Monday, May 11, 2009

Day Care

Widget just spent her first day at day care all by herself ... and loved it!

We've been going together for ages, she is on the waiting list so we are allowed to go anytime so long as I am there. So she knows all the ladies, most of the kids, and all the routines. She also knows how to deal with any problems, by telling one of the ladies if she can't solve it herself, and has practiced everything. We generally go in the morning then leave when they have lunch, and she's been hanging out to stay with everyone else.

There still isn't a permanent place for her, but someone was away for a couple of days so they let us have the casual place. We've been talking about it over the weekend, just every now and then saying "Wow, on Monday you get to stay and have lunch with the other kids at daycare," making sure that she knew Midget and I would be leaving but emphasising who she would get to play with and some of the things she would do.

So as soon as she got up and was properly awake she got herself dressed and ready. When we got there I explained again and checked she knew where everything was, then asked if she wanted me to stay for a little while? "No Mummy, you and Midget have to leave. I'm staying here for lunch."

And she did! When I went back at 3pm after Midget's nap she complained and insisted that we had to stay so she could play longer, they'd only just gone outside. So we stayed another hour or so, when I finally tore her away she insisted she's going back tomorrow. Luckily she can, but Wednesday might be a problem!

I thought long and hard before doing this, there was something that felt vaguely wrong about putting my child in care when I'm a SAHM, sort of like it's cheating. In the end I think this is actually the more 'natural' way to go, although I really really hate that as a label. In a biologically normal situation she would be living in an extended family group, with many adults caring for her or at least interacting with her even if I was the primary carer. There would also be children of a range of ages. But we live in a very small town without any relatives. We go to playgroup once a week, but that's it. There's no library session, music group, toddler gym or anything else for that age group, and she's a bit young for brownies! We occasionally get together with some of the other playgroup people, but realistically we all have small children and most have jobs of some sort. So the only people she sees are me, DH, Midget, and people at the post office and shops to say hello to, then playgroup once a week.

She's also a bit over three and a half, so she's wanting to socialise. Any time we visit relatives she has a ball, any stray child at a park she'll try to play with. She really does want the interaction. And she's very good at it - she has great negotiating and protective skills and she's extremely caring of others, especially little kids. So I felt she was ready to try it on her own (whether I was ready is a whole 'nother question).

And obviously she was, because today has been a roaring success. I just hope it continues this way and we can keep getting some time for her, or we'll just go back to going together (although I really enjoyed the break!).

1 comment:

Perfect Mum said...

I am REALLY glad that the first day worked out for you both Deb...what a relief! I think over the age of three is quite an appropriate time for a child to go into daycare if needed - as you say they love to socialise at that age and they can communicate their needs quite well. I'd personally be a bit uneasy with anything under that age, but sometimes needs must I guess. I've just started working a couple of nights a week and even though hubby is home with Boo, I can't believe how anxious I've been about it!