Monday, December 31, 2012

Mommy Mondays: A home away from home

Thatbaby's first day of "school."
One of the biggest decisions I had to face when dealing with a new baby was finding a good place for him to be when I went back to work - Daycare.



Because if you're not the one with your child for hours every day, it's important that the people who are, are people you trust. 

We really lucked out with our daycare.  It fell in our laps at a severe time of need.  But I'll share with you what I love about it, in the hopes that it helps when/if you need to find a place for your little munchkin.

1) Location, Location, Location.  There are 3 options for a daycare - somewhere near home, somewhere near work, or somewhere between the two.  Each has their benefits and detriments.  As I've alluded to previously, we didn't have a choice with our daycare, but we lucked out in the fact it is literally right beside our home.  Which means we can (and do) walk there from time to time (in fact, on Friday before Christmas, Thatboy got off work early, came home and did some packing, and then walked down to daycare to pick up Thatbaby.)  The upside of the location is that I don't have to leave home early to get to work, and once I pick him up, I'm basically home.  And we don't have to plan who's picking Thatbaby up, since we both have to pass the daycare to get home.  So, first person to the parking lot texts the other to let them know not to stop.

2) Cost.  I'm not going to lie - daycare is expensive.  Like ridiculously expensive.  Like the cost of a month's rent expensive.  While our daycare is more expensive than many of our friends who use in-home daycare, it's less expensive than any of the other centers in our area.  And I love our center so much, I can't imagine using an in-home provider that may not offer as much.  What does our center offer that's so fantastic?  I'll tell you:

3) Communication!  This is really important!  Thatbaby gets a daily report detailing his sleep, diapers, food intake, and activities he did that day. There is a monthly newsletter filling us in on everything the children in his class are doing.  We have parent/teacher conferences to talk about how he is meeting his developmental milestones.  When he graduated from the infant room we got a little booklet highlighting pictures, activities, and artwork he created in that room.  And the PICTURES!  Every month we get a link to a private shutterfly account with pictures from that month.  (All the pictures in this post are from those monthly albums.)

4)  Willingness to meet your/your child's needs.  In daycare, your child ceases to get the one-on-one attention s/he was getting at home.  There is always a concern that the day care providers won't devote the time to your child that you do.  That your child will cry themselves to sleep in a wet diaper, missing mommy (or daddy).  Our daycare really works with each child's individual needs - and Thatbaby is a little high needs, so I appreciate everything they do.

 When he first started at daycare, Thatbaby was still being rocked to sleep.  So you know what they did at daycare?  They rocked him to sleep.  They held him while he slept if he needed it.  And now, he is a fantastic daycare sleeper.  He helps pull out his cot, climbs on it, and falls asleep.  No help needed from anyone.

 We had a bottle issue when he first started at daycare (and many of you who breastfeed will have the same problem.)  It's very easy to misfeed a baby from a bottle.  A breastfed baby does not need more than 4oz of milk at a sitting - ever.  And yet, if you continue to overfeed the baby, they will need more than 4oz because their stomachs will be stretched out from the extra milk.  Daycare was reporting Thatbaby was "still hungry" after his 4oz bottles because he was fussy (which is not uncommon since it takes less time to eat from the bottle than the breast, the stomach doesn't have time to tell the brain it's full).  Instead of giving him more ounces, we worked together to slow down Thatbaby's eating and sure enough, once they did that, there were no more complaints about his need for more.  This is especially important if you want to continue breastfeeding, because if daycare increases the baby's need, your supply won't match and you will always struggle to make enough for them to eat.



Daycare was also fantastic with our BLW endeavors.  Although they weren't familiar with the concept before Thatbaby, they quickly fell in love with the fact that they didn't need to feed Thatbaby, and the fact that he was so self sufficient.


 5) Education.  I was actually talking to Thatboy about this on our drive up to the inlaws.  This wasn't a priority of mine AT ALL when finding a daycare.  Because really?  What kind of education does a 5 month old need?  But now that he has it, I love the fact that his daycare has a curriculum.  Each day there are different activities related to language skills, math skills, social sciences, etc.  There are tactile learning experiences and group activities like "circle time" which involves stories and songs.


 Thatbaby also does loads of art projects, which I could never hope to compete with at home.







 And maybe my favorite thing is that most of these art projects get sent home!  (We're already out of room on the fridge).





There's also physical development.  Thatbaby gets indoor and outdoor play every day where he gets to climb, slide, walk, crawl, run.....


It was a big day for all of us when Thatbaby finally made it to the top of the "big climber" outside.  He had been working on that for months!






6) Social interaction.  Thatbaby's current class has 7 other kids in it.  He's been with 5 of them since his first day of daycare and it's been wonderful to watch them all grow together.  It's fun watching them light up with excitement when he shows up for the day.  They take fieldtrips around the campus together.


They learn to share and play with each other on the playground.


And Thatbaby even has a "best friend" or partner in crime.






This picture is from the day where Thatbaby's daily report told me that "Thatbaby and Bestfriend had lots of fun rolling on the floor together."


Up until the week before Christmas, we were having some real struggles with drop offs at daycare, but it's clear that during the day, Thatbaby was having a blast.  He loves it there, and I love it because of that.  I love that he has new and different toys to play with there so I don't feel the need to have every toy in creation in our home.  I love the fact that he gets reading and singing and art.  I love the fact he plays with his friends. So if you're worried about sending your child to daycare, I can assure you, it can be a wonderful thing.

6 comments:

  1. Wow your daycare sounds amazing! I only hope to someday be able to find one that's as awesome (and if not, there's always my mother...)

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  2. I have day care envy. I was late to the party and didn't get on wait lists until I was 5 months pregnant so we are screwed. Apparently I needed to sign up the moment I got married. Who knew.

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    1. You'll be fine. I ended up finding out on a Tuesday that I needed daycare for the following Thursday. I literally had one day to find a daycare and this one was the only one with availability. We took their last spot.

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  3. Brings back memories. It sounds like you found a great place and trust is so important. This is not a time to cut expenses, if you can avoid it. Good luck on this exciting experience.

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  4. Mixed emotions about this post. I am dreading daycare and am trying to figure out a way to avoid it. But, yours sounds quite good. I like the communication aspect and that they are so willing to work with your parenting choices and Thatbaby's needs.

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  5. We currently use inhome daycare - and I think it might be time to switch out to a center, for the social, music, art aspect!

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