So, some thoughts about what we learned about and from daycare, conveniently presented to you in bullet form:
· Picking her up from daycare is way more fun than dropping her off.
· Daycare wears my little girl out! She does sleep while she’s there (as our daily activities sheet tells us), but we think she’s also far more stimulated when she’s awake. That’s one of our daycare center’s missions, helping her develop, so we’re glad that she’s getting lots of opportunities for the immigrant populations of her nervous system to lay the railroad tracks of synapses in the wild west of her brain.
· The daycare is pretty diverse, both in terms of staff make-up and clientele. We’re very excited that our daughter will get to grow up around people who look different than she does. (Our neighborhood is pretty diverse, too, but she’ll probably spend more time playing at daycare.)
· The social context of daycare is a remarkable reinforcement for social interaction at an early age. I could definitely make a case for why it would be wonderful if my wife or I could be a stay-at-home parent, but our daughter will have far more opportunities to interact with other people at daycare. Just this morning when taken in, one of the daycare workers sat my little girl in a bouncy chair directly facing another young infant in her own bouncy chair and said, “Okay, now you girls can talk and catch each other up on your weekends.” Cute? For sure; obviously, these girls are far too young to be able to talk to one another or even understand the concept of a weekend. But at such an early age, the daycare setting is placing her in a social context that encourages interaction with other people. I am hopeful that this will help to socialize my little girl in a way that wouldn’t happen if she were to spend all day at home alone with one of her parents.
· Sometimes when I’m at work I can smell her hair.
· Our daycare is great; from what little I’ve seen so far, it’s as superb a setting for childcare as a parent could want. But even with the great adult-to-child ratio (1 to 4), this is still not the same as having the kind of close attention she gets at home. Thus, if our girl doesn’t fuss, she won’t get attention. Now, she is not shy about fussing when she’s hungry. But she is a bit proper when it comes to evacuation and other bodily functions. I won’t detail how several of her soiled onesies have looked when we’ve brought them home, but I am beginning to suspect that she will soon learn to ask loudly for what she needs. I may not always be thankful for this.
· Unequivocally, the music played in an infant daycare room sucks. My little girl and I will need to spend more time together listening to quality records.
· Despite having the code to open the door and knowing where to sign the log book (not to mention where to sign the check), I got hassled by a worker who didn’t recognize me. I’m glad they’re vigilant in checking on unfamiliar people coming to pick up children. Still, I was a little offended.
· When I drop her off, I’m really tempted to skip work and just sit in the floor and play with her. And when I’m at work, it’s harder to concentrate as the day wears on, because I’m looking forward to seeing her smile when I pick her up and drive her home. Daycare hasn’t seemed yet to disrupt my little girl’s developing attachment with us, but it’s definitely strengthening our sense of attachment to her.