I’m not sure who suffers the most on a child’s first month at daycare. Is it the weeping child, the anxious parent, or the care provider trying to calm the child and the parent? I can only speak from my perspective, and I’m gonna place my bet on – the parent.
Surviving First Day
Whether you are dropping your infant off for their first day ever away from the wicked awesomeness that is Mommy, or dropping your toddler off for their first day at a new daycare, the first day blows. The first time I dropped Ansh off at daycare, I sat outside his classroom and howled like a fat girl whose cake has been stolen. There were 10 crying kids in the room and somehow I could recognize his cry amongst all others. Yeah, this torture called motherhood, enables your sixth sense to recognize your kid’s voice even in a loud setup. That made me ever more depressed. So I sent a random parent inside to spy on him, who came outside and told me that my kid was sitting in a corner playing with dough, and not crying. “I don’t understand? I can hear him cry”. I was sure that he confused my kid with someone else’s, so I described him Ansh again.
“Yeah! The ONLY Indian kid in class right? He is playing and not crying at all”. Hmmmm…. So my sixth sense wasn’t working so well. But somehow, I didn’t want to believe him. I came home and cried even louder. At this point, I called my parents, my sister, my husband, my friends and everybody else I could think of who could make sense of my mumbling while crying. But none of them said anything different from what I already knew. “It’s good for him”. It’s only when Ansh’s teacher sent me his picture of playing with ball, did I breathe.
Surviving the Germ Pool
No, it’s not just an urban myth that daycares are cesspools of germs. Ear infection, Hand Foot and Mouth, roseola croup, you name it. Daycares are full of sexy- sounding illnesses that will invade your child. Ansh started daycare 3 months ago. Yes, germ-filled, push-your-kid-off-the-swing set, pay-them-half-your-salary, daycare. And in the last 3 months, this is already his 19th cold, my 4th sore throat, and Ashish’s 100th anxiety attack. “Is he scratching his ear more than usual?” “How did he bump his head?” “What’s that on his knee?” “Does he look too pale to you?” “There’s something different about his eyebrow today” “He’s missing a hair from his head”… okay, I completely made up the last one, but this is exactly what he sounds like. In most cases it’s just teething/ cold/ him trying to sap your will to live. That’s when we dose him up with Tylenol and pray that it gets better by the morning. Or for long enough to get to work, pour ourselves a cup of coffee and check our emails before we get The Call.
Surviving The Call
Every mom dreads seeing their daycare’s number come up on their phones. It is never them calling to let you know that your kid is a ray of sunshine and they just wanted you to know how much they love having them. It is daycare calling to let you know that he has hit his head again or that his fever is beyond the magic number of 100.1. And he needs to be picked up. The Call always seems to come when you are right in the middle of something important, like updating your blog. Great! This means, another week of sniffing, coughing, medicines, cranky baby and a cranky husband. Let me publish this post and then I’ll answer the call.
Surviving The Mean Kid
Every daycare has a mean kid. They are the one that you just look at and can see that their tiny beady eyes are filled with mirth. This is the kid that is always pushing, hitting, saying “mine!”. You know, the one you have to fight off the urge on a daily basis to tell they are going to grow up with no friends.
Surviving The Missed Milestone
It is inevitable that since our child is at daycare so often, he will hit some sort of milestone for them and not for us. Really? My baby said his first word/ learnt to eat by himself/ completed his doctoral thesis today? Thanks for letting me know.
Well, my point is, being a daycare mom isn’t a job of the fragile, I-can’t-drive-because-I got-Henna-on moms. If you got henna on your hands, you cover it up with toilet paper and keep moving. Because only the tough ones survive!