I’m Not Ready For This

We’ve been pretty lucky as far as childcare goes. When Peanut was born, my  husband was working from home so when I went back to work after my 3-month-maternity leave, he was essentially a stay-at-home Dad. It was awesome. He would text me pictures throughout the day and I always felt good knowing she was with her Dad. Then, when The Nut was 6 months old, my husband got a job in an office but he was still able to work from home twice a week. Though it was difficult for him to really be productive as she started to get more and more rambunctious, they still enjoyed their time together. We found a nanny for the other 3 days of the week which has worked out really well. About 5 months ago, my husband got a new job that required him to be in the office 5 days a week so my Mother has been taking care of Peanut on the days we don’t have the nanny. We’ve been through a lot of changes in the last year-and-a-half but everything’s been a pretty smooth transition.

Lately though, we’ve really been feeling like our Nut is ready for something more. She doesn’t get a lot of interaction with other kids and I’m worried that she isn’t getting enough stimulation. When it was nice outside, she’d generally get to the playground for an hour or so each day but she rarely went on any structured playdates. And now that it’s cold out, there a days when she doesn’t see a single person other than me, my husband or the nanny. When she gets around other kids, she kind of just stares at them, as if they’re aliens that she’s never seen before. So I guess she needs some more socialization.

We had been tossing around the idea of daycare for a little bit but not in any serious way until a few weeks ago when we went to visit a new daycare that I read about online. As soon as we walked in, we loved it and felt really comfortable there. We loved the space, the light, the teachers and the art-based philosophy that will guide their day. And so, we decided to go for it. Peanut will be starting daycare in a week and I’m freaking out.

Now I’ve started to question everything and I’m filled with worry. Is she really ready? Will she get along with the other kids? As someone who has never had to compete for attention, will she get lost in the crowd? Since she won’t sleep anyplace other than her crib, will she be able to nap there? Will she understand that the toys there aren’t her toys and she’ll have to share? Since we’ve always had a nanny or my Mom come to our apartment, we’ve been able to lounge around in our pajamas for a while without rushing. If I’m working nights, there are days she stays in her pajamas right through her nap. We can usually have a fairly leisurely morning until I have to get ready for work. Now though, with daycare starting between 8-9am, there won’t be anymore relaxed, leisurely mornings. In fact, we might have to start waking her up just to be able to get her there on time. Will this be too stressful for her? And for us? Are we ready for this?

The hardest part is that my husband and I work unconventional hours. We’re not a 9-5 family. My husband works until about 8:30pm and my schedule varies so that I could either be at work until 7, 8 or even 9pm. This makes picking her up from daycare (between 5-6pm) pretty tough. Hiring someone just to pick her up, take her home and give her dinner is a bit difficult because most people don’t want to work only 3 hours a day -and in the evening, no less- plus there are some days I can be home earlier so that person would only work for about 1 hour. That’s not exactly an enticing job prospect for anybody.

We’re still trying to figure out all the details of this and finding that none of it is easy. Besides the logistics (which seem ridiculously hard), the emotional aspect of it is weighing on us. Am I over thinking things? Do I need to just let go? And where did my little baby go? Oy, I need to slow down time somehow.

Anyway, here’s a picture of Peanut that always makes me smile. Sorry for the blurriness, but my Mom took it and just between you and me, she’s not the greatest photographer in the world. She is, however, the greatest Grandmother in the world and boy, does The Nut love her.

 

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6 thoughts on “I’m Not Ready For This

  1. I think you will be both pleasantly surprised and a little down when you realize how much she will love it! She will have lots of friends to play with and new toys and it will be exciting. I’m a stay at home mom but both of my boys did a Mother’s Day Out program (three days a week from 9-1). They loved/love it. Our two year old loves going to his Froggy Room and seeing all of his friends. She will probably cry and be mad for the first little while when you drop her off. Do yourself and the daycare workers a favor and just leave. Even if she’s screaming, just leave. It’s heart wrenching and you will feel awful but do it anyway. A few minutes after you leave she will have settled down. I would do this with both of mine and it never lasted long. Isn’t parenting with all the myriad of things to think about and consider fun?! Good luck! She will love it, though! 🙂

  2. Melissa is right on target with her comments – you need to prepare to leave quickly when the time comes – no matter how loudly Bambino may protest. No problem there if you have an iron will.
    The tougher problem you face is the pickup time – is it 5-6pm with no flexibility? Do you sometimes have late work every day in a single week? One possibility: high school or college girl who lives in the neighborhood. When my wife and I had this problem, we lived juust one block from Vassar College. That won’t help you. I’ll be curious to hear your solution.

  3. Good for you guys! I agree with Melissa completely. It’s amazing how resilient kids are – we all have the same worries, but most kids end up loving daycare and adapt very quickly. Most daycare providers would also agree with walking away if she cries the first few times, as kids usually stop as soon as their parents are out of sight. Be prepared to feel a little down, as Melissa said, when she runs to the daycare and doesn’t look back. (It will probably feel like a kick in the stomach at first, especially if she won’t kiss you good-bye, ugh!)

    I switched from an in-home nanny to a daycare when my twins were about 18 months, and it was fantastic. They were SO much more social, happy, and stimulated. My first daughter had been in a daycare since she was 5 months old. Eleven years later, she’s still best friends with those kids. Trust me, it’s much easier to make that change with a toddler. She will be able to tell you (in one way or another) if she doesn’t like it there. With an infant, it’s almost impossible to know, which adds to the stress immensely.

    As for logistics – that’s tough! At one point I was looking for similar help – it’s amazing how many university students and stay at home moms were willing to take a small job like that just for a little extra money (or just to get out of the house). It’s worth a try. And yes, your leisurely mornings will be gone, but it’s good preparation for school (sorry, I brought up the “s” word) – and it will be well worth it.

    She will be great! (And she’s gorgeous by the way).

  4. One other thing my daughter has is a devoted, loving, amazing mother who’s also a bit of a worry machine (which I am, also–full disclosre). Nobody spends more time researching and thinking and planning to make our little Nut happy, though never spoiled. I can’t imagine a better Mom, and I’m blessed she’s also a fantastic wife.

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