Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Day Care Conundrum

Today was my daughters first day of day care. Any one that has visited my site or read anything about me knows that I am a firm believer in attachment parenting. I think babies belong with their relatives, especially when they are young.

Is that realistic in today's world? No, of course not. That as we know is the theme of this blog. It doesn't make it any less depressing for me however. My daughter is 22 months old and spent almost 24 hours a day with me for the first 18 months of her life.

The last couple of months she has spent with grandpa and grandma after I went back to work full time. We both made that adjustment better than expected although she is still not sleeping during the day without me. (what kind of toddler cant take naps)

Needless to say, it has been relatively painless until today. Now I have more of the guilt that working mothers (and fathers?) are supposed to feel. My poor baby was stuck with strangers for five hours which is a pretty big chunk of time for a two year old.

She clung to her little stuffed kitty the entire time. According to the day care providers she was crying most of the day. She was sobbing all by herself in a room when I walked up. Nice. It totally breaks my heart.

To add insult to injury it is apparently going to take a lightning bolt to get these people to give her the food I send along. They think their food is good enough (and for them I am sure it is) and they don't want the other kids to want my daughters food. They feed these kids everything I am opposed to. Milk and cookies. Green jello with marshmallows. Is it too much to ask to feed them something that grew out of the ground? Unless you can show me a cracker tree I would rather not feed that to my daughter for a zillion reasons.

They wont allow me to send along a fruit and a vegetable. That is apparently an unacceptable snack by government standards. You have just got to be kidding me. And I think pasteurized, homogenized cows milk is nothing short of poison and in order to keep it away from my daughter I have to sign forms stating that she is allergic to it.

In addition, the facility is blatantly Christian. Fun. Its not that I am opposed to teaching my baby about religion.......Different people believe in different things just like different people speak different languages...nothing better or worse about one or the other kind of thing. But I am adamantly opposed to teaching her that one religion is the right one.

So I have to teach her that the food they feed her is wrong, the songs they sing are wrong, and the way they believe is wrong?? All that on top of the fact that she feels abandoned and alone except for her stuffed kitty.

Do I have a choice? Believe it or not it is a large, clean facility with a ton of happy kids and it is an excellent learning environment with wooden toys, small animals, pretend toys, and much more. They do not allow violent or sexist toys, they have daily outdoor time, and they do not exercise corporal punishment of any kind whatsoever. It is actually a wonderful facility by day care standards adequately staffed with what appear to be kind and concerned ladies.

So no, I actually do not have a choice with regard to a different facility because the other ones pale in comparison. Do I have a choice about day care at all? Not really. I cant afford a nanny and even if I could I don't think it would be fair to deprive my only child of the playmates she craves.

My only choice is to work part time or not at all. Like the title of the blog says, its the day care conundrum. Choose to be a poor stay at home mom or make a reasonable living and pay strangers to raise your child. What a great direction for my family's life to be taking.

Peace out.


Crunchy Hippie Mom said...

Actually you do have more options. You could look for a family run home daycare center. I know such places don't always get the highest praise, but you could have more one on one communication with the person who takes care of your child. You may also want to remind these people you are paying them for a service. They should listen to you and follow your instructions period.

Sheryl Lyon said...

Thank you for your comment. You are absolutely right that as a paying customer I should demand that the day care adhere to my wishes. I guess I am just frustrated that they are not more accomodating to begin with.

I actually had to fill out a form stating that my daughter is allergic to dairy in order to prevent them giving her milk. Apparently my wishes just arent enough.

I am in the process of trying to find a home-based day care like you suggested. The large institutional facility did not work out well for my daughter raised on attachment parenting.

It is fairly difficult to locate home based day cares however. I welcome your suggestions.

Thank you again for writing!

Tom Schavo said...

Well if you are paying a day care, they aught to provide you the service they promise. Its always better to talk it out clearly before you pay them. Generally, this happens when the communication was not proper between both and that there are hidden facts to the service charges.

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