Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Rambling about Daycare at the end of a night shift. Clever title, eh?

Daycare is one of the most annoying parts of being a parent. And I don't mean annoying like when your kid says "mama!" for the 908734127846th time that day but then flashes the cutest effing smile you've ever seen, so it's cool. It's just annoying. There is not one cute or redeeming thing about having to have daycare in your life. Oh, except the part where it enables you to have a job.

What's weird is that I really really REALLY look forward to Jeb's school years. Not as in I-can't-wait-for-him-to-be-out-of-the-house-for-6-hours-everyday; more like I can't wait to see what his future classrooms look like. And pick out his terrible painting amongst all the other terrible paintings hung in the hallway outside the classroom. And meet his teacher, who will want to talk to me about Jeb! My fav subject! And smell that distinct elementary school smell again, only love it even more. And give him milk money. And watch him walk down the hallway at school with a mostly empty, too big back pack on his back. Sometimes I imagine him with glasses and it gives me an extra squee!!! (I really wouldn't wish vision troubles on him at a young age, I just think they are damn cute.) ANYWAY. My point is that I know a lot of parents who refer to their toddler's child care provider as "school". I think it sounds weird to talk about sending my 2 year old to school. It sounds like I'm trying to put a better spin on it. Nope, my kid will go to Daycare, and I take ownership of the word. I am eternally less excited about Daycare than I am about Future School, even though the place is fraught with cute, terrible paintings. Why does a small blue chair at Future School sound totally awesomely adorable, but that same chair at Daycare is not exciting to me at all?

It's not even that I am philosophically opposed to daycare. Many people assume I should be opposed to it; my mother -- who is a nanny -- is one of them, which I find slightly ironic. One of my co-workers is apparently another one. She asked me last week, when I was talking about having to scramble to find a day care, but don't you have any *family*? Why yes, thank you, but weirdly they have to work for a living as well. Thanks for the brilliant tip that I would never had thought of. Oh right! My totally awesome, energetic, kid loving, puppy owning, game playing, zoo visiting, swing set owning relative who doesn't have to work will be perfect! Silly Patti didn't think of her ;)

Back to my original point -- Daycare is very annoying in several ways.

There is the scrambling factor: I'm not unusual in that my need for new Daycare is the result of abruptly losing old child care. So, fitting sifting/interviewing/researching new possibilities into my schedule RIGHT NOW is challenging. I'm not incredibly picky, I'm looking for the basics, you know, safety/fun/learning. But it's a scramble, and I am also processing the fact that this will still be a big change, and dammit! Why can't everything just stay the same for ever and ever and ever?!

There is the scheduling factor: Is it a 2 day program? 3 days? Do the days have to be the same every week? Can they fluctuate? What if they are not at max capacity? Can we have more flexibility in that case? What are the ratios, and how do they affect our scheduling? Will my boss work with me on changing my work schedule around?

There is the weird-policy factor: At Jeb's new home away from home, he cannot wear clothes with a drawstring. Does that include hooded sweatshirts? He has some pants that are elastic waist, but with a mock tied drawstring, are they OK? Are they worried Jeb's peer will rip of that 2 inches of fake drawstring and injure himself? Also, I have to provide 2 full spare outfits to be left there. Cool, no problem, Jeb frequently goes through a couple of shirts per day. But they want 2 pair of shoes as well. Honestly? Jeb has never gone through 3 pair of shoes in a day. Which means the spare shoes are really just going to sit in a cute cubby and go, for the most part, unworn. The really annoying part? Like most toddlers, Jeb grows out of shoes at a pretty good clip. So, that's lots of pairs of unworn shoes that I am going to be buying. Annoying.

There is the logistics/paperwork factor: Some piece of paper is going to have to be signed by a Pediatrician saying Jeb doesn't have the plague. Annoying part? I just switched Peds. Will new Ped sign the paper given we haven't had an appt with him ever? Will old Ped sign the paper given Jeb is no longer her patient? We have not fully vaccinated (cue scary music), this might be a giant effing road block.

The least annoying part? Is really the money. I've mentioned how I don't actually have any, so it's going to be tough, but not annoying. The Daycare we've chosen (and will hopefully accept us) seems to be full of fantastic, educated people who are nuts about kids. I think Jeb is really going to love it. So, handing over a bunch of money knowing Jeb is being well cared for? Not annoying in the slightest.

I would really love to stay home, I really would. But Jeb enjoys, you know, eating. That selfish bastard. I just hope he's ready to live drawstring-free. We all have to make sacrifices, right?

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