The World HAS Indeed Gone Mad - PART II

So the update.

Last night I put together a 3 page Word document which is my contemporaneous statement as to what factually took place.

I printed it this morning and had it in my pocket when I dropped Aaron off.

As I walked passed the reception desk neither Manager was in.

On my way out, after dropping off Aaron, as I went out of the double doors the Deputy (the one from last night) passed me and said "Hello" or "Good Morning" and I just kept on going and left.  But as I left I asked at the desk if the Manager would be in today and they said "this evening" (I did not know at that point that they were having a staff meeting tonight).

Anyway in case I misheard/misunderstood I telephoned this afternoon and asked for her and was told she would be in at 6 p.m.

So once again this evening I had the statement in my pocket.

As I walked down the corridor AFTER having collected Aaron I came face to face with, first of all my friend, on her way IN to collect her son, and then them both (Manager and Deputy) and said "W can I speak to you?".  The Deputy in direct counter response said "I am going to speak to Y's Mum" and went into the childcare nursery room, to follow my friend, but only as a response to me asking to speak to her boss.

So you have G going in to one room to talk to Y's Mum who is collecting her son, where they will talk (not in private) and me and W going into a private room.

Now I have to split this tale in two to say what took place with me and W and what took place with my friend and G.

Me and W (The Children's Centre Manager)
We entered a room full of toys where we could speak in private and Aaron could play.  I handed her the statement and she said "Do you want to talk to me about it?" to which I said "No I don't want it to be coloured by emotion I would rather you read the facts as stated there".

She started to read it and then thought better of it and said "it is silly for me to read this with you watching" but as I got side tracked playing with Aaron she ended up reading the whole thing.

Afterwards she said "I will investigate this tomorrow by speaking to everyone you have named here, and meet you tomorrow evening".  We then chatted about what time would suit us both and agreed to meet at 17:30 tomorrow.  She said "I cannot comment on what you have stated here, until I investigate" to which I said "that is understandable and what I had expected".  Then I went on to say "I was shook when I left here yesterday and shook for 3 hours and as a result did not even make Aaron dinner.  She looked sympathetic and repeated that she would meet with me tomorrow.

My friend and G
I only know what took place here, because my friend called me when she got home.  I didn't wait for her to leave with her as I had no idea when I left that they were still there.

So G broached the subject by saying "You looked at me and I thought you wanted to speak with me" (which is a lie - she only made that move after I said I wanted to speak to W and they didn't make eye contact, as me and my friend were talking in the corridor and similarly G and W were talking).

Anyway my friend apologised for causing any complications and G said "now I am going to have to write to all the parents and say that if you collect a child for someone you cannot wait in reception".

When my friend explained "I think L is more concerned with the WAY you spoke to her", she said "no, we were laughing and joking and X was there and Z was there....".

(Yes SHE was laughing and joking but she knew full well that I was not).

When my friend said I think L would have been fine if you had been nice to her she said "I was nice to L" and "SHE didn't want to leave the premises with YOUR child and was unhappy to take responsibility for YOUR child".

To which my friend said "I fully trust her with my son, and would have been happy for her to leave with him, I think L was just unhappy with the way you spoke to her".

She kept repeating (G) that I was not happy to leave to look after him.

And my friend kept repeating that I would have been fine to, had she delivered the message in the correct way.

My friend also stressed that she HAD agreed that I just look after him at reception but that she had assumed that if worse came to worse I would take him home if necessary.

************
Anyway the long and short of it is that G doesn't deck how she spoke to me even though we were literally arguing over her insisting that SHE knew what I had agreed to (excuse me!), i.e. she was telling ME yesterday that I had agreed to "collect him" and wouldn't hear different, even though she was talking to the horse's mouth, me being the horse.

She seems more conerned with (a) blackening my name that I had concerns about leaving and being ultimately responsible for Y (b) denying that she was rude (c) speaking to Y's Mum before her boss does and (d) stressing that she will need to write to everyone without (d) ever saying that she would apologise to me or (e) apologising to Y's Mum for her inflexibility in not waiting the further 7 minutes it took them to arrive!!!!!!

Anyway her refusal to see her part in it has made me realise I have done the right thing in complaining as (a) it means she cannot "read" people despite being a Manager (it was obvious last night I wasn't accepting her jokes and her phrases "kicking out") (b) it means she would have continued to walk over people like that and (c) they need to review their procedures!

I hope I have explained the above well enough for you all to understand and to get an insight into what it was like this evening.

Let's see what tomorrow brings....

And how I would have preferred last night to run
  1. She should have SPOKEN to me, to say "we're going soon is Y or D nearby".
  2. She should have perhaps given us a 5 minute count down warning.
  3. She should have been sympathetic.
  4. She shouldn't have started lights out at 18:14 if they close at 18:15 (were was the degree of flexibility?)
  5. She should have explored the late fee option.
  6. She should have said "if they are not nearby, what have you and D agreed?" to which (if I was spoken to professionally I would have said "nothing", but I would have started to consider options)
  7. When I said they were nearby, she should have been happy instead of responding with "it doesn't made a difference, I would still have been kicking you out"
  8. What I am trying to say is she should have exercised some (a) management skills (b) diplomacy and (c) customer service skills and should (d) be able to read people well enough to know that they are receiving your jokes as being the butt of them, and the banter is ONE way and not being taken well.
  9. Ultimately I am a goody two shoes so if she sent me on a guilt trip that they NEEDED to go home, you couldn't have got me out of there quick enough (I don't want to get under people's feet or delay them) but when you use phrases like "kick me out" and don't even act happy when I am clearly happy that they ARE nearby, then you're going to get my back up

THE WORLD'S GONE FUCKING MAD

Apologies for the bad language but I have NEVER been so angry in my LIFE.

I always arrive to pick up Aaron about 15 minutes early, and did so tonight.

Tonight after chatting for a while (to the nursery staff) 2 other children's parents still weren't there.

It turned out they were both experiencing the same train problem which I'd have been too if working.

My friend phoned me and asked if I could wait with her son at reception so at least the nursery ROOM staff could go home.

When I informed them they wouldn't agree to it unless she called back and told reception which she immediately did.

While I was in the cloakroom the other friend (1 of the 2) arrived as he'd taken a different route.  Unfortunately my other friend was still delayed as she'd waited at X station.

A lovely staff member put my friend's son's jacket on and took him to reception as she could see I had my hands full with Aaron.

I expected the boys to be a handful in reception (with Aaron maybe playing with the water cooler) but NO they were both impeccably behaved with my son sitting playing with one of those things where you move big wooden beads on curly wires attached to a board of wood, and my friend's son was happy to sit next to me, watching, and occasionally moving the beads too.  I kept saying "Well done boys" and "Good sharing".  This went on for quite some time and both boys were not at all boisterous.   It was a really relaxed atmosphere.  Then Aaron said "Where is Y's Mummy?" to which I said "she is on a slow train" and both boys giggled at that as I said slow very sloooowwwwwly.

What I am trying to say, is all I got from my friend's boy was smiles and him sitting next to me.  NO BOTHER WHATSOEVER from either boy........*

Anyway after quite some time sitting in reception, (all of the room staff had long since left) the 2 remaining Managers (who hadn't spoken to me once in all of this time) started putting on jackets and locking up and turning lights off so I worried and phoned my friend immediately.  Their train was ONE stop away.  I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief.  But after that they would have to drive to nursery so we were still looking at a minimum of 10 minutes till they arrive.

When the Manager started "kicking us out" to use her words, I said to her "well the good news is that they are at X station so I am comfortable with being kicked out"...

She said "it doesn't make a difference as the room closes at 6 and the nursery closes at 6:15 so we would have had to kick you out anyway".

I said "I would not have been comfortable with that as I am not his legal guardian, but can we just focus on the good news that they are nearby and not stuck at X".

She said "You agreed to collect him so we would have still kicked you out even if they were".

I said "I did not agree to collect him, I agreed to wait with him in reception".

To which she said "what you agreed with Mum is not the nursery's concern! As far as we are concerned you agreed to collect him, so you are the responsible adult".

I said "I did not agree to collect him, I agreed to wait with him in reception".

To which she said "we'll have to agree to disagree" to which I said "there is no disagreement, I did not agree to collect him".

To which she said something else inflammatory (I can't remember what) - it didn't come to a nice conclusion.

Then she had the cheek to come over and comment that my friend's boy did not have a hat, to which I said, "well he is being collected in a car so does not need one".

Anyway my OTHER friend who took the OTHER route was still there, and he had a spare had so leant it to Y.

We all left the building.

The 2 remaining Managers both got in cars, and once we'd all left the grounds: me and my friend on foot, with his girl and the 2 boys I had with me, I said to my friend, "can you believe what you heard?" and instead of being sympathetic he said you have to "choose your battles".

He showed his sympathy in other ways, by staying with us till the other boy's parents arrived.  We were at the end of walking on a long dark road when they did.  Aaron on reins and my friend's boy holding my hand.  The friend who was with me had his girl in a buggy.

I had the two boys (both without a buggy) - Aaron hasn't used it to and from nursery in WEEKS and the other boy did not need one as his Mum & Dad were stuck on the same train, and after that they hop in a car near the station to come and collect him and drive him home.

Bearing in mind this is the FIRST evening we have left nursery in the dark (Aaron doesn't attend nursery on Mondays and the clocks have just gone back), I was already worried about the journey home without having to do it with two 2 year olds.  Yes, two 2 year olds.

I am sorry but there are legal issues at stake here...... I know what I agreed to, and so does the person in the nursery who took the call from my friend.  She/he can give a statement tomorrow when I make my official complaint.

She was kicking us out EVEN if the parents were not near by.  Say I lost control and couldn't keep both boys with me and one of them ran in the road and got run over?  What then?

I am sorry but right now I am livid.

And when you are dealing with a sensitive situation why use inflammatory phrases like "kick out" and why dispute someone's version of events when there are LOTS of witnesses to what I agreed to.  I am sorry it is unacceptable, and we are talking about a public institution that deals with childcare and is public facing.  Sorry I expect more!

You have to remember a few things here:
  1. I was not the parents who were late.
  2. I am not listed as authorised to "collect" Y.
  3. Both boys were being very well behaved in reception.
  4. I was in a good mood as when I approached her I had a smile on my face about the fact that they were ONE stop away on the train.
  5. What I am trying to say is there was not any extenuating circumstances to explain her behaviour.
  6. In a public facing MANAGERIAL role there is NO excuse for how she behaved.
I WILL be speaking to her Manager tomorrow.  THANK GOD she is the boss's deputy and not the top boss.


*But what happens next is that the most senior person in the building, who should have known better decided to THROW HER toys out of HER pram and expect me to just take it on the chin....



I believe that the nursery were/are
  1. Legally responsible
  2. Insurance wise responsible
  3. Responsible as a childcare/education provider
  4. Morally responsible; and
  5. Ethically responsible.
Before I took on Head Office roles, I was a retail manager all of my working life since University and I have never and WOULD NEVER lock up a building with an outstanding concern that was MINE, to deal with as the acting manager on duty, and given the employers I have worked for, I have dealt with many many varied and serious issues, the likes of which would shock some.  To dash off because you have to cook 24 patties for "Foods from around the world day" tomorrow is unacceptable.  And because of this incident I will NOT be bringing any food in with me tomorrow and I will be complaining both in writing and verbally.

Paid like a manager ACT like a manager!!!!!!

And I am now editing, as Crystal Jigsaw on Twitter has reminded me about the money side of things.  With them both being two years old and each being there 3 days a week we each pay £588 a month.  So we are paying for a service and expect one.

And they can shove their fireworks night!

Don't Assume Anything: Thomas Land

Don't assume it'll be cold up North.
It wasn't.

Similarly, don't assume it'll be cold if you visit Thomas Land in October.
It wasn't ...  It was sunny in the morning and even when it clouded over our jackets were sufficient.

The ONLY time we could have done with gloves was when on the dizzy heights of the cable car (God I was scared and cold up there).

Don't assume you'll queue for a long time with it being half term.
We didn't.  The only thing we queued for a while for was the cable car and it wasn't anything close to the 90 mins we were queuing, on average, for rides in August.



Don't assume the only train is the Thomas one.  (In August we did, but not so today).
We went on a train journey in the Drayton Manor part of the theme park that we enjoyed way more.  Yes there wasn't the novelty of it being pulled by the Thomas steam engine but the scenery and ride was way better.  All 3 of us agreed on that.

Don't assume a 3 course meal on arrival at Drayton Manor Hotel will go to plan.
It was THE most stressful dinner I have ever experienced - more when I write in full about our stay.
 
Don't assume twin beds can easily be pushed together.
They can't, at least NOT easily!

Don't assume - in our case at least - that you'll stay till the rides close.
Daddy was in a strop so we pulled out of the hotel carpark at 16:30 despite the rides closing at, at LEAST 17:00.

Don't assume you'll be so busy you don't need a Thomas Train with you.
More on that when I write about our meal and our stay etc...

Don't assume you'll have anything like the same experience you had last time.
It was VERY different but we did have fun.

Don't assume your toddler will cry when you leave.
Aaron was SO tired, after (a) only 8 hours instead of 10 or 11 on Sunday night and (b) being in the theme park all day, meaning he had not had his afternoon nap (yes we pushed a buggy around ALL day that he did not sit in (or sleep in) once!!!! Ggggrrr! Because of this sleep deprivation, he willingly got into the car and slept for the first 2 hours of the car journey.  He's full of beans now we're home.

Don't assume that long car journeys are a nightmare with a toddler.
He slept all the way there, and the majority of the way home.

Don't assume Thomas Land is a once in a lifetime trip. 
This is our second trip this year.  Since we last went in August Aaron has said, everyday, since: "I want to go to Thomas Land".

Never a Newborn

As I was "large for dates" when I had Aaron, he never looked like a newborn. In 2010 he was born a massive 9 lbs 10 oz and when I sent pics to Ireland on SMS they said that child looks "fully reared". Now that I look back I see exactly what they mean.

If you adopted a baby a few months old and regret never holding a newborn, I also never held a fragile baby. He was robust and Aaron (high mountain) from day one. At a week old he was upright in my arms and pushed away lifting his body off my chest so as to turn to face the other way. The only time he let me cradle him was to feed -breast or bottle - and the rest of the time insisted on being upright at all times. He was strong minded from day one.

Now I see his character developing I can trace it back and and see the origins.
Being large for dates meant I had 3 scans.

It also meant I did the right thing in not purchasing a moses basket as it would have lasted no length.
Being large for dates when pregnant stays with us.  He is now 28 months but is in age 3-4 clothes.
My robust boy. He walked at 12 months.

I find myself being very nostalgic lately. I am sure it is down to the photo book of pictures of Aaron I have made my Mum for Xmas.

I have tried to insert a photo but as I am writing this post on my phone I fear it needs rotating and yet I took it the right way round... Anyway it is Aaron in the car right now sleeping.

What else can I say... Yeah the thing about age 3-4 clothes. It has no effect on vests.... Like I say he is 28 months yet all his 12-18 months vests still fit him. So don't assume they'll grow out of those unless of course they do.

So what's he in to? Well currently he loves Thomas, dinosaurs, Ice Age, and playing with his wooden Ikea train set.

If you have a nephew or any relative who is a 2 year old boy I can't recommend it enough. Aaron plays with it without fail every day and it was CHEAP. He goes into a really calm meditative state when playing with it which is a pleasure to see.  If you want to see what it looks like it is featured in my Silent Sunday post (immediately before this one).

Well looks like our car journey is nearly at an end so I may be wrapping this nostalgic post up.
Anyway I think it is safe to say I love my little man. He is definitely my shadow and I live for him.  He's now started to say "I love you" and it warms my heart in only a way he can.  Aaron I hope you read this onr day and know that you are my world.

Silent Sunday


Silent Sunday

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