Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In transition

So the kids' last day at the old school/day care was Friday. And about time. They've lost so many families -- not to mention teachers, the director and the assistant director -- that walking through there for drop-offs and pickups was like entering a ghost town. I kept looking for tumbleweeds.

Things had been going steadily downhill since new ownership took over early this year. Parents Night Out went away. "Summer camp session" went from a whole bunch of field trips to, oh, maybe three. Parents' accounts started getting audited. The food got worse. As in, corn dogs for lunch, chocolate cake for afternoon snack. (I have nothing in particular against chocolate cake, as long as it's at a birthday party or holiday or something. But if the school serves it as part of its regular snack rotation, that's basically an official entity declaring cake perfectly fine to eat on a regular basis, which no, it's not.) Special events, like the Grandparents Day breakfast, went away. Various discounts started disappearing. Teachers started pulling their own kids out of the school because they couldn't afford tuition anymore. I heard rumors that rainy days had become "plop the kids in front of the TVs" days. And families started leaving.

The capper on the whole thing, which told us we were making the right decision in looking elsewhere, was the letter announcing we owed them $80, after DH had already gone over the records with the front office to make sure we were up to date. He asked for copies of the records and went over them all himself. Turned out we'd been given the 4-year-olds rate a few weeks before kiddo's birthday, so technically we'd been undercharged. But it also turned out that we hadn't been credited for the second-child discount for most of that time, so we'd also been overcharged. Bottom line, we owed about $40.

Once I got the regional whatever-her-title-was on the phone -- which didn't happen until after I sent a screamingly nasty e-mail to her boss -- she agreed that, technically, we owed about $40. And I said, "Since none of this was our error in the first place, and this has all been pretty aggravating, I think we should be credited the full amount." Immediately she agreed. But obviously, she'd been willing to sit back and let us pay the $40, as long as we didn't challenge her on it. Which is a jerk move, and unbecoming of a nationwide business. We gave notice two days later.

Most annoying? She said to thank DH so much for doing the extra work of going through the records. Which he hit the roof over, because that's their job, and doing their work for them took time away from his job.

At any rate, we started at the new school (which now has a waiting list, thanks to all the people fleeing the old school) this week. It's less money, seems nice, convenient location, etc. We have to make their lunches, but you know, I'll happily slap a sandwich and some fruit -- or in tomorrow's case, a sunflower seed butter and jelly sandwich on wheat and a container of grape tomatoes -- together if it means no more corn dogs. I even got them their own lunch bags, which they decided were actually backpacks and carried around the house until I snagged the bags back to wash them out.

So far kiddo seems more or less fine. He's been a snotty mess to us all week, but no evil reports from school. Although I don't think he's napping at school, so that might explain the hormonal wackadoo-ness. Kiddette, however -- the one I wasn't worried about, because she likes everyone and everyone looooovves her -- is having a freakout. She totally melted down Monday when DH dropped her off. She totally melted down today when we both dropped her off. Tonight, she out of nowhere went on a more or less continuous crying jag until after bedtime. She would stop long enough to notice I was holding her, say happily, "Mama!" and then dissolve into tears again. I resorted to animal crackers to improve everyone's mood. (Yeah, you would too. Judge not.) Really she was under a year old when she started at the other school, so she was there more or less half her life; I guess I should've seen this coming. I hope it doesn't last.

Ultimately I do think this will be a better situation for us. If we can just get through this week.

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