It’s Not All Mary Poppins


Last step in the process: Inform the Parents.

It’s been a long-ish haul, from my first inklings that one couple wasn’t dealing straight with me, through further nigglings, to confirmation of my suspicions. The past month has been a whirlwind of interviews. The universe was sympathetic to my plight: I’ve never had so many interviews in such a short period.

And this week, I signed a contract with a lovely couple. Lovely, I think. So far, so good, anyway. My first impression is positive — that counts for something, right?

Yes, it does. Though I’m not 100% — goodness knows this current situation proves that! — my intuition has been honed down the years, and I’m a decent judge of who will be a good fit.

So. All my ducks are in a row. Now to deal with the one remaining detail: the conversation.

She’s due “in June”. I don’t know when her due date is. The new couple wants to start in the third week of June. So I can give Outgoing Couple till the end of June, maybe even a week past that. Let’s hope she’s due toward the beginning of the month!

But how to tell them? Where to have this conversation? I worried this one over for a couple of days — coffeeshop? my home? theirs? — before my husband made his observation.

“You know, it doesn’t have to be a Big Conversation. In fact, I’m not sure that it needs to take more than 15 minutes.”

And I thought … he’s right. If I set it up as if it’s a Big Deal, it will become a big deal, and I really don’t want that. How about I deliver it in a matter-of-fact way. In fact, how about I deliver it to them as they delivered their news to me: as if they were in the loop, as if they knew all along what was happening, as if it’s no big deal at all.

Brilliant. And all because of that “15 minute” comment from the Wonderful Husband.

So I mulled it over and came up with my starting sentence. (Do you do that? It’s hugely helpful in starting a difficult conversation. I actually memorize and practice my first sentence.)

It’s a good thing she’s usually the last parent to arrive. I don’t have to worry about a private conversation being interrupted by other parents. When she arrived, we chatted for a few seconds and then I smiled brightly and said,

“So I just thought I’d bring you up-to-date about what’s happening in June.”

And she smiles back and says, “Oh, yes.”

“I’ve found another child to fill the space. He’ll be starting June 16. I’m not sure when you’re due, but you can certainly have till the end of the month.”

“I’m having a section on June 12.”

[Section? This baby has been scheduled! She probably knows to the hour when her baby will be born, and she hadn’t bothered to tell me??? Oh, why am I surprised any more?]

“So we can send her till the end of June?”

“Yes, and if you wanted the odd day after that, we could arrange that at the time, and do pay-as-you-go.”

Her face moves from smiling to puzzled.

“But we can’t have full-time in July, even if we wanted it?”

[Oh, so that was an option you were considering, then? And it didn’t occur to you it would be wise to run it by me?]

“No.” (Oh, that felt kinda good…) “Not after the end of June.”

The puzzlement grows.

“But we haven’t given you your notice yet.”

And now it begins to feel really, really good, so I can smile gently as I say, matter-of-fact, gently, calm,

“No, I’m giving you notice.”

There is a moment where her face goes totally blank, blind-sided as she is by this completely unexpected turn of events.

“Oh.” There is a pause. Her mouth opens, then closes. She’s still processing, but she’s taking it very well, really, given it’s such a radical and completely unpredictable outcome. She nods. “Well, okay then. I guess I can work with that.”

I guess you can. And you’re getting… April, May, June, end of June… over three months’ notice. Much more than you intended to give me.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, was that. Bring on June!

March 5, 2010 Posted by | daycare, parents, Peeve me, the dark side | , , | 27 Comments