Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day care days ahead: Part I

I'll start by a side note to say thank you for your comments on my last post. Gummy has, as I hoped, knitted her morning nap to her night sleep. We've been waking up at 7am in our house lately. How civilized.

Funny how life changes so much in one year. Last year in September, I was having all kinds of foreboding ultrasound detecting large SCHs and other possible horrible things that could kill or maim my fetus (amniotic bands, anyone?). This year in September, I'm awaiting the fall activities we've signed up for to start (next week!) and wrapping my mind around my baby's impeding participation in day care.

I'm going back to work in March. If only you lived in Canada and got a year of maternity leave. Yes. I too wish you lived in a communist country that supports child and maternal (and paternal) health. It remains, and I'm not complaining just stating, that 12 months is not the best time for a child to separate from her primary caregiver. Just as you're dropping off the little grasshopper, she is at the peak of her separation anxiety days. What fun that will be.

Having become aware of the aura of stress around day care from everyone who had babies before me (which, at 39, that's the majority of my friends), I knew to start the search early. So I called up the place where Sattva sent her kids when I was about 5-6 months pregnant. They wouldn't put Gummy's name on the list because Gummy is apparently not an appropriate name for a child*. Harumph. This meant that as soon as I managed to prop myself back up after the birth and ensuing circus, I got on the day care mission. I saw a couple and settled on one I didn't really love, but had a full time spot for Gummy starting in February, making a good transition time when she would start day care and I would still be at home. It was there I learned there are only 56 spots for infants (< 18 months) in our entire city (in registered day care centres).

So, that was settled. It wasn't great, but it was adequate, which I came to believe was the best I could hope for.

Three weeks ago, Mr. A started talking about staying home with Gummy. That sounded better than any day care centre. But I was against becoming the sole breadwinner in the family. 'I will resent you. And you will resent yourself', I told Mr. A, and he could see my point. Part time day care was now our focus.

The mediocre day care doesn't accept infants part-time, so we had to find something else. Also, mediocre day care is on my way to work, at the other end of town, but not a place where Mr. A could fetch Gummy on foot or bike.** And so for those days when I'll need to stay later at work, picking up Gummy would be a logistic tour-de-force, involving car seat transfers and taxis (or cross-country skis on a snowy day, Mr. A noted).

The day care centre 2 streets over had been on my mind. I never had a great impression of it, but our good friends sent their son there from 12 to 24 months of age. And they had many more positive things than negative things to say about it. We went for a tour recently. I liked it less than mediocre day care centre. But they can take Gummy in April, part-time. This means she can stay home 2 days with Mr. A and be at day care only 3 days, with some early pick-ups when her dad is available. And it would be for a year to 18-months at the most. After that, she would go to a different day care centre because there are many more toddler spots in the city.

I wish I had more choice in the manner, but it feels like we need to take what we can get given the dearth of spots.*** I have so many criteria in my head about what constitutes good childcare, and these places are falling short on many of them. And I know my expectations are pie in the sky, and that Gummy will do fine given some basic care. But she's my precious girl. I want only the best of the best for her.

More on day care later. It's all the time I've got for now. Yikes! Is time for my own interests ever scarce these days. More on that too, whenever I can write.



* They have a policy of only putting babies' names on the list and not fetuses. The nerve.
**I'm the only one with a car in our family.
*** There are many home day care arrangements, but I do not want her in a home day care for a number of reasons. The main reasons being that there are practically no regulations around home child care arrangements so if something goes wrong, there is very little recourse with the law or regulatory bodies.  

12 comments:

  1. that 12 months is not the best time for a child to separate from her primary caregiver. Just as you're dropping off the little grasshopper, she is at the peak of her separation anxiety days. What fun that will be.

    This is one reason why I'm so happy, both then and in retrospect, that Gwen started daycare around 4 months. She only did 20 hours a week for the first 10 months, but it meant that we've basically never had separation anxiety -- she's used to being around other adults and other children, and thrives on it. I got my sanity-saving time-away-from-baby, but still got to spend time with her every morning and all day Friday, and then when we moved when she was 14 months and she started daycare full time, the transition (once we got over the week she was sick and we didn't realize it, and THAT was why she cried and cried and cried) was easy.

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    1. What a super smart move on your part, mama! I'm glad little Gwen got settled into a daycare routine early, and that you never had to face the heart wrenching day care drop offs.
      Thanks for sharing your story, Aryanhwy.

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  2. I am surprised at how few spots there are for babies in the area. Hoping that you and Mr. A find a solution that brings you both peace!

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    1. I was surprised too, for a city of 100k+.
      Thanks for your lovely comments, Dspence. I always appreciate them.

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  3. I started leaving Tatoe with a friend (for a kid-swap) when he was about 10 or 11 months old (I think, it's all gone a bit dim). He didn't have as much separation anxiety as I thought he would. So what I'm trying to say is, she'll cry, but I hope it won't be for long. Also, in my next life, I plan to be Canadian.

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    1. I think your reincarnation plans are fabulous.

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  4. Uggh. This is HARD ON MAMAS. I'm sorry you don't get to choose the most perfect option from a set of perfect options. I completely agree that Gummy will be okay in the end, though. She's got amazing parents, plus there's her Aunt Bunny, whose internet love will keep her safe. I think a not-perfect place three days a week for six months is a really good solution given the options--from what I hear, people often end up hating the daycare place they thought was going to be SO GREAT, and loving the one they ended up with... Sigh.

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    1. Gummy misses her aunt Bunny. She just told me yesterday that her aunt Bunny's love would keep her safe at the awful day care centre. So, given that the two of you have said this to me ON THE SAME DAY, I have no choice but to trust it.

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  5. IF heaven forbid "soemthing goes wrong" having legal options will be the least of your concerns. No idea if a nanny at your home is better or not .... or what sort of person in your area does nanny work. Child care is a HUGE issue from birth til age 12... and then it is overcome by teen worries. There are NO perfect answers. MUCH SYMPATHY, it is a tough problem.

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  6. Thanks for sharing, Augusta. I'm sorry all the options are sub-par, and that there are so few spots for infants to begin with (why? lack of demand?). I think your last point is so very understandable -- she'll be fine, but she is your precious daughter, and you want the best scenario, not just "fine". I hope it turns out to be a good choice, also for Mr. A - I think it's great he wants to be home with Gummy.

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    1. Gummy is a HUGE fan of her daddy. So her being home with him 2 days a week tops any amazing day care spot we could find.
      Thanks for your comment, dear woman.

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