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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Just Bill Me. Please!

I've said before, I love my children's daycare. I know I am extremely lucky to have reliable, loving care for them at a place that is more than generous about accommodating the scheduling vagaries of a mother who works fulltime but not on a traditional 9-5 schedule.

So please take the following petty rant for what it's worth -- a bit of venting, and a question. In fact, I thought about posting this as a straightfoward rant on my new favorite blog, Secret Spineless Whine, but then I wouldn't be able to ask you what you thought, so it's going here. But you can take that impulse as a sign that I am fully aware that this may seem vaguely small-potatoes.

My daycare is DRIVING ME CRAZY at the moment with all the requests for an extra $3 here and $2 there. For holidays (mother's day, father's day, and Christmas -- yes, they are not apparently aware that every person in their daycare may celebrate something else over the Winter Break), there is the obligatory $5 per child that we bring in to fund the gifts they will make us.

Then there's $2 for the pumpkin festival in fall, and $4 once a month for the visiting magician, and $1 for the pizza for the Valentine's party, and $1 for the ice cream party in summer, and sign-up sheets and/or money donations for the parties to celebrate Valentine's day, Easter, the spring tea, 4th of July, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas.

Let's do the math, shall we.

$4 per child
times approximately 150 children old enough to watch the magician


Either this magician can actually make things disappear, or he is really a lawyer and sets his hourly rates accordingly, or someone's getting ripped off because I don't know any child's entertainer who should be making $400 per hour, and his shows are never more than an hour and a half.

And yet, do you want to know the crazy thing? I don't even mind the money that much. The kids are having all kinds of good times, and doing fun projects, and having festive meals, and being entertained by a hilarious man with jokes about the days of the week, "Let's see," he begins to recite slowly, "Sun-day, Mon-day, Tues-day, Wednes-day, February, March...." "Noooooooooooo!" shout all the children in glee, and then come home and repeat the joke ad nauseum for a week or two, when they blissfully forget it until he comes back the next month.

I don't mind paying for these things.

What I resent is that I invariably need to provide a random $2 for one child or the other for some event whose fine print I have missed in the 275 sheets of paper sent home daily, and it is due TODAY, and I have no cash in my purse.

And then I feel guilty. And stupid. And like a bad mother for obviously not reading every word of every page of every art project, note and heart-shaped reminder that gets sent home.

This month alone, I owe $9 for the magician (x 2 children) and the Valentine's pizza. Fine. Here's an idea: add it to my bill! The place charges my credit card every single week anyway. Why not tabulate the "extras" fees at the beginning of every month, and add $9 to the bill in the first week. Then add $5 next month, and $7 the month after, and who knows what else after that...

But the point is, don't ask me for petty cash. I don't have a petty cash drawer in my office. I rarely use cash for purchases any more. And when I do have cash, it's almost always because I've specifically withdrawn some to pay the babysitter or some other earmarked fund.

Also? I have to remember to bring sleeping blankets, show and tell, lunch boxes, boots, snowpants, hats, mittens, spare clothes for the one who had an accident last week when the fire alarm woke her up mid-naptime, a container of baby wipes, a box of tissues, and a green paper leaf plastered with photos of the family for the wall-sized family tree. Do you think I can remember to dig $4 in quarters out of my change cup for the holiday party contributions too? You're darn lucky I didn't forget the children themselves.

So please, if you are going to do all these lovely extra things that cost extra money, could you just add the fees to my bill? You're stressing me out with your cute heart-shaped reminders to bring $1 today.

Am I crazy? What do you think?


San Diego Momma said...

Definitely they should total how much the incidentals and entertainment will cost each month and just add it to your bill.

This would annoy the living hell out of me...b/c it's so random and intermittent. There's no way to stay on top of what all is owed and for what, especially if you are working fulltime.

And guess what? I hear kindergarten (which my daughter starts in Sept.) is all kinds of worse what with the fundraisers and pizza days and field trips and other stuff to remember and forget.

Just thought i'd end on a good note.

Ashlie- Mommycosm said...

I totally agree. It should be added to your bill. That would drive me nuts.

LceeL said...

I agree - it should be part of hte tuition calculation.

Angie said...

Why not just up tution by $5-10 per month and just not charge extra each month? I think it's ridiculous to charge for each little thing. Makes me appreciate my daycare even more.

Rachel said...

You're not crazy. Sounds like a pain in the ass. It also sounds a lot like public elementary school, so at least you'll be prepared for that.

Maybe you could suggest they just tally up the 'extra' costs and figure it into the tuition. Wouldn't that make more sense? That's what my son's pre-school does and they do a TON of extra stuff like this.

Also, just what do they do if a parent forgets to bring in the money? Not let the kid watch the magic show? Not eat the pizza?

Marinka said...

I so agree. Maybe they think that if they bill you $50 once, people will get upset, so they try to break it into smaller denominations? At least they're not there asking for 25cents every morning.

(and thanks for the shoutout! We love your whines)

Heather of the EO said...

This is exactly how I feel about the stuff at my boy's preschool. A note for everything...reminders, reminders, reminders, notes, notes, notes.

I just said to one of the other moms..."oh, yeah...I probly didn't read that...it's probly still on the passenger seat in my car..."

She wasn't impressed.

But there are TOO many. So I just toss some of them aside. Then I wait for one of the teachers to remind me that I owe something or should bring something. sigh.

I definitely vote for just tacking these things on to the bill. There's already enough to keep track of. So no, you're not crazy!

Magpie said...

That's crazy. It's not like those things are optional, like late fees or field trips. They should be built into the tuition. That's how ours did it.

anymommy said...

Ack. This would drive me nuts too. But then again, I was the only mother in the entire toddler coop class who forgot Valentine's cards today. And, I revoked sweets for my daughter for the day, but I totally forgot about the V-day thing, so I had to hold her while 16 other kids ate cupcakes and she sobbed into my shoulder.

She's going to need therapy.

Wait, what were we talking about? They should bill it!

Amber said...

I don't think you're crazy. If this was a random occurrence it would be one thing. But since it regularly happens, I might just mention how you feel about being nickel-and-dimed!

missELAINEeous said...

I'm a nanny to my 17 month old little brother, not yet a mother, and I was exhausted reading your blog. I cannot believe all the expectations! I totally think they should add the entertainment expenses to your bill. Did you suggest it? If you feel like this, chances are there are dozens of other parents that do as well.

calicobebop said...

Not crazy at all! We get nickle and dimed to death as well - especially in the summer when there is a new field trip every week. Gah!

pb&j in a bowl said...

I whole heartedly agree with you. It should just be billed onto your account.

Oh- and I now want to be a clown, now that I know what they make

BusyDad said...

I hear ya! But you know what's even worse to me? All the damn fundraising! They send your kid home with catalogs full of useless trinkets and 1970's candy and expect you to sell $800 dollars' worth by the end of the month. Hell, if I could push $800 of this stuff on hapless neighbors, I'd be in a totally different line of work making gobs of money. And then when you bring it back with just one order for a microwave vegetable steamer for yourself because you felt bad wrecking your child's ego by sending him back emptyhanded, they make you feel bad about it. "Oh I see you have no friends or relatives."

Momisodes said...

That would drive me bonkers. I hate being nickel and dimed after already paying for a service.

Lori said...

I totally get where your coming from. I NEVER have cash on me. Ever.


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