I'm currently having a bit of a dilemma with one of my daycare kids. His parents haven't been paying me on time, they never really have from the get-go, but it's been getting progressively worse. They have explained that they are struggling financially right now-but sheesh, who isn't? I really should just give them a 2-week notice and be done with it.
But...I like this kid a lot. He's 9 and unlike most of the other kids I've had in my care, this young man is very respectful and polite. He always asks to get a drink even though I let all the kids help themselves. When one of the other boys called him on this, saying, "You don't have to ask, this is daycare." This boy said, "It doesn't matter. If I'm at someone else's house I always ask." He never misses a "please" or "thank you" or "goodbye" either.
He also gets along well with the other kids. He doesn't have issues of always having to be right, or trying to act like top dog, or setting bad examples for the others. In fact he almost always has his homework done before he gets off the bus, or does it immediately without being told. He will play just as well with the other boys as with the girls. He will even sit and play a game of Candyland with 5 year old Nat.
His parents however, will avoid coming to get him when they owe money, sending his older brother instead. They owed me 4 weeks of care and when they finally paid me, they were $20 short. They now owe me for another week and a half plus the $20. His dad told me how they're struggling, and how sorry he was he couldn't pay on time, but we're struggling as well and $30-$40 a week is kind of a big deal to me.
This boy has also been having migraine headaches and his folks have had to take him to specialists and get MRIs to find out what's going on with him so I know that's an added expense they're dealing with. This last weekend he went back to Stanford for test results, and on Monday when he came off the bus, he told me that the tests showed that he doesn't have a brain tumor. Gosh, can you imagine a 9 year-old boy having to comprehend something like that? And he was so grown up about it when he told me. I guess they still don't know what's causing the headaches though.
So here I am thinking, his parents have been flaky, non-communicative and avoiding, it's very likely that they'll string me along and throw me a bone once in a while, but chances are I won't ever get paid in full. It's the principal of the thing and I should just tell them I can't watch their child anymore.
But then, I'm quitting daycare come June, so even if I did quit watching this boy, I wouldn't fill his spot anyway. If this had been any other kid I would've canceled our contract long ago. I feel like I'm being used, but then on the other hand I like having this boy around. At this point I'm leaning towards just getting whatever I can out of his parents and writing off the rest on next year's taxes as a loss. Oh, well...