Day Care Dilemma

August 11, 2006

I’ve got a serious case of the worries today.

The problem: my kid was bitten while in day care.

Not once. Not twice. But three times in three weeks.

The first time I was a little concerned, but wrote it off to toddlers being toddlers. Still, it was disturbing to see the little teeth marks on my daughter’s chubby wrist.

The second time, I figured it was a fluke, just an unfortunate coincidence. Plus, I didn’t see any teeth marks on her. I didn’t even tell my husband, because he had been so upset the first time.

Yesterday, when there was yet another “band-aid report” in her binder at the end of the day, I began to feel the indignation well up in my chest. Especially when I saw the angry red marks on her wrist (same one as last time), and I could actually make out the individual teeth.

The day care staff does a good job, and we’ve been happy with the care our daughter has received there since the age of five months. But the adult to toddler ratio is 1:6, so there’s no way they can keep an eye on every kid at all times.

They won’t tell me who’s biting her, which is understandable. They won’t even tell me if the same kid has been responsible for the multiple bites. What they did tell me is that a couple of kids are having biting issues, and they have spoken to their parents about watching for the behavior at home. I have to assume they’re also keeping a closer eye on them while at the day care center.

They also told me that the first two times, the bites were completely unprovoked. Yesterday, it happened while the kids were fighting over a toy. My daughter is 18 months old, with a fledgling vocabulary. I pointed to the bite and said, “Que paso aqui?” (what happened here?). She just looked at it and repeated, “Aqui.” I said, “Ow?” and she repeated, “Ow,” but otherwise seemed unfazed.

I feel more helpless than anything. I don’t know how to advocate for my daughter in this situation. I don’t know what’s acceptable in terms of her being bitten (is once a month OK? Once a year? Never?) I worry that she will start to bite other kids when fighting over a toy, or for no reason at all. I worry that she will become afraid to go to day care, a place she enjoys so much.

She is only there three days per week as it is. Should we scale that back to two? Should we look for other day care? I’m at a loss.

What say you, MotherTalkers? Any advice for this frazzled mom?