Thursday, April 14, 2011

Last Kid Left at Daycare

My husband and I both work, we work in another city, and sometimes things just happen(like car accidents or two hour meetings with an angry parent). Sometimes we have to stay late for one of those "stuff that we aren't paying you for but we will write you up if you don't show" events. We all have to pay our dues for that paycheck, and sometimes it means that we don't get to pick up Zane at our usual time. That is when I freak a bit. Okay, a lot.

I have this fear that Zane will be the last kid left at the daycare. I know it's unreasonable. In my mind, showing up late means that we are horrible parents who should have our Parent cards revoked for abandoning our child. So when we are late, I start to panic. I told you that it was unreasonable.

Kids don't usually notice when their parents are late, and are perfectly happy playing outside with the other kids or playing with some toys in the classroom--unless they are the last kid. Then they do notice, because they can't help it. One by one, a Mom or Dad has shown up to take their child home. Every other child in the entire building has been picked up, kissed, placed in a car seat, and driven off. Except that last kid, and the daycare worker who has to stay with him.

The daycare employee, who wants to go home to his or her own family, starts to get impatient and short. She is also worried that a parent has not arrived, and wonders if something has happened. I know all this because I have worked at a couple of daycares over the years and have had to sit with the last child a couple of times. It just plain sucks. That sweet child is full of questions. The daycare employee does not have answers for the child. Children under five don't understand the why. All they know is that their Mommy or Daddy is not there. They have been abandoned. The trust that all is well with the world has been broken. Add hunger into the mix(it is the dinner hour or later), and you've got trouble. There are tears. Sometimes the kid starts crying too!

I don't want that to be my kid, hence my unreasonable fears. I hate staying late at work because it deprives me of time I get to spend with my son and my husband and our cats, safe at home, being a family. Family comes first, as far as I'm concerned. It seems that nobody else has this viewpoint; there's always some reason that Larry or I have to stay late at least once a month. We've tried to solve this dilemma by having a grandparent pick him up when we know we won't get there on time. I still get upset that it's not Mama and Daddy picking Zane up, but at least he's not the last kid at daycare.


  1. I think you're a lovely parent to be concerned about this. I remember when I picked my daughter up from nursery and I used to arrive at least 10 minutes before it finished for this very reason! I don't have family living nearby so I had to make sure I was there on time.

    If you have your mum to help out that's wonderful, don't beat yourself up about not being there because your child will be just as pleased to see a familiar face such as Grandma. But I do understand where you're coming from. Having children is a massive responsibility; I don't think people realise just how massive it really is.

    CJ xx

  2. You are very thoughtful to put special pains into making sure your child isn't the last one picked up.

  3. I have this fear as well. Tuesdays and Thursdays I do have to pick my kids up a little later, but they are never the *last* kid, and many times, my son (who is 3) hasn't even noticed... and doesn't want to leave.

    Still, like you, I'm much happier when the whole family is safe at home, together.


  4. The fact you're worried about this tells me how thoughtful and concerned you are about your children. They do notice these things and they have a great mom who notices too.


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