May 23, 2012

Day. Care.

 After all of my anxiety a few months ago over trying to find the boys daycare spots, I am happy to say we have found a solution. Beginning tomorrow, the boys will start full-time at the small, non-profit daycare that Colin attended before I went on maternity leave.

I'm sure I must have sounded like your prototypical helicopter mother when I unloaded in this space a few months back about the dozen or so places across town where we were trying desperately to get spots, only to wind up back where we started. But these are my kids! And, for now, they will spend more of their waking life at daycare than they will at home with me, so, really, what could be more important?

For young, working families today there is probably no bigger stress than finding quality, affordable daycare--and then making sure that your children spend as little time there as possible. Not all day cares are created equal. There are some on my bus ride to work that make me sad every time I pass by: the sour-faced caregivers huddled on the sidewalks taking a smoke break, the weary parents dropping off their sleeping kids, who are unfed and still in pyjamas at 7:00 a.m.

I count my lucky stars that our decision was not based solely on price or proximity to our jobs, but on where we thought our children would be happiest. And despite all of my anxiety (or perhaps because if it and my single-minded attention to the problem), we had several good options to choose from.

But in the end, we decided to return to our old daycare. It's not a perfect solution. It's a little further from our home than I would like and it is under uncertain new management. Also, I would prefer it had fewer plastic, blinky toys, and less canned fruit at mealtimes. However, that is a small price to pay for warm, gentle, and attentive caregivers who seem to adore my children.

And if I needed actual proof of their affection, all I have to do is pull out the scrapbook they made for Colin when he left the centre last May. It is filled with dozens of pages of photographs of Colin doing crafts and playing dress up, trudging around in the snow in winter and splashing at the spray park in the summer. It contains samples of his artwork and handwritten little notes from each of his caregivers describing all of the things they love about him and how much they will miss him when he is gone.

Well, they needn't miss him any more. But they may need to buy some more scrapbooking paper as we turn over a new page in this story.

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