School Days

posted by Mel

Thank you, everyone, for your well wishes and support.

In other non password-protected news (remember, please, not to respond in a password-protected kind of way to non-protected posts here), Simone now has a daycare provider. When I was 3 years old, my mother sent me to a preschool I adored, and I’m pleased to say that preschool has since opened up a full-fledged daycare for for newborns through 4’s. I was wary of it at first because it’s religiously-affiliated, but the location is incredibly convenient, and my parents are comfortable with it, so it provides a lot of flexibility for members of our support network to help out with pick-ups. I decided to check it out.

On the initial phone call I confirmed that the staff was comfortable with and accustomed to working with alternative families. Simone will not be the only lesbian-parented child there. I spoke with close friends who had good feedback on the place from friends and acquaintances of theirs who took their children there; so I scheduled a time for Vanessa and me to visit last week.

It’s warm and comfortable, as Vanessa put it “a little chaotic,” but I love that. Kids are. At least it wasn’t completely sanitized like the corporate daycare we visited. I never got the impression that chaotic equates to a damaging lack of discipline there. We didn’t find one infant in a crib. They were all either being held or changed, or they were lying in bouncers/swings or fumbling around with toys on the floor or one of those baby gym mat things. The caregivers in the infant rooms were all older women; content-looking, slightly messy, no frills women. I didn’t see one magazine, book, or television. These women look at, care for, play with babies all. day. long. (How do they do that?!)

In good weather, every child gets time outside, and the daycare is on the edge of a lovely residential neighborhood with plenty of green space on the grounds that I remember playing on as a child. In inclement weather, there’s a gym. In the summers, there’s water play and all parents are required to apply sunscreen and keep appropriate swimwear available. There’s no problem with bringing in homemade baby food, breastmilk, and your own baby rash/first aid supplies; though of course, otc medication still must be accompanied by a doctor’s note.

As an aside, in their handbook there is a 4-page long very reasonable and sensitive policy on the subject of biting.  I had no idea that this issue would require so much thought, but they seem to be handling it well.

Down sides:

1.) The hours are 7:30 – 5:30. It’s a bit of a drive from this place to my work, and this could be a problem in bad weather. It means I will always have to leave work by 4:30. Given the flexibility of my job, this won’t present too much of a problem and, when it does, Vanessa’s schedule might prove more flexible. Katie and my mother are also close by.

2.) Security seems a little lax. As mentioned previously, the corporatized daycare we checked out was as locked down as a prison. On the day we checked out this place, we were able to walk in and get all the way to the classrooms without being stopped. If there are children in a classroom, however, they are always supervised– even during caregivers’ bathroom breaks. There’s a heavy reliance on the caregivers to provide security.

Most important, though, I got the sense that there’s a lot of love and patience for the children and respect for their parents. It’s urban, comfortable, and laid back, and it fits my family. I’m looking forward to seeing Simone skip through those halls the way I did.

Now to find a pediatrician.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “School Days

  1. Not to 100% equate dogs to kids, but I suspect preschool/human daycare is not unlike doggy daycare – chaos is just part of it. And chaos does not equal dangerous. I think mild chaos means happy – lots of little beings who can’t express themselves verbally vying for attention 🙂 Is this the one Matt and Kristin recommended? Can’t keep it all straight….

  2. Oh and on the biting – it’s not uncommon – little ones who are having issues talking often resort to biting out of frustration – I know this because I know several folks who have both biters and bitees:)

  3. Lo

    Wow, that sounds wonderful! It’s amazing to have that settled so early.

  4. Co

    Sounds great. I am with you when it comes to chaos. You don’t want things to be too controlled. Being too controlled doesn’t mix with child development, IMO. A social worker friend told me, when I was fretting that Jo kept getting bumps and bruises as he learned to crawl/stand/pull up/cruise, that if my child weren’t falling at least once a day, it would indicate to her that I was probably being overprotective.

    And not having any babies ignored while crying in cribs? Priceless.

    Good luck with the pediatrician. Although one thing that someone told me, which helped, is that I should remember that parents are not locked into the pediatrician they pick initially. If you can, it’s good to try to pick one who suits your needs and fits with you ideologically. But you can change pediatricians after your child is born if you want to. So, it’s important to try to pick a good one, but you aren’t locked in. Not sure if that comforts you, but it comforts me. (And for the record, we love our ped. and still have the same one we had from the beginning. Lo had a list of questions to ask at consultations with peds, but in the end, our ped had done so many consultations that she just whizzed through what parents normally ask her and by the time she was done, we had covered everything.)

  5. Congrats on finding that little part of your past to become a huge part of your future! That must be a huge relief to you too, to have that settled. It sounds like little Simone is going to be very happy there 🙂

  6. Love this center you found. I never thought I’d say this, but I almost wish I could move to Indiana to join you. The whole daycare thing can be quite daunting.

  7. Io

    I’m glad you found a place – especially one where nobody wants to be your “friend” while disapproving of you. Heh.

  8. docgrumbles

    Congrats on finding a good daycare – I need to do that, too.

  9. That’s awesome. A good daycare is just more wonderful than anything I could explain. Although I would discuss about security – that’s scary.

    You mentioned they were okay with the alternative lifestyle. That’s funny in it’s just something I would never think you would have to deal with. Taking care of babies is taking care of babies. Whether they have a single mommy, two mommies or two daddies. I just don’t understand how descrimination still happens. I’m sure I don’t ~see~ it because I’m not living it, but it would piss me off if I did see it. There are 3 families with two mommies between my two girl’s daycare rooms and I never ever thought twice about them. I guess I did notice them, which maybe makes me a hypocrit because if it really was “nothing” to me, I wouldn’t even notice. Ugh. Now that pisses me off that I even noticed!

    Anywho – back to the daycare. Congrats! My daycare situation is wonderful but the rates just went up. For my soon to be 3 children, it will cost me $2,881/month. I’m so bummed! But instead of finding different care, i’m sucking it up because I love the center too much.

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