Monday, October 23, 2017

Finn Goes to Daycare

Let me just preface this by saying that there are lots of people with lots of opinions on the best childcare situation and the positives and negatives surrounding each option.  There are definitely benefits to each scenario and I truly believe that each parent weighs these options before making a decision about their child.  

I grew up with a working mom and have many fond memories of my time at daycare.  I still remember the day that they brought a live boa constrictor to the center and reminisce on our holiday concerts that we spent hours practicing for (God bless the teachers who organized that.  Patience is virtue).   While there were times where I would have rather stayed home and hung out with Mom (who was actually at work and not at home), overall, going to daycare was a positive experience for me.  I also spent the last year not working and learned quickly that the stay at home mom life is not a lifestyle for me.  In order for me to be the best mom I can be, I need to work, at least a few times a week.  A little time apart for me to use my brain in other ways is beneficial for everyone. 

Since we arrived after the school year started and are leaving before the school year ends, a full time teaching job wasn't really in the cards for this year, but it was the perfect opportunity to get my feet back in the teaching pool by substituting. Luckily, a childcare center in our neighborhood had openings part time in their infant room and we were happy with their philosophy, physical location and the staff, so we turned in the registration paper work and Finn went off for his first day of school last week.

Remember how I said going to work would be good for me?  While that is VERY true, that doesn't mean that I didn't have a hard time with leaving Finn.  In fact, quite the opposite.  I cried the day I found out I had been hired as a substitute because it meant leaving Finny.  The night before he started school was rough and I was a nervous wreck.  I've left Finn before, but it's always been for a couple of hours with my parents or Mike.  Never for an entire day and with people I didn't really know. Deep down, though, I knew it was right.  I signed up to substitute only in the afternoon of Finn's first day so that we wouldn't have to rush and I could focus on getting Finn ready for school in the morning and then come back and get myself ready.

I dropped Finn off at school around nine (about an hour later than I normally do).  Luckily, Finn doesn't seem to mind strangers and smiled as the teacher took him out of my arms.  I said my goodbyes and looked at the ground as I made my way out of the building.  I did make it to my car before I started to cry, but, man, was that hard. I came back to our house and wallowed for about an hour before I had to get ready myself.  I thought about calling to check and see how he was doing before I headed into school, but if he wasn't having a good day, I wouldn't have been able to do anything and would have just worried the entire afternoon.  If something were seriously wrong, I know they would have called me, so I just pushed through.

I was in a fourth grade classroom in the afternoon and it felt SO good to be back in the classroom.  My teacher voice made an appearance and I even got a few love notes! Fourth grade is such a fun age because they are still little and want to please, but are independent enough and can be a big help when you aren't sure of something.  The sweet spot! I even got to facilitate an activity that I had done with my students in the past and go over the answers, so it felt like more than just watching as they completed a worksheet, which is sometimes the most a sub gets to do. That being said, when all of the kids had been dismissed to their buses, I practically ran out of the school to get to Finn.

Turns out, all of that worrying was for nothing because he had a great day.  I can't say I'm surprised, but I was definitely relieved. He was so tired, though, that he couldn't even muster a smile when I walked in and was asleep by 6:00.  The teachers all loved him and kept remarking about how happy of a baby he is, which made me feel good about my decision to send him.  He clearly had a great day and enjoyed himself.  While it makes me sad that I don't get to be with him all of the time, I know it's good for him.  Plus, he now has even more people who love him, which can only be a good thing, right?

We both survived!

Unfortunately, we will only be here for a few more months before we have to start the childcare/job hunt all over again, but for now, I'm happy to say that we are both enjoying this new normal and are always happy to be reunited when 4:00 rolls around. 

What are your experiences with childcare? As a parent? As a child?  I love hearing people's perspectives and reasoning behind their decision.  This is what is working for us now, but I am keeping an open mind as the military moves us around and changes our lives.

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