Friday, November 18, 2011

It Could Have Been Us

It's been a week full of bad news around here. Everyone everywhere has heard about Jerry Sandusky and the Penn State scandal, and that's been covered beyond belief, so I won't belabor it here. Then news came out that a teacher was arrested and accused of fondling himself in front of students and had been doing so for ten years prior to this. And then came the news that a daycare worker was convicted of killing a sixteen month old boy by throwing him to the ground while at work.

There but for the grace of God....

Mister Man is in a private school. He's in a Catholic school that I visited and reviewed before enrolling him. I talked to other parents about lots of questions I had in the effort to make sure it was the best place for him. And we're happy there. I can only imagine that the parents at that Christian school were happy with their choice prior to last Friday, too. How do you see something like that coming? I feel for the families there, and I can't imagine how they're reacting.

The daycare incident, however, hits even closer to home. Before Mister Man was born, I knew we'd need daycare coverage once I went back to work. I looked around at a lot of options. I called and researched many centers, ruling several out before even setting foot inside them. I visited four centers to meet the staff and see how the centers operated. The one I chose was the one that made me feel the most secure. To get into or out of the facility, you had to scan your fingerprint. The reception desk was in sight of all the infant rooms and one of the toddler rooms, and everyone had to walk past the reception desk to leave the building. The staff was sweet, and they were accommodating when I expressed some desires that were outside the norm. I wanted to send my own baby food when he was old enough (homemade), and I didn't want him to use an Exersaucer - I'd rather he play on the ground. They assured me that I wasn't the only parent who did things that way, and they were fine with it. I felt comfortable there, and I was confident that he'd be loved.

We had a great experience there, too. He enjoyed going, and the staff was great. We moved when he was two, however, which meant we went to a different daycare center. That first daycare center, however? That's where the daycare worker was convicted of killing a toddler, in a classroom I'm sure Mister Man spent time. She's twenty-five now, which means she was too young to have been working there when Mister Man attended, but how do you know?

How easily could it have been Mister Man either there or at another center? Or at his preschool? Or at his current school? Or you hear about the children who get lost on field trips. Or are hit by cars when playing outside. Or are kidnapped or abused by strangers or those close to them. The sheer number of possible disasters is staggering, and it's hard for me to even sit at my computer and categorize them.

At some point, I need to take a deep breath. I need to decide if I trust that I've done my very best and need to hope for the best or whether I'm going to spend my days hovering and worrying and prepared constantly for that phone call. For the sake of my sanity, I've chosen the former. I have to. This last week has truly shaken my faith, however.

How do you deal with all the potential disasters out there?

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Tara R. November 18, 2011 at 1:03 PM  

I still worry about the people my children come in contact with daily. As a parent, I don't thing we can ever feel completely secure.

ttmillers November 18, 2011 at 1:58 PM  

I stopped working so I could be home with my children. I was afraid of the very thing you wrote about. I eventually went back to school and got a degree in Early Childhood Education. Now I run an in-home child care service. I LOVE IT! It's a small group of kids and the parents can feel certain their children are being well taken care of by me.

tiarastantrums November 18, 2011 at 1:59 PM  

I quit my job (and I had a GREAT job) just to stay away from the "what-ifs". We don't have and now we home school. I'm completely neurotic!

Pat November 18, 2011 at 11:12 PM  

All these incidents are horrible, but the one where the worker threw the toddler to the ground, killing him, was heinous. How shocking it must be to you since it's the same daycare where you left your son.

For some reason I didn't worry much about our boys. I guess it's because we live in a small, rural community where everybody knows everybody else. Many of our sons' friends were teachers' kids, people who taught in the same district as my husband taught in and who were friends of ours. I was a SAHM and only had my sons go to a MWF 9-noon parent co-op preschool in a private home the year before kindergarten. My sons are still friends with some of their former classmates going back to when they were 4 or 5 years old. So it just seemed like a very secure, safe area. Of course it just seemed that way because of our friends and acquaintances and our school/church situation.

Michelle December 6, 2011 at 4:19 PM  

Tara - I generally can push it out of my head. At this age, there are fortunately so many adults around each child. But when they're older and more independent and are making their own choices? Yikes!

Tami - That works for you, but you realize that to all the other moms, YOU are the one they have to worry about. ;)

Teresa - I can't live worrying about the what ifs. I have to move forward, but I so get the fear.

Pat - It is heinous and so scary. And we're so lucky that nothing bad ever happened at daycare.

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