Thursday, December 27, 2007

A manual of expectations

It's the holiday season and your kids go to daycare. Do you know the etiquette? I guess you are supposed to get your daycare providers holiday gifts of appreciation. But, as first time moms, we are confused. Or maybe a better term to use is clueless! Until this past week, the kids have gone to daycare just two days a week, since September. In the infant room, there are two regular teachers (I always feel weird calling an infant daycare provider "a teacher") and then there are other people who work in there as needed, some more regularly than others. Until today, we had not gotten them anything. When Penny dropped the kids off yesterday, she said she felt like she got a weird look and the vibe was kinda off. She called me and said, "I think we need to get them something."

They had sent home some little gifts for the kids, as well as some cute ornaments that they made for us with pictures of the kids. But, we (with our twinfants) are frazzled about, um, 99% of the time and days and weeks easily get away from us. In getting ready for weekend visitors and holiday festivities, we had not planned far enough in advance (which would have actually had to be by 12/21 because daycare was closed on the 24th and 25th), so the holiday came and went and we had not done anything for the daycare folks. Also, we are kinda broke right now! After a cross-country move and living on my new modest VT salary for the past few months, things are rather tight around here. Penny and I did not even buy each other Christmas presents! And the kids have everything they need, so we did not buy anything new for them either, unless you count bibs and little shoes that we recently ordered online.

Yesterday, I went to Dunkin*Donuts and got 4 gift cards: two for the main infant room teachers ($10 each) and two for the other most regular infant room providers ($5 each). Does this sound adequate? We did not get anything for the director of the daycare. Today I gave everyone a Dr. Suess holiday card, with their gift card, and a pic of the kids with santa at the mall. Any opinions on this? I hope it was good enough, even though they were not expensive or homemade or edible gifts. Well, they can buy DD edible goodies anyway! Honestly, it was the best we could do this year.

Sometimes we feel so clueless on this whole parenting thing. If only the kiddos came with a manual that told you real world practical information about stuff, including this type of holiday day care dilemma. Maybe I will write one, make my millions, and never have a lean Christmas again!


E said...

i've recently learned about this whole tipping/gift giving to childcare providers. honestly, i think it's nuts! it seems as though the gift giving this time of year extends so freaking far (and at a time when it seems so many people are trying to scale back their own giving). i don't understand why people expect gifts when the are doing a job you are paying them to do! maybe i am the crazy one, but it seems excessive to me. and i think it's rotten that the provider made penny feel weird about it.

Chris and Penny said...

well, that's exactly how i feel. on the one hand, i know they are taking care of our most precious babies. but, on the other hand, this day care is pretty expensive, we have two infants enrolled full time there, and just taking them there is pretty much breaking the bank. so, to add gifts on top of it, just kinda kills me...even though i feel that they are doing a good job and i trust them and i am so grateful that they seem to enjoy T&J so much. thanks for the validation, e. i appreciate it!!

Anonymous said...

The head teacher was always polite and I did not get the vibe from her. Rather it was the young teacher. PPerhapse her age was the cause. Ah well they do seem to like our babies a lot and I do not want that to change even if it means giving gifts. Penny

Anonymous said...

as a former child care provider getting gifts was an exception to the rule and it rarely happened. it was nice of you both to give something (and what you gave was perfectly appropriate) but i wouldn't worry too much about it. i don't think they would have held a grudge or remembered after a little bit. if you do continue to get them gifts think about something for the group as a whole to save some $$: maybe a DnD box-o-donuts or something. good luck with the rest of your holiday season and take good care! we hope we can see you all soon when you get a chance. much love- amber

AJ said...

I think the DD gift cards were appropriate, adequate, and I for one would love one!

Also, I decided I would write a post about bonus/gift giving to child-care providers, as not to overtake your comment section, from the perspective of a career nanny.