26 June 2007
Since when does good mommy = horrible person?
I feel like a schmuck. I really do. At the crèche we’ve been having a problem. There’s a biter. He only bites four of the kids there, but two of those four happen to be mine. And apparently he bites randomly. No one needs to provoke him. So Friday when I picked Monkeys 1 & 2 up I went rather ballistic when the Directrice pointed out that Christine had been bitten again (her second time—Matthieu’s already had two bites, one of which you can still see some five weeks later, poor kid).

I took her to the doctor to have the bite constaté, which IS NOT reimbursed by the Secu thankyaverymuch. I got the schpeal from the doctor about how we need to look into the situation with the biter because This Is Not Normal. (No shit, Sherlock. That’s kind of why I’m here.) Then I fumed all evening, all through Marc’s concert, all weekend and part way into Monday morning. I composed a thousand letters to the CdC who runs the crèche telling them they need to get a policy for dealing with this kind of shit because everyone there feels their hands are tied—can’t literally kick the kid out, can’t punish him, etc.—because the next time it happens I’m taking my kids out AND suing.

Thus I was all puffed up Monday morning when I went in to see the Directrice again to inform her off all this stuff, my iron resolve in making sure that no one bites my kids (without reason—self defense is quite another thing) ever again. Then poof, she knocks the wind out of my sails.

See, the kid in question is a placement kid. He’s been put there by the French version of Social Services because they too are at their wits end. I’m not quite sure where he goes at night. It’s not like they have an orphanage around here but apparently there are no real parental type people involved in his care. He’s had a long line of assistantes maternelles looking after him, but apparently they change rather often as well. And the Directrice, too, is at her wits end with this kid. Apparently the biting is just the tip of the iceberg. He’s got severe social problems, ones that they aren’t equipped to deal with at the crèche. So she’s assured me that the PMI case worker is taking him out and looking for another solution.

And now I feel horrible. I am a heartless, mean person. Here’s this kid with difficulties, stuck in a system that’s not working and here I go and turn my back on him, too. Where’s the line in cases like this? I need to protect my children from a threat—and yes biting is a horrible thing. It leaves scars, can cause horrible infections, and traumatizes those who are bitten—can even turn them into biters themselves and in our house, that just ain’t gunna happen. Heads will roll first. But I feel that I have some civic responsibility to this kid, because honestly if he’s got this many problems at this age (he’s around two), then things are going to get mighty rough in the future. Shuffling him around might be easy for the moment, but in the long run it’s doing him, and society, more harm than good.

Gah! Why can’t parenting be easy?
posted by Doc at 10:11 | Permalink |


  • At 12:34, Blogger Jennifer

    Poor kid. I hope somebody can intervene and get him the help he needs before he gets any older!

  • At 16:45, Blogger Heather

    Jennifer - you are obviously a compassionate person and I love that. Nobody wants to see their kids getting bitten, for all of the reasons you stated, but then this kid obviously has a crap life. What a bind. Don't they have fostering programs in France? There has to be someone who could take him in and give him a stable life and see to his needs. So sad.

    It's nice to know you care in light of the incidents - you are a TRUE mommy!

  • At 18:55, Blogger Poppy Fields

    I can only hope that kid is found by some saintly assistant maternal that has the time and patience he is going to need. His whole future depends on it. But as a mother of young children, you have to focus your attention and protection on your own kids. Don't feel guilty, but don't lose your compassion for kids like him either.

  • At 06:12, Blogger Catherine

    You did the right thing by addressing it, D. I admire your compassion, but a mom's gotta do what a mom's gotta do to protect her babies, right??

  • At 11:43, Blogger jchevais

    Cut yourself some slack, woman!

    This is not the first time that your kids have been bitten. The Directrice should have addressed this correctly the first time (or at the very least, the evening of the second time), rather than letting your maternal instincts stew in its own juices for an entire weekend.

    A mother's job is to protect her young. The fact that the kid in question is a mis-handled product of the French system is out of your control. It doesn't make your instincts less appropriate, nor does it make you a heartless or horrible person.

    However, not all French civil servants being equal, I wonder if the Directrice told you "des salades" just to get you off her back. She is responsable for the kids' actions while he is in her establishment and any wrongdoing on his part is still her responsability even if he is a state-raised child (BTW: WTF? Kids don't get punished in your crèche?... Excuse me? Sounds like that kid does need some parental love - which also means setting limits).

    Nothing like a little guilt to make one think twice about their own motivations...

    And though I may sound like a heartless bitch myself in this comment, I do hope that that kid gets the help, love AND parental guidance he needs to make him a responsable human being. Fingers crossed for him.

  • At 11:46, Blogger Pardon My French

    You are a good person, Doc. I think did the right thing by seeing the directrice, because she needs to know and document what happens and maybe that will help him in the long run. You didn't turn your back on this poor guy by taking this issue to the directrice. He needs to be in a supportive environment where he's also not a danger to other children. It sounds like he definitely needs some intervention but maybe the creche isn't the place he needs to be right now if they can't give him individualized attention.

  • At 15:39, Blogger Deb

    I would have done the same exact thing that you did. It's unfortunate that the other child is having problems, but you have to look out for your own kiddies. Besides, I am sure others complained about him too.

    Since he is only around 2, he is not totally beyond help. Let's just hope they can get it for him.