.

February 4, 2010 Posted by | daycare, parents, the dark side | 23 Comments