I love me some Mondays

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.


4 thoughts on “I love me some Mondays

  1. “So many right ways to raise a child.”

    After a rather intense facebook barrage of “There is only one way to raise a child and it is MINE” messages over the last week… it is so good to read that.

    For what it’s worth, it appears to be the truth. And I’m sure you are doing a very good job.

    Take good care of yourself.

    • @Beka, That always boggles my mind. If every kid is different, just like every other human on the planet, AND my situation is different, and we as parents are different, and our budgets and backgrounds and beliefs and goals are different, then how can one way be the right way? It’s so crazy to me. For what other area in our lives do we believe that to be the case? We respect people’s choices in spouses and lifestyles and careers and weddings and money-spending and so many other things….

      Sigh. It’s mama-guilt gone haywire.

  2. As we dropped my just shy of 9 month old at daycare this am, my husband commented that he looks like a little boy. Whoa– I already miss the baby-ness!
    My son has been sick a couple times this winter (we refer to it as ‘daycare cough’ which is much like ‘kennel-cough’ that our puppy gets after his stay at doggie daycare) and he did have HFM but we didn’t realize it until I developed it too! We thought Alex had an allergic reaction to yogurt which he had tried for the first time right before his mouth sores developed. Then I thought I was run over by a truck, fever and then the worst sore throat ever– was sure it was strep. I baffled my doctor and then I woke up with little burn-like marks all over my fingers and some on my feet. I finally figured it out, and poor baby didn’t stay home one day from daycare. He seems to not get fevers above 100… weird.
    I think of it as a building of his immunity, and he’ll miss less school when they are learning to read and important math skills.
    I would love to be movie-star rich and have many nannies and cooks and the works- but alas, I’m not. So I love our daycare and I remain as friendly as I can with Alex’s teachers. I bake them stuff and bring things in for every holiday— and I think they appreciate it and I like to think it transfers to Alex. But I’m sure they care for every baby the same but as long as Alex smiles when he is dropped off and even bigger when I pick him up– I’m OK with daycare.
    Glad you are feeling better!

  3. Thanks for posting, we are going through the same thoughts right now with daycare. RSV and HFM was going around. All of a sudden she got sick and come to find out it was actual H-Flu (Hib) which is a bacteria! She was in the hospital for a day and home for another two. Its so tough but glad he’s doing better.

    I know want you mean about 9 months being the point they start looking like little kids, its so sad!

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