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Scratching in Childcare: the Judgement Day

Scratch me happy

This is Katie’s story. A story about her childcare judgement day when her little girl dared to scratch another and how she lived to tell the tale.

Lucy is a 2 year old, who, by all accounts, is the social butterfly of her daycare class. When I drop her off, most kids are excited to see her and share the breakfast table with her. She likes to make people laugh, she likes to give her peers a hug if they fall and hurt themselves, but like most 2 year olds, she’s still getting a grip on this whole emotions thing.

One afternoon I unenergetically make my way through the halls of daycare after a LONG day at work and arrive at Lucy’s classroom. I gather Lucy’s clothes and track down her shoes and hat.

While I’m hunched over the basket filled with drink bottles trying to track down the blue bottle with the chewed-to-hell–needs-replacing lid, I hear the door open behind me. It’s another mum who has picked up her daughter already. This is the conversation that ensued:

“Hi” I say.

“Hi…. look at my poor baby!” the other mum says pointing to her child’s face.

I see that there are three scratch lines down the poor little cherubs cheek and I respond “Oh my goodness, you poor little poppet, did someone scratch you?”

“Yes” the other mum replies. I think FOR THE LOVE OF GOD please don’t let it be my kid, cause this is about to get very bloody awkward if it is, but I say ”Oh dear, I hope it wasn’t my daughter”

“Oh no, no, no”. she replied. “It wasn’t your daughter, is was some other little scruffy kid called Lucy.”

“Oh”, I say, “Lucy is mine.” It seems we have a little case of mistaken identity – indeed the Edward Scissor Hands impersonator is my kid after all. Can this day get any better?!

“I’m so sorry,” I apologise, “Lucy’s going through a stage at the moment of hitting if she doesn’t get her way. But that is no excuse. I feel terrible. Again, I’m so sorry”.

“Well,” she berates me, “perhaps you should think about cutting your daughter’s nails a little more regularly and a little shorter next time.” By it doesn’t stop there “She might benefit from some behavioural direction if this sort of thing happens regularly.”

I apologise once again and her exit and mine is a blur. Behavioural direction – hmmm isn’t that what a parent or a daycare staff person provides? I think I do that already…?

My shock and surprise has rapidly turned into defensiveness, guilt and anger. There’s nothing quite like being chastised as a parent. You are a naughty mummy with a kid that only a newsagent scratchie stand could love. What’s more, you are doing a crap job. SHAME ON YOU. Oh and people are using adjectives like “scruffy” when they are describing your child… that is BAD!!

There’s a carer outside with Lucy and when she spots me, she must know what’s gone down just by my deer in headlights expression. I tell her that I’ve just “been bailed up” by the other mother.

She was apologetic and explained that the other mum said she wouldn’t leave until she knew who scratched her child. Now we all know that it is standard practice to keep all toddler-aged perpetrator details out of any incident reports, but I believed the carer in this case. I could see that it was highly possible that the other mother could channel her inner Mr Blonde (Reservoir Dogs) to get the information she wanted.

Months have passed since the incident and I’ve been in the same room as the mother since. I’ve done the customary “hello” but appears the other mum is now deaf, because she has flat out ignored me.

Until the other day. I apparently exist again.

She begins by apologising for her “words to me that day” and goes on to say that Lucy has “earned herself” an invitation to her daughter’s next birthday party.

I politely smiled and said thank you for apologising (that part I did appreciate) and thank you for the invitation (not so much appreciated but I had plenty of “behavioural direction” as a child so I managed to maintain composure).

When is her party I ask – its apparently 10 months away.

By translation, I think that means that Lucy is now on parole. High five kiddo! It’s time for your twice weekly mummy-manicure.


This article is written by Katie, our brand new contributor to Daycare Decisions. Her first email to me was so funny I asked her to get that s#$% down on paper. She is a little bit nervous so please drop her a reassuring comment below or on the Daycare Decisions FB page. I think we all agree in terms of ‘behaviour’ Lucy is actually the ‘normal’ one, but that poor mum needs to book herself in for some adult behavioural direction on her next professional development day. Love your work Katie! Thank you x

**This little cutie pictured is not the delightful Lucy. We don’t want her employer in 20 years time to ‘google’ her and make judgements about her behavioural direction;)




About Rebecca

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Hi I'm Bec and this is my my blog Daycare Decisions. I am a mum of 2, passionate about early education, nature play and a parents' transition back to the workforce after having a baby.

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