Thursday, June 11, 2009

Will it really be OK?

I've been a wreck for the past 24 hours. Cameron and I went to her daycare to meet the teacher and get all the paperwork for her start date of 6/22. And I almost cried several times while there not to mention once I got home. I am not feeling good about leaving her in daycare. The place was a zoo when I got there. Granted, it was lunch time so there were subs for the breaks teachers were taking and the director was out of the office.

I was very disturbed at the site of all the infants on the playmat. Can I really be sending Cameron into that group to basically fend for herself? 7 other infants is a lot when you see them spread out on the floor. Some were crying, some were falling asleep in swings or bumpos. And I could only picture my sweet baby not getting enough attention. Or sleep.

I didn't get a great vibe from the head teacher so I think I need to go back. Because frankly we don't have many options at this point. I came home and started calling other daycares but they are all basically the same in terms of number of infants. Not to mention the wait lists. Years of wait lists. The teacher didn't really come over to interact with Cameron which I didn't like. And I asked about swaddling and she reluctantly agreed to swaddle Cameron.

I'm looking for a little reassurance from the blogging world about this. I was up for hours last night worrying about how daycare could affect Cameron. So please share your stories about daycare and relieve some of my stress!


LauraC said...

First, lunch time is the worst time to visit! It is generally much more chaotic and disorganized that time of day, and teachers don't really have time to talk to parents and other babies bc they have to care for the kids in their watch.

On the swaddling front, as hard as it is, I would give the teacher some slack on this one. Babies develop different sleep associations depending on where they are. The things my boys needed at home were not the things they needed at school. They got rid of pacis at school for naptime an entire YEAR before they gave them up at home! And particularly with a baby that young, she is going to learn new ways to sleep as she goes from a quiet calm home environment to sleeping in a room full of other babies (and not necessarily quiet babies!). And the teachers have so many tricks up their sleeves as they see a wide variety of babies, so they may be able to get her to sleep some other way.

Obviously only you know whether or not this is the right place, but even with my day care that I loved loved loved, I cried and cried after our pre-visits. I worried whether the boys would be happy. Would they be left crying unattended. Would they be just laying around doing nothing while people ignored them. Would they ever sleep. Basically I worried whether they would be in a loving environment where people cared for them.

For me, there was really no way to KNOW this until I got to experience it. All it took was a week of seeing my babies in that environment, happy, learning to sleep, getting feedback from the teachers and getting to know the teachers.

But even though I was about a million percent committed to group care (bc we both work from home), I still cried. I still needed to be talked down. I still worried. It is really scary to leave your kids with someone else and feel 100% sure it is the right place.

Obviously, 3 years later I am still in love with day care and am so glad we opted for this route. I can not believe the things my boys learn, and I love that they have friends they have known since they were 3 months old.

And really, if it doesn't work out once you go there, you can always leave. You can always try other care situations until you find the one that works best for your family.

Good luck! It is hard!

Donna said...

Your posts sounds very much like what I went through with DS1 when I dropped him off the first day. It was horrible, I cried a LOT and I called my husband begging for him to help me somehow (how could we have it so I could stay home). It got better and better. I was lucky because I went and nursed every day at noon so I saw the teachers and talked with them, saw how they interacted on a daily basis. It was great!

DS2 was a different story because I had a different daycare. This is one really precious thing about in home daycares. When I dropped DS2 off at Ms V's, I didn't cry, I didn't worry. She held him and he contentedly fell asleep on her shoulder. It was wonderful. Today, he toddled over there and gave her a big hug when I put him down.

My advice: got back at a less hectic time. See the daycare again. See how the babies are interacting with each other and the teachers. You may find yourself a little less overwhelmed. If you still have strong reservations, think about a nanny or an inhome daycare. There are other options. Other center daycares are not going to be that much different.

One thing to remember, babies cry at daycare it is normal but the vast majority of daycare teachers love the babies (they all want to be in the infant room) and try their best to keep them happy.

Susan said...

Well LauraC said it well. No matter what, keep in mind that this will be difficult. It is emotionally draining. Go back and not at lunchtime and see how it goes. I agree with LauraC on paragraph two. However, you must feel more comfortable than you do now before going back to work. I will say that a 7 to 1 ratio is not great.

Can you try talking to some parents that are dropping their babies off their. They might not be able to talk long as they are going to work but it is worth the effort to be in the parking lot waiting for them =)

Did you rule out the nanny possibility? Someone coming to your house - even if for the first year??

I feel for boys are teenagers now but I went through it as I worked when they were infants. It is tough BUT you can do it and your beautiful little girl will be fine.

jerseygirl77 said...

I agree with others that it's better to go in at a different time. Late morning or early afternoon will be less chaotic. You didn't really mean that there were 7 babies and only 1 teacher in the room when you visited, right? (I googled really quick and the NC regulations on infant-teacher ratios is 1:5, so if that is the case they are in violation, which would certainly worry me.)

Anyway, I know it's so hard to leave her! I would suggest unnanounced drop-in visits over the first week or two if you can swing it. That way you see what's going on without anyone having "prepped" for your visit. It will give you a better idea of how things really run from day to day.

I actually disagree with Laura on the swaddling issue. You know your baby best. You are paying for a service. You have the right to request something so simple as swaddling your baby for naps. I think that is pretty clear-cut. It's not like you're making some ridiculous request, like telling her how she HAS to soothe your child when she cries.

It will take some time, but you and Cameron will both adjust! Just listen to your gut... If it starts to tell you that this situation isn't working, then it's time to try something else. Hang in there!!!

Amanda said...

since I just did this a month ago I feel your pain. Try going at afternoon nap time like 2ish, this will give the teachers some time to focus on you and Cameron. And after about a week you will know if your gut feelings about it not being the right place or not are still true and not just related to the anxiety of leaving her with someone else. Holden naps different at daycare than he does at home and doesn't use the paci at daycare either.