Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Time to make some changes
They may know the 'right' things to do, text-book style, and they may or may not have raised their own children or have kids in their lives, but they have no idea how we do things in our family.
I chose my daughter's childcare, where she has been attending twice a week for the last eight months, based on one thing: gut instinct. Places close to our house had my instinct screaming NO, so I found this little spot a bit out of the way and Abbey has been happy there. The people are lovely, the place is nice, and all is good.
The staff at my daughter's childcare centre recently asked for some photos of the kids, photos of them with special people in their lives or doing things they love, photos that will remind them of those things during the day. I gave them four: Abbey with Steve and I, with a cousin, at the fire station and with her beloved teddy bear.
We explained each of the photos to the ladies at the centre. It struck me as odd, that Abbey spends two full days each week with these people and they have no idea of the love she has for her teddy bear - that this is the one place she will go without him - no idea that her cousins are some of her favourite people in the world.
My little girl is only two, almost three, and these things and people are her life. It feels odd to have her life split into two like this.
Every childcare centre has policies and ways of doing things - many of these regulated, some specific to each centre, or to each staff member's manner. One thing I've struggled with recently is television. I'm strict with how much TV Abbey watches and which shows she sees, so I was a little shocked to realise she knows some programs I've never shown her. I know, that doesn't seem like a bad thing - but being at the shops and being asked for brand-name, character-based products - and annoying ones at that! - by a two-year-old seems wrong to me. It's life these days I guess, but not in our little world.
Parents are parents, and we decide how our child is raised. But we place a lot of trust in others to help us do this, and by doing that we give up a lot of control over what they're doing, how they're disciplined, what they eat and see, who they spend time with.
The things I've mentioned - the TV, the not knowing her teddy bear - are not big issues. They do not turn me against childcare or make me want to take her out of the centre. They are just life, part of a child being out of their home environment. Abbey has a lot of fun at childcare, she learns a lot and does many activities that she doesn't get to do at home.
What these are, are realisations that give me what I believe is a healthy dose of wariness, and the knowledge that no decision is made without its sacrifices.
The last eight months of childcare have, quite simply, got me through. After reaching rock bottom last year, I needed some time - to write, to work from home, to try some things (some of which have worked out, some haven't).
Now, though, it's time to make some changes. I am cutting back Abbey's hours, trying her with half-days instead of full days, easing her back in preparation for preschool next year. She and I, we're going to spend more time together again, and I'm going to fit everything else around that.
It's time to do things our way.
Posted at 9:03 AM