Thursday started with a re-failed hearing test for Oliver. Ok now I was getting a bit worried. The nurse said they'll make a note for the doctor and she'll check him too in the afternoon. Oliver's second day at the crèche for 2 hours seemed to be much better, when I went picking him up, he was fast asleep (had just fell asleep), apparently had played all morning and Jennifer (sort of room supervisor) was so so caring I felt he was in the best place possible and that he would have settled in no time. The doctor visit in the afternoon was absolutely fine for development, weight and hight, he's well above the 50 percentile and not a bother. But the hearing test was failed for the third time. The doctor was not that thorough, kinda rushed it and said she was writing a referral for a more specialised screening and that in any case it was something very mild. Come again? Are we talking about a mild hearing loss? Maybe. Not sure. Don't worry it's nothing. Seriously?? Don't worry?? Me??? Obviously I do worry, I read a lot since on the fact that the neonatal screening may fail to pick up minor hearing problems, what if my little one can't hear well? We know he can hear us talking, calling him etc, but we'll have to look a bit more into this. As I got home I called the paed office and left a message. He called back this morning and was so so reassuring. The test they did to him was totally archaic, 80% of the children apparently fail it and are referred to a specialist who will do a proper test, check the baby's ears for wax or fluids and generally it's all ok. The doctor didn't even bother looking into his ears but the paediatrician agrees that it's very likely nothing. Probably some fluids, or teething, or a bit of cold, or tiredness, you name it. Anyway, if I'm worried to anticipate our appointment but he really thinks there's no need to do anything.
Breathing a little better.
I brought Oliver back to the creche this afternoon for his final induction. 3 hours. He was fed and had slept plenty in the morning. I got there on time and the first thing I was surprised was to see only one girl in the baby room. There were two babies on the mat and she was writing notes on a spreadsheet. Her name is Wendy and looks like 20 something. I asked her if there were only those two babies or of some were asleep. She said a few were asleep in the cot room but that one wasn't sleeping (we could hear him through the intercom). I asked her was she on her own and she said the other girl was just having her lunch. So..yes you are on your own. Who the hell is checking on the babies in the cot room? They are never supposed to be on their own and they swore to me they are checking on the babies every 5 minutes. I was there for 15 minutes, she was always on her own, and never checked on the babies including the one crying his eyes out. Not good AT ALL. Mike was there too and on our way out we talked to the manager asking for how long the carers can be on their own. She said absolutely never, it's the company policy and she'll look into it straight away, she said they have a system whereby when one is on a lunch break another one covers so that there's always two in the room. So we said maybe one is in fact in the cot room and we didn't see her. The manager also said that Wendy has been with them for 2 and half years and she's very experienced so she was going to have a word. We left it at that. This Wendy doesn't really come across as very well educated (she has a strong accent that generally is lost as you go to school and college), Mike think she's not really coming across very happy or bubbly at all. I'm less bothered by this, yes, she's not funny as such, but she seemed to know what she was doing. Anyway, Wendy told me she is generally off around 4 so there would be another girl when I was going to pick Oliver up. Not a problem. I went back 3 hours later, as it was pissing rain and I was a bit early I just sat in the corridor for a little while. The manager saw me and very warmly she encouraged to go in and that I could watch Oliver in the room from the glass. She buzzed me in. She had no info on whether Oliver had slept/eaten etc but that the girls would have told me everything. And here is where things started going really bad. I arrived to the room and could see Oliver on the floor getting very upset (he had not seen me yet). Two more babies were there. This other carer was holding another baby who seemed just fine and not really paying much attention to Oliver crying (ok...I realise this may be my memory playing tricks now). I put on the covers for the shoes and entered the room. The girl was a bit startled as obviously I had not called the room to announce myself like we generally do and was very quick in saying that Oliver was absolutely fine till two minutes beforehand. Yes right, see if I give a shit about your judgement right now. I picked him up and soothed him quickly. I asked if he had slept and she had no clue. Really?? WTF?? She said he maybe slept for 25 minutes probably around 2. What?? We got there at 2.30! I was totally losing it. I asked can she check his diary and let me know, this is important. She looked at it, couldn't tell me anything else. He didn't eat his tea and he took very little from his bottle. Very strange but sure it's possible he has to settle in...Normally he has a full bottle around 4 pm and now it's 5.30. I gave him the bottle and he drained it in no time. Maybe he was crying because he was hungry?? The thought tortures me. The I saw this girl picking up from the floor (under a couch!) Oliver's little bear-blankety thing he uses to sleep. Now I was very clear that this toy is for his sleep only, not to be used by any other child and not to be given to him when he plays either, how did it end up under the couch I have no idea. She was so so off-putting I was getting more and more irritated. I left the room, sat on a chair outside trying to calm myself down. First of all this other girl was also on her own in the room with 4 babies (the ratio is 1 carer and 3 babies). The second carer only came back in when I was already sitting outside the room. Say maybe after at least 15 minutes. The rage I was feeling I think may be comparable with a mother bear thinking his cub is in danger.
I went to the manager and first thing I asked if she queried about the fact that Wendy was on her own. She said it was because they were expecting us for 2.30 (and I was there at 2.30, not earlier) and that absolutely it'll never happen again. Then I told her about the lack of information provided but this other girl who was there now and of course started welling up. She quickly brought me into the office (surely she didn't wan't other parents seeing me upset) I told her about the bear on the floor, the fact that Oliver was crying and that I really needed strong evidence that this was NOT the norm. That I was having second thoughts and that there was no way I'd be having Oliver in there for a full day monday of next week. She promised me she would look into this and not to worry, she'll talk to me again monday morning, she'll have the girls in the office right away and will discuss with the other manager too.
So this is where I'm at. Oliver seemed absolutely fine, very chilled, as soon as he had his bottle and we were sitting out of the room he was full of smiles for all the children, played at home as always, had his dinner and bath and went to bed without a peep. Sound asleep. So obviously I know he was ok at the crèche but jeez this is not the service I'm expecting for a top class facility which won prizes and everything! On monday Mike will drop Oliver in, but I'll go in too. I feel all this responsibility is on me and I really need him to step up and talk to the managers too.
If you got this far, thank you so much for reading, I had to get it off my chest and hopefully I'll be able to sleep tonight.
Tomorrow Oliver is 9 months old (and 39 weeks exactly...this only confuses me further on the length of a pregnancy...) I can't believe he is so big already.