I woke up this morning and my child seemed to look more like a boy than a baby. Wow.
Today he goes back to daycare after almost a full week home with us, a week where my husband spent two full days in a Theraflu-induced coma and I crashed into sickness almost the moment he recovered. We’re tired. We’re spent. We’re over it.
But it’s almost never a good idea to change positions when under duress. I believe this deeply – preach it regularly at work — and am trying to hold the line here at home.
When under stress, all the bad is amplified. Think about it: did cavemen stop and look for the bright side when they felt threatened? Not if they wanted to live. I spent my twenties following my instincts to make a change when things went wrong, the bigger the change, the better, and I don’t think that was a bad way to live back then. Now, though, our change comes in increments rather than big bangs of world-is-upside down, and so, ironically, every one gets more thought than before.
Here’s where I am today:
I remain committed to the principles that brought me to daycare in the first place: in being part of a group, of not being the most important person all the time, of learning to wait one’s turn, of relying on other people for care and affection, of seeing how others do things and adopting parts of that for oneself, of dealing with social challenges and transitions and change and trusting that it will all be okay, somehow and always. These are skills learned through practice, and though I’d prefer to keep my child in a happy, stable bubble, doing so now will make it harder for him to handle change later.
I love the people who work at our daycare. I believe they have my child’s best interests firmly in the forefront of everything they do. I know they care for him with affection and know his personality. I see that he enjoys being there, even if he does wish he could stay attached to me (literally) the whole time. I think that getting a break from me – and our home and our stuff – is good for him.
After a week of being with us non-stop, my in-laws came over for a couple of hours yesterday and sent us away. “Go anywhere,” they said, “but go.” We ran errands, nothing really awesome, but it was so nice to be away and together without the stress, albeit low-level, of having our son with us. He was with people who really cared about him and doted on him more than our weary selves could, and we were able to go where our whims led us (Best Buy and the bookstore – clearly we are new parents, eh?).
I still dream of an in-home helper who would take care of all of us – Javi, Joey and I, the animals. That’s the enticement of a nanny for us, having a backup for the two of us when we’re sick or tired or out of town (yes, we’d be taking Javi). But I’m not sure I’m willing to pay what a good nanny should be willing to accept, and I prefer my employees to choose to be where they are every day, comfortable they’re being compensated well for their skillset even if some days are harder than others. Sure, we could probably find someone for comparable cost to daycare, but it’s not a living wage. If you’re great at what you do, why would you accept less than a living wage?
We debated in-home daycare but (if I’m being honest) my associations were too strong and too negative. I don’t want to spend the next few months on hyper-alert because I’m trying to counteract my preconceived ideas. Why? Other than a small cost benefit, we don’t gain much against our goals over daycare.
Today Javi goes back to daycare. I will have a chat with the director about hand-washing guidelines and hosing down the kids before they switch classrooms. I will watch him like a hawk for signs of additional sickness.
And I will breathe, relax back into my daily routines, and only then decide if we should be changing our childcare solution. We’re still open to the idea of a summer college-aged nanny. With the limited time between now and Montessori, I’m not worried about any long-term lack of socialization and it would be nice to get some help before we start our new routine. But, worst case, we stick to what we’re doing knowing it’ll all be changing in six months anyway.
Thank you all for sharing your experiences. I’ve gone back and read your comments over and over, and regardless of the direction we choose to go, I’m always comforted that there are so many right ways to raise a child. Somehow that makes our decisions feel less weighty. We’ll pick from many options, hoping we chose the best one, but knowing there are quite a few right ones.
Javi is just shy of nine months, crawling like a fiend and climbing everything he can including humans and animals and anything unstable and challenging.