I read some parenting magazine article recently that listed the things you should do to protect your marriage when you’re about to have a baby. One of the things was to get on the same page about major parenting issues. We did that. We talked and talked, and it turned out we felt the same way about pretty much everything parenting related. But when the baby was born, I changed. I thought I’d be an active pusher of independence, and I wouldn’t be a coddler. After Avery was born, my instincts changed my perspective, and I now find myself believing that it is what’s best for Avery for me to tend to her when she cries, cuddle her whenever she wants it, and help her to do tough things – LIKE SLEEP – if she is having trouble doing it on her own.
The other thing I thought I’d want for our then unborn baby was a serious daycare situation. I wanted a licensed centre with early childhood educators on staff who would push my little one intellectually with select learning activities. Now all I want is a warm and comforting provider with as few other kids as possible who simply lets the kids play as they wish in a safe and supportive environment.
My wife and I went to see our first potential daycare last night. I was worried that I would automatically hate every provider we would see simply because I’m such a protective mama bear now. But I loved her… My wife, on the other hand, was not so easily convinced.
This provider is not licensed, which turned out to be an important requirement to my wife and not to me (an added challenge, since there are only licensed daycare spots available for 20% of Canadian children). She is not an ECE. Her experience comes from raising her own two children, and looking after the same 6 kids in her home for the past several years. The toys in her playroom were not necessarily educational, but they looked fun. There was a friendly dog on the premises. She was quiet and calm, and she had a very sensitive daughter to whom she was offering lots of hugs while we were there.
When we got to the car I was so surprised to see that my wife and I were making such opposite faces – me, an excited smile, and my wife, a grimace.
We know now that we need to talk about our expectations and hopes for Avery’s childcare provider a lot more. We need to find someone we both love. And although we’re starting this process SO late in the game, the worst case scenario for us is that I keep taking care of Avery full time into the fall and somehow make school work around that. We won’t rush her into care we don’t love.