thought I’d write a little bit about childcare today. You started there just under 3 months ago now, and since I wrote about it with a little negativity when your first started quite a few people have written to me or asked about how it is going.
And generally, the answer is pretty good. This week in particular you seem to be getting into the groove of it. But it has been up and down. However I struggle to put my finger on exactly what it is that has made it so up and down and generally uncomfortable for me, and have had many discussions with many people about it.
Childcare is a difficult thing. To do or not to do, in the first instance. We decided when you got the spot in the favoured daycare at about six months of age, that you were tooooooo small. And I am happy with that decision. You were too small. And luckily for us, your lovely Aunt R1 was available to help look after you, so I was able to return to part-time work knowing you were being cared for by a loving family member (who incidentally lived in our home so no pick-up and drop-off dramas either) two days a week. But I guess not everyone has that opportunity. We were lucky, as were you.
We debated about what the ‘right’ time to start was? For us, we decided that the answer is there isn’t one, and it works differently for everyone, based on needs, their child, availability of a spot, and a multitude of other factors. Some people I know put their children in care as they had to go back to work but weren’t happy about it. A few of the mother’s I met in mother’s group are having some pressure put on them by their partners NOT to use childcare as they think the best care is at home. Some kids at the childcare you go to seem to start one day and be 100% settled the next, some seem to be crying each day when I turn up despite the fact they’ve been there the same time as you. All so variable. And also hard is the time it takes: we don’t just throw you out of our arms and leave, or pick you up and go, we make an effort to spend some time in your room playing with you and the carers so you get to show us your space and you’re comfortable that we like being there too. So even though it’s only 5 minutes from our house, the drop-off and pick-up adds about an hour and a half to a working day… Something no-one ever mentioned to me when I was kid-less.
And for you? Well, you’re getting used to it now. You understand when I say, “we’re going to kindy”, I’m sure, as two weeks ago they set up a little play area in your room with a heap of those coloured plastic balls, and when I said last week that we were going to kindy you started to sign “ball, ball” madly. And then as soon as we got there you leapt out of my arms and ran over to climb in the area and play with the balls.
And yesterday, well. You cried when I went to leave. But stopped before I’d even left the room. So I know you were happy there. And we have a few friends who have kids in the same room as you, and they mention that you are always playing and happy when they drop-off / pick-up their kids.
I haven’t even mentioned yet that I feel totally comfortable with the centre and the staff and all of that. I just wouldn’t even consider leaving you there if that weren’t the case. So that is all good.
But I still miss you. About 2:30 or 3:00 pm on the days you’re there I start to pine, and wonder what you’re doing and how it is going… And I feel a bit guilty that I’ve left you there. For no specific reason. Just general mother’s guilt.
Some of the things you really enjoy and I like are that they feed you, so you get some different foods to what we give you at home. And they seem to have a great healthy variety of food prepared on-site by their chef. Which is great. And you seem to eat well there. So that is good. Also, you love to draw with crayons, and paint and some of the activities we just don’t get time to do very often at home (though I think that will change as you get bigger and it’s not so messy – ie. more like eating paint and covering yourself from head-to-foot). And you love the huge sandpit they have, and now you’re a bit bigger, you’re allowed out in it with the bigger kids, so you get to watch them which is a boon for you too…
So. Childcare is working out. You’re starting to really enjoy it. We’re getting a bit more used to it.
P.s. and yes, it is true, you’ve had a permanent runny nose since starting there. People told me you’d be sick for three months. You have a few days off and then back you go for a round of re-infection and cross-contamination with the other gorbolies in your group.