Somehow my husband and I were able to get through Berkley’s first year of life without taking her to daycare, or even taking her anywhere. We were lucky enough that Randy could watch her in the morning, and then a babysitter could come watch her in the afternoon. But of course things change. The change that prompted our need for more full-time care was that my husband’s job position changed. This was a great thing except that he will now be on-call all of the time and therefore cannot watch our daughter in the mornings. It would, of course, be more ideal to continue to have a sitter come to the house all day, but we just can’t find anyone, nor could we afford to hire such a full time position. So I decided to take 2 weeks of temporary unemployment to try to find a decent daycare for our little girl, be it at home or a daycare center.
I believe in attachment parenting and by those principles, an at-home daycare would be best. With that in mind, we visited 1 center and 2 home daycares. Because it was going to be such a drastic change for both my daughter and I, nothing seemed good enough. I felt like I would have to forfeit all of my parenting philosophies to adhere to whatever the daycare’s “standard” was. I felt pressured to make a quick decision as the first home we visited said there was only 1 opening and another couple visiting the next day. So I went home, thought about it, and then paid the next day to hold her spot. I didn’t feel good about it but I kept telling myself that it was just because it’s going to be so hard for me to take her anywhere at this point because I’d never had to. The home daycare we chose was a nice enough place, but the only play area was her living room. There was an outdoor play area too, but she didn’t take us out there. The lady seemed kind of scatter brained, but I figured it was just from all the things you have to keep track of when running a daycare. She told me that KDHE doesn’t allow cloth diapers and she would not do that (I contacted KDHE myself and found out that was a lie). Everything we told her – that Berkley was still breastfeeding, she has always eaten solid food, she already has practice going on the potty, she knows some sign language – was well-received, but it all seemed like brand-new information to her. I filled out all of her paperwork, including the section that asks how she goes to sleep, what she eats, etc. This woman also seemed overly concerned about my employment. She asked me a bunch of times how long I would have a job and I said I really didn’t know. It came off a little rude to me, like I was having to convince her that I would have a job as long as Berkley was in her care. Who can really know that?
The first day I dropped her off I nearly cried. But she reassured me everything would be fine. She called me around lunch time and asked if Berkley drank milk. I said “cow’s milk?” She said yes and I told her she is still nursing and I sent breast milk in her bag this morning. It was obvious she hadn’t even checked the bag, nor even read everything I filled out. She asked me when Berkley could start drinking regular milk and I said not anytime soon. That question was just ridiculous to me. Anyway, the first day seemed to go okay. But in the days following, Berkley cried when I left her off and cried when I picked her up. I am sure she was just adjusting to the change but it did not give me a good feeling. Another thing that stood out to me was the way she talked to the other kids. She was constantly telling them “don’t do this, don’t do that, get out of her way, etc.” It really bothered me when she told a boy to cool his attitude and then grabbed his arm as he fell to the floor. One day when Randy stopped by, she cried for him and he held her for awhile. And then she grabbed her out of Randy’s arms and took her to the kitchen because it was time for lunch and of course she screamed and cried. We didn’t care for that and finally made the decision to take her to the daycare center we first visited. It seemed like a nice place, it is the same cost and she would be with kids her own age. That was another thing, this lady is licensed for 6 kids ages 5 and under. It just seems like a lot for one person to handle. At the center, the ratio is 1 adult to 5 1-year olds which makes me feel a little better.
When my husband told her we were leaving, she did not take it well and it has been awkward when I take her in and drop her off. I know she thinks this was our plan all along and that we deceived her. None of that is true. We are just on two different pages as far as caring for children goes and I don’t think it’s a good fit. She told me that home daycares get a bad rep because people think they don’t do anything with them. She also said centers will promise you the world, but they won’t hold them like a mother holds them when they cry. i kind of doubt she does that either.
It’s so hard making decisions as a parent. Even though we are changing places and I’m hoping for the best, I still always question myself. Our children rely on us to do what is best for them. No pressure. If this place doesn’t work out, we will continue to look. I’ve racked my brain so much these past weeks weighing all my options. Maybe we should continue to search for a reasonably priced nanny. Maybe we should sell the house and move to something cheaper. Maybe I should stay at home. Maybe we should move closer to our family so they could help us sometimes. I thought as my daughter got older, leaving her with a care provider would be easier but it’s quite the opposite. You entrust your precious child in someone’s hands you barely know. It’s pretty ridiculous really.