When Aiden was 6 weeks old, I had to go back to work. We found a woman who was a stay-at-home mom, recommended by a friend. It turned out that she didn't agree with the way we were raising our son, and because of that, she refused to do as we asked. We wanted him on a sleep schedule (which he was doing great with at home) that required waking him up if he overslept. She refused. She said, "You never wake a sleeping baby." There were a number of issues and in the end, we chose to switch him to a daycare.
We knew we wanted to do that eventually anyway, so he could have more of a school-like routine and other friends to play with and push him to keep up. Unfortunately, it happened after only two months with the stay-at-home mom.
I really liked his teacher in the infant room. Not so much with the teacher in the toddler room. I have wanted to get Aiden out of that daycare ever since they moved him out of the infant room and into the toddler room. His teacher was never very friendly with me. She always seemed a little bitter. And I felt like all I got from her at the end of the day was all the bad things Aiden had done.
The only reason we didn't move him right away was because I worried about him having to transition too frequently. He was only in the toddler room for a week before I wanted to move him, but he was having troubles adjusting to the one nap a day. Plus he was still getting used to his new teachers, the new classroom and the new kids. Soon after that, there was a biting epidemic at the daycare. Biting happens. I understand that. It's just that I was unhappy with the way they dealt with it. Instead of following the biter(s) around, they just scolded them after the fact.
We went months without any huge problems with the daycare. My main complaint at that point was the amount of television those kids watched. The TV is always on. Always. When I drop him off in the morning, the TV is on. When I pick him up after work, the TV is on. On Fridays, I would come in at various times between 3 and 6 pm and the TV was ALWAYS ON. The only times it was off was during nap time and when they went outside to play.
It was so frustrating. TV is not recommended at all for children under 2 years old. And after 2, they're only supposed to get 1-2 hours per day. Now, I am not completely against television watching for kids under two, despite those recommendations. That said, I don't want him watching it ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!
I refused to let Aiden watch TV in the evenings because that's all he did during the day. On some days, that was really hard. I generally have an hour and a half after I get home, to make dinner, give Aiden a bath and get him in bed. That means there is no dawdling around with the dinner making. I would give anything to be able to turn that TV on Aiden's cranky days to give him some serious distraction while I make the meal.
Well, my time has come! We finally switched Aiden to a new daycare. And guess what? They don't even HAVE TV's. How amazing is that?! Yesterday was his first day, and when I dropped him off, the teacher had big Duplos out for the kids to play with before breakfast is served at 8 am. Imagine that. An activity to entertain the kids that's not electronic.
The daycare/preschool has various activities they do throughout the month that the parents are invited to attend. For example, this Friday is a Mommy & Me Breakfast, in honor of Mother's Day the following Sunday. Then, at the end of this month, the kids are putting on a circus performance for the parents to view. So cute!
They also have ride-on toys for the toddler group to play with when they're outside. And when it's raining, they find some fun indoor activity for the kids to do, like playing with shaving cream. No TV!
The logistics of it are a little cumbersome. The new daycare is close to my work. Since I am always the one to drop Aiden off in the morning, and more often than not I pick him up in the evening, that means I won't have to drive as far. The problem is it's really far from Travis' work, so he will mostly likely never help me out in that area. I'll probably end up making the drive down to Galveston if I ever take a sick day from work. I guess the good side is it means Travis will have to go home and get dinner started. Right?!
Monday morning was rough. I walked him in, checked him in at the computer station and then walked him back to his room. I sat in the room with him for 15 minutes while the other kids shuffled in for the day. He sat at the table and played nicely with the other kids. He cried once when a kid took his stack of Duplos, but I gave him more from the center of the table and he was fine.
The real crying started when I had to leave. I gave him a hug and a kiss goodbye and he seemed okay. It wasn't until I got up to walk away that he started screaming "Mommmmyyyyy!!!" and holding his arms out for me. The teacher got down and gave him a hug and I walked out quickly. I dropped off the start-up paperwork at the front desk and then walked back to his hallway. I didn't have to walk to his room to hear him still crying.
Ugh, it was heart wrenching. All I could think was that I should have sat with him for a little while longer. I wish there was a way to save him from stuff like that, but there just isn't. He will have to go through things in his life that I cannot protect him from. I just need to come to terms with that.
When I was on my drive to work after that, I remembered he had still been sleeping in a crib at the old daycare. The new daycare puts the kids on mats at his age. He slept on the mat a couple times at the old daycare, but I still wanted to give them a heads up. I got lucky and Aiden's teacher answered the phone. I couldn't hear any screaming in the background, but I made sure to ask if he'd stopped crying. The teacher assured me he was doing fine.
I just gotta breathe...