daycare debate

I really should’ve known better than to write anything about Cate’s sleeping habits. The past three nights, she’s woken up screaming because she rolled over onto her tummy and then scooted herself into the far corner of the crib, and she couldn’t figure out how to get out. Boo. I miss waking up to happy-baby-talky noises on the monitor.

New topic: Since my parents are coming, Kris came over yesterday to keep Cate entertained so I could clean. It was fun to have Kris over and catch up for a while, but it confirmed what I already suspected (because it happened when the neighbor girls were here baby-sitting while I painted the kitchen): if Cate can see me, but I’m not holding her, she gets cranky really fast.

Originally, I had been thinking that we might get a baby-sitter or nanny to take care of Cate when I start working again, but I realized that probably won’t work. If she’s screaming her head off, it’s not like I’m going to be able to concentrate on writing, y’know? So I’m exploring daycares in the area. I think that the exposure to other kids can only be a good thing – and by that I mean both the socialization aspect as well as the immune system boost she’ll eventually gain from being exposed to all those other babies’ germs.

I’d really like to do daycare just part-time, but I was worried that I’d end up paying for full-time daycare since it seems like most places don’t have a part-time option. (Which makes sense from a payroll standpoint – they still have to pay their staff even if the babies aren’t there all the time.) But I called around and found a couple of places that actually do have part-time care available. They’ll take babies anywhere from 2 to a full 5 days per week.

I know a lot of mommies feel guilty for putting their kids in daycare, and I totally get that. If I had to go back to work when she was only 6 or 8 weeks old, I know I would’ve been a mess. (I also would’ve been a zombie, since Cate was only sleeping in 3-hour chunks then.) But my goal was to stay home with her for the first 6 months, which I’ve done. And I’m only thinking about putting her in daycare for 3 days a week, so I feel pretty good about it. I’m sure that the first time I have to leave her there when she’s crying, it’ll probably rip my heart out, especially since I’ve pretty much convinced myself that I’m the only one who can soothe her when she’s upset. (Dave can do it too, although his success rate isn’t as high as mine. You know, not to brag or anything.) But I’ll figure out a way to cope with the whole “oh god, I’m abandoning my poor defenseless precious baby” mommy guilt.

Speaking of which, I’m sure that God or the Flying Spaghetti Monster or whoever had his reasons for giving us the mommy guilt. You know, it kept the cave mommies of yore from leaving their babies out as a pterodactyl snack or whatever. But I really wish we could’ve evolved past it now. Because the mommy guilt just sucks. So much for Darwin.

Anyway, tomorrow is going to be quite the big day for us: we’re going to take tours of two different daycare facilities, meet up with my friend Janet and her baby for a while, and then my parents come in late that night. And once my folks are here, the real fun starts, since that’s when I’m going to be painting the rest of the kitchen. Whee!

4 thoughts on “daycare debate

  1. Tomorrow is Miss C’s first full day of day care. I drop her off in the morning (I leave later than DH) and DH will pick her up in the early afternoon. I had a “trial” day on Friday (not that it matters since I have to go back to work tomorrow) and it was me, not Miss C, that was in tears. Apparently at this age, as long as they are cuddled, swaddled, changed and fed, they are fine. As far as Cate goes, there is no telling since she is a bit older. It sucks but if you can get away with 3 days a week, good on you. You don’t have to have her there all day either, you can just choose certain hours that work best for your schedule. Pick one close to you so you don’t have a whole lot of driving and just cut yourself some slack. You’re a great Mommy and you all will do fine. You know you have to work at some point so consider this Cate’s socialization, as you pointed out. I am sure everything will be great!

  2. Lizard’s right- Cate’s transition to daycare won’t be as easy as it would be for a 2-3 month old. She’ll have some separation anxiety, but after a few weeks she’ll probably get used to the routine and come to rely on it to keep things feeling stable. And in the long run, it’ll be good for everyone.

    Say Hi and give big hugs to your folks from me!

  3. Thanks, y’all.

    Unfortunately, picking a daycare close to home isn’t an option, since there are literally NO daycares in our stupid hick town. So I’m going to be driving a minimum of 10 miles to even the closest one. Yeesh.

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