Leaving a Good Daycare Is Like Losing a Third Parent
My daughter starts kindergarten on Monday, and while I was pretty adequately prepared for marching my baby girl off into the jaws of the public school system armed with a Frozen backpack, a sandwich, and Star Wars shoes that make lightsaber noises, I wasn't quite as ready to deal with the fact that our family kind of lost a member when she left her daycare.
Jef With One F
In many ways, it was like breaking up with someone.
We knew we were going to have to use daycare from the moment we got pregnant. America still languishes behind the rest of the developed world in allowing women much paid time off for early childhood, and paternity leave? Don't make me laugh. That was how I used my "vacation" days the year my daughter was born (The previous year I got to use them while evacuated from Hurricane Ike, so yes, this is my pissy dig at capitalism).
So we went on the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services website and started looking through the licensed providers in various settings. That's how we met Pily, the woman who would for all intents and purposes be the third parent in our family from the time The Kid With One F was eight weeks old to just after she turned five.
That's a lot of time to spend every day with any kid.
It's so hard being away from your baby. I mean, it's hard being with them too because of all the poop and screaming and the utter disregard for sleep, but despite all that the separation pulls at you. No matter what, you feel like you've abandoned them a little.
Pily's Place Childcare
That's why it's so important to find someone you can trust, get along with, and consider worthy to have a say in the development of your kid. Make no mistake, when someone spends half to three quarters of a child's awake hours with that kid during the week, a whole lot of their personal life philosophy and habits are going to be introduced. It's unavoidable.
We got very lucky in our choice of provider. Pily runs a small home daycare that never had more than four kids at any given time, and it allowed her ample time to work with my daughter and the others in very close quarters.
It didn't take long for us to see things that came from her in our daughter's actions at home. The kid developed an interest in karate from Pily because that was what Pily did at night. She made them little gis and taught them basic kata. She introduced them to the library (In my house Barnes and Noble is "the library" because we're book hoarders that don't like to give them back), and got them interested in summer reading programs. She encouraged my daughter's apparent interest in art long before I really noticed it.
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