General Etiquette > Family and Children

What constitutes 'sick'? (Childcare questions) Update #43

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I love our daycare provider, Bonnie.  She's a wonderful person and a good friend.  DD loves her.  All the kids do.  They are happy and well cared for in her home. 
I wrote a few weeks ago about an issue where she told me that she wanted some time off, which coincided with another parents' family vacation, but was not the agreed upon notice in her contact for closing her facility.  That was the first ever issue I had with her and after I spoke to her about it, she offered a solution that worked for all of us.  So, overall she is a reasonable person.

Now, my second issue has come up:

On Friday, DD was the only child in her care.  Normally, there would be more, but for whatever reason, everyone was off work or had other appointments (one child was sick), so DD was alone.  DH and I both had busy days.  I was more concerned about getting off work in time to pick up DD (there's an earlier pick-up on Fridays) than anything else.

About an hour after I had arrived to work, DH and I both got a text from Bonnie that DD was sick and one of us needed to come pick her up.  I called her immediately and asked what had happened.  She told me that DD had asked to pull the matt out and take a nap in the morning (nap time is in the afternoon).  I asked her if there were any other symptoms, such as a fever, or loss of appetite.  Bonnie told me that she "felt warm", but when I asked her to take her temperature and tell me (so I could call the doctor and tell her if needed), she read back a normal 98.8 degrees.  DD had eaten a full breakfast at our house that morning and had taken a morning snack to daycare with her.  Bonnie told me that she ate that just fine. 

I then told Bonnie that chances were that DD was just tired.  Our dog had gotten spooked around 4am that morning and woke us all up. DD never really went back to sleep.  Add that it was hot, none of her friends were there, etc, and she probably just wanted to take a nap.  I asked Bonnie if it would be ok if she just let DD sleep and then see how she was when she woke up.  I also asked her to keep me informed and if I had to leave work early to get her, I would.

About 20 minutes later, Bonnie texts me back that DD was awake and "seemed ok for the moment."  I wrote back "great!" and went on with my day.

Then, just after lunch, and coincidentally when nap time would normally be, I get another text "DD is not well.  She didn't eat much for lunch and is wanting to nap again. You need to come get her."  I had to leave an important meeting to call Bonnie back. I asked her if she could tell me her exact symptoms, because I would call the doctor on the way home.  Bonnie said that going to a doctor wasn't necessary...she was just sick and needed to go to our home. 

I leave work and pick DD up.  When I arrive at Bonnie's, DD is sitting on the couch watching TV.  She's eating saltines (which Bonnie said was the only snack she would accept).  She had no fever, no vomitting.  She was talkative when I asked her how she was feeling.  In other words, not sick at all.

I admit I was angry and didn't want to speak to Bonnie.  Bonnie told me that the inspector told her that she couldn't have sick kids at the daycare because they make the other kids sick.  That if he had shown up that day, she would have gotten written up because DH and I didn't come get DD the first time she asked us to.

I feel very strongly that Bonnie just wanted the day off.  DD was not sick.  She came home and ran around and ate normally.  She had no symptoms other than requesting to take two naps when normally she takes one (and that was explainable given the circumstances earlier that morning).  I also feel horrible, because Bonnie made me feel like I didn't want to take care of my sick child.  That my work and my meetings trumped my child.

I have no problem leaving work if I have to take care of DD if she is sick.  I have called in sick in the past when she's had fevers or was vomitting.  I always ask the doctor if she is contagious to other children (most of the time the answer I get is that the kids are contagious before they show symptoms, not once they've shown up).  I'm cognizant that Bonnie did not sign up to take care of sick kids.  One time when DD had a rash and the doctor told me that DD was not a danger to other children, I still asked Bonnie if she and the other parents would be comfortable if DD was in care (there was no ointment or any additional care for Bonnie). 

But, what I do have a problem with is dropping everything at work and rushing to pick up DD because she did one thing out of the ordinary and might be sick.  I don't have that kind of time in my schedule.

I feel that Bonnie lied.  To add to my suspicians, she texted me a couple of pictures over the weekend of DD running around in a bathing suit and playing in a kiddie pool.  I replied and thanked her for the pictures and asked "this was yesterday?"  Bonnie, I think, realized her mistake and texted back "are you just now getting these?"  I know the pictures were taken on Friday.  It's too coincidental...the same outfit she wore that morning draped over a chair, the same scuffed up left knee, the barrettes in her hair.   

I need to speak to Bonnie (DH may have done so this morning, but I don't know).  I am very angry though and while I don't want to jump the gun and start looking for alternate care, I need to let her know that what she did on Friday is not ok.  Yet, this is a difficult situation to navigate, because I will have to come out and accuse of her lying.  I also need to somehow get us past this (where she doesn't do it again and we don't dwell on this incident), or I will probably be forced to find alternate care.  This would not be easy for DD.  She loves it there and she loves Bonnie.

So, first, am I being unreasonable?  Did Bonnie do the right thing by assuming that DD was sick simply because she asked to take a nap early?  And is there some sort of standard for determining when DD is too sick to be at daycare?  Is it even reasonable to try to define that?  And then, finally, how does one go about confronting the lie when I'm not ready to give up on her services?  I'm highly doubtful that Bonnie will come out and say "Oh you got me.  I just wanted the day off.  Won't happen again."

No you are not overreacting.  I would sit down and chat with Bonnie about this and maybe start looking at other childcare options.  Sounds to me like Bonnie has gotten to that comfortable stage where she tries to figure out how far she can slack and still get away with it.

I wouldn't even bother chatting with Bonnie. I'd start looking at other options.

I dont think you are over reacting.  For me and my daughter, the day care/track out program will call me when she has been actually physically sick or running a temp of around 100.1 or something.  Normal temp and just wanting to lay around, would not rate a phone call. 

I'd start looking for a new provider. If she'd lie about this, what else would she lie about?


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