As a working parent, I think one of the things I dread the most is to hear my phone ring and see the day care number flash up on my caller ID. That number means that something is wrong because if everything was right there would be no reason to call. When that number shows up it means that someone is sick or someone is hurt and neither one of those is a good thing.
Today I got the call. Zach was bitten four times on his face by another little boy that just started day care there today. Not only was he bitten, but the little boy was sitting on his chest holding him down while he leaned over and chomped on Zach’s precious little cheeks. While I haven’t seen the damage yet, I was told that he bit hard enough to break through the skin a couple of times.
His day care provider was even more shaken up than I was about the whole situation. She has cared for him since he was 6 weeks old and loves him just about as much as her own kids. When the biting happened she was in the middle of nursing her 4-month-old and couldn’t jump up right away. The kids were all in the playroom where she couldn’t see them. I’m not angry at her because Zach has gotten hurt plenty of times at home when I’ve walked out of the room for a few minutes.
I do have to wonder though, if he was in a bigger day care center–with more teachers around–would something like this have happened or would it have been stopped before my child was hurt? If he was at home with me, this most definitely would not have happened. I hate it when I have to question my parenting decisions. I chose home day care because it was the closest I could get to having him home with me. I chose a provider that I trusted and had full confidence in. I wanted him in a relaxed setting for the first few years of his life. I wanted someone that would care for him with as much love as I would and I do believe that is what he gets there. On most days he thrives there. In fact, he rarely wants to leave when I get there to pick him up because he is having so much fun with the other kids.
The worst part of all of this is that I desperately want to be at home with him. As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. I have written about it over and over again on this blog. Most days I try to avoid thinking about it but it is always there. No matter how I figure it, there is just no way we can manage without me working. My past financial mistakes have caught up with me and there is no way out of it. I have to work or we don’t eat.
I just wish there was a way to make all of the guilty feelings go away. I want to hold my son and hug him and tell him that everything will be okay. I know that I can’t protect him forever from the harshness of this world, but he is still so little. This is the first time that anyone has intentionally hurt him. Even though he is probably too young to really understand it, I have a feeling that this experience will change him in some way and it breaks my heart to know that I wasn’t there to help protect him when he needed me. I just wish he could be unaware and innocent a little longer.