When I was pregnant with Margsy I abruptly stopped working. I had no choice really because I knew that the moment I hit 12 weeks I’d get my cerclage and then be put on long-term home bed rest. This was the plan. We knew about it and I had zero reservations about it. When she was born Mer and I discussed how we wanted to manage her childcare. We both felt comfortable with me staying at home full-time because I wanted to spend as much time as possible with her and childcare can get extremely expensive.
In some respects I think we naively assumed that raising a kid was easier than it’s turned out to be. I’m not saying it’s unbearably hard but as Margsy ages we’re realizing that our current lifestyle (single child, one and done family) isn’t necessarily ideal when it comes to her social development and general socialization.
Margsy is a very fearful child. She does not do well when faced with new people and has shown very little interest in playing with other children. That’s not to say she doesn’t enjoy other children’s company but she’s far more inclined to play beside them than with them.
Way back in January we decided to sign her up for swimming lessons. It was really a win win, win situation for us because it would give her far more physical activity during the winter months (baby girl was off the charts weight wise until recently), hopefully expose her to other children to socialize and teach her how to swim which is such an incredibly important skill. Although she loves her lessons and it has helped train her to be more comfortable in water and helped get her to a more normal weight it really hasn’t provided any opportunities for socialization which we thought it would.
Mer and I had a really long discussion about Margsy’s social development last month. We both agreed that it might be time to find some sort of organized activity to help her develop autonomy, learn boundaries and hopefully interact with other children about her age. We searched and searched but apart from some sporadic playgroups that usually involve infants there really isn’t much available to a family with an 18-month toddler.
Enter the conversation about daycare.
At first, we were both very much resistant to the idea. Had you asked me my thoughts on sending her to daycare a year ago I would have told you it was absolutely out of the question. That’s not to say that I think daycare itself is a bad idea but I did believe that as her mom I could provide her with everything she needed socially, emotionally and physically. Sure, I’m able to provide her with a stable, safe and nurturing home but when it comes to stimulation, play and socialization I’m really falling short.
So, Mer and I have been interviewing daycare’s much to the displeasure of both sets of grandparents. We were both raised in a community that never outsourced their childcare beyond the walls of the home of a family member. So, when we informed them that Margsy would be enrolled in a daycare as soon as possible we were met with apprehension, anger and even harsh judgement. In this moment we realized that despite our fears and those of our family we need to put Margsy first and this is something she needs right now.
The reality is an 18 month of kiddo needs to play with other kids. They need to learn how to socialize with other children and find their own way and personality by exploring, playing and socializing in ways that I simply can’t provide for her.
All this to say, we’re currently in the process of interviewing various family daycare’s hoping to find one that is a perfect fit. So far, we’ve interviewed two and one appeared absolutely perfect but ultimately did not have a space for our kiddo.
In terms of our daycare want list we are pretty specific with regards to what we are looking for:
- A small family daycare with no more than 5-6 children so that Margs can still get the attention she requires and not be overwhelmed with the drastic change to her lifestyle
- A daycare that is willing to work with us to integrate her slowly into a daycare setting. Ideally we’d like to start with 2 hours per day and work our way up to 5 hours days, 4 days a week.
- With regards to facilities we’d like there to be a large fenced and secured backyard with ample space for baby girl to run around (She’s a climber and will try to climb a fence if you’re not watching)
- A large indoor play area that encourages creative projects (painting, drawing, building) in addition to creative play
- A daycare that is willing to work with us with regards to her current sleep issues. Margsy was not sleep trained and therefore requires a ton of assistance to fall asleep. Generally she needs to be rocked to sleep and feel you close by.
The first daycare we met with was an absolute bust. The woman although knowledgeable about child care and friendly appeared to offer “babysitting” instead of daycare services. What I mean by this is she approached each day with no expectations or plan and basically allowed the children to dictate what they wanted to do. Although she would likely have been extremely nurturing and sympathetic to our issues (sleep namely) I suspect that her home daycare environment would have simply recreated the situation we are dealing with at home.
The second daycare was perfect. The woman we met with had 5 children in her group varying in ages from 12 months to 4 years. The entire day was scheduled and planned and the children are exposed to creative play, dramatic play and artistic play which is exactly what we wanted. She was also extremely open to a step up plan to integrate Margsy and was willing to help start the sleep training process. Unfortunately our interview was scheduled after she had technically filled the last spot. We went regardless because we were hopeful that the spot would somehow open itself up again. She called today to confirm that the spot was in fact taken but did provide a few numbers of other local in house daycares that we are hopeful will fit the bill.
So there’s that. This is what’s going on in TTBH right now. We’re actively searching for a daycare and given our current situation I’m not necessarily in a rush to place her immediately. Since I’m home with her anyway we’re going to continue looking until we find one that is just the right fit.
What are your experiences with daycare? How did you select one for your kiddo? Any tips?