Monday, June 9, 2008

Day Care Drama

I'm not one to over think things much, or I don't think I am anyway. So I've been pretty confused as to why everyone keeps asking me "How's day care going?" "How's Ada doing at day care?" "Is Ada adjusting to day care alright?" I mean, day care is day care. She goes to day care, I go to work. I pick her up, she urps on me, we go home. She eats, goes to bed and we repeat. Then our four day "weekend" comes, we try to stick to a schedule, and we do it all over again come Tuesday.

I've only known half a dozen parents who have taken their kids to day care and I've never really known other parents who didn't have it go okay so I don't have any preconceived ideas about how it should or shouldn't be. And Ada has been really fussy at day care but I just assumed that was her teething or one of her colds or her sinus infection, or just a rough day. So last week I was a bit shocked when her day care said we need to find a strategy to improve her experience at day care. I'm not sure what that means and I feel funny admitting it but, we have a parent-day care conference scheduled for this week to discuss how things are going. At 6 months old I already feel like she's dragging me into the Principal's office. My goodness!

So far, I think I've been rather relaxed about day care and not too worried about what she's doing all day since I know she's in good hands and I trust her care takers. But since she has been having a bunch of fussy days and there isn't much consistency between how she behaves at home vs. day care, it turns out that this whole day care thing is really stressful. Because she isn't getting reports of having a lot of "Happy Ada" time, now I'm concerned that it might not be going okay. She might not be adjusting to it as well as I thought. Which, as a mom, makes me feel like I am failing her and I constantly wonder if she is crying all day while I am at work. I know when I'm home with her, she always has a reason for crying -- mainly her teeth are hurting--but I can run through the wet, dirty, overtired, hot, hungry, gassy, bored, teething, uncomfortable list and figure it out. Occasionally she just needs a cuddle but for the most part, I'd say 99% of the time she has a reason to be ticked off at this age -- unlike before when you really just never knew. So I'm extra concerned that she may be crying just because she doesn't like going to day care. Maybe she's secretly allergic to other kids... hmmmm... that would be bad if we have more kids huh...

So among all of the things I must learn as a parent, I now get to include how to make sure she is adjusting well to day care -- or the more scary alternative of finding an alternative to day care while living in the city. To add to my list of things no one ever tells you before you have kids... not only is day care expensive, but there aren't many options - all having pluses and minus - and they tend to have wait lists to get your kid accepted if you live in the city. If things don't start to improve with day care, I'll have to look into a nanny share, other day cares, another mom who is looking to take in another kid during the day, a college student who needs a summer job a few days a week, or becoming a stay-at-home mom full time -- which would be a serious last resort for me and financially not really viable.

And on top of the stress of thinking she might not be her happy self all day long, here I am with the feeling that my kid is the one that day care just can't wait to get rid of at 5pm. "It's Ada's mom, Thank God!" "Finally we can get rid of this screaming child!" I don't want to be that parent. I don't want her to be that kid who screams all day and is miserable. Not only do I not want the day care staff to look at me like I've brought a monster into the world, but I don't want her to be unhappy. She's my little monster, and I love her. I'll admit there are days where I think it would be nice to send her back or give her away, but I don't really mean it. It's just a nice fantasy to have when she has been screaming at me for an hour because her teeth hurt and she's tired because she couldn't take a nap because she was coughing and couldn't sleep because her teeth hurt and the Orajel wore off already and she's tired...and I'm tired of her screaming at me.

Who knew?

Moral of the story: This blog is to be continued... we'll see how it ends up. Either way, Ada needs to be somewhere she is comfortable, happy, and enjoys going to three days a week. Hopefully we'll be closer to figuring that out by the end of the week for her sake and for ours.

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