Q&A: concerns with daycare caregiver

Annie writes:

"My son is 16 months and we have been pretty happy with the day care but recently we’ve noticed that one of his providers seems very attached.  She is constantly raving and talking about him during drop off and pick up and on my lunch break when I visit for about 30 min.  She does this in front of other parents too.  Recently when I was asking my son for a hug good bye he had been standing next to her and gave her a hug- she immediately said “I love your hugs, go give your ‘birth Mommy’ a hug.”  This really upset me.  Lately I feel she has been monopolizing my time with him during my visits- hugging him, dancing with him and reading to him while I’m there visiting.  This is my time with my son and I’m worried that she is developing some unhealthy obsession.  I am happy that my son is “loved” and well thought of at day care but is this too much?"

That would freak me right out.

She seriously called you his "birth Mommy?"

It seems clear to me that you need to talk to the director of the center about this. Mention that you think it's a little strange that the caregiver seems to take such ownership of your child, and calls you his "birth Mommy." I'd also mention that she doesn't seem to want to allow you to have time alone with him when you visit.

In all likelihood, she's just taken with your son because he's so sweet and above-average. But it's still not appropriate behavior, and the director of the center should know about it and have a chance to respond.

Has anyone else dealt with anything like this? I've had friends who felt like their babysitters were getting extremely close to their kids, but it seems different in a daycare center situation. As if part of what you choose when you choose a center is knowing that there's some distance between the caregivers and the kids, that they're more like teachers than relatives (which is what I think babysitters can become).