Daycare Identity and Parental Nitpicks


It’s so very interesting, to finally be on the other side of the daycare experience. After spending a few years as a caregiver, I find myself conjecturing lately about how Tay and we as a family are perceived by the caretakers.

It’s inevitable that as a caretaker, there are some kids you look forward to seeing more than others (and this, of course, varies between kids and caretakers… don’t get all judgmental on me either, cause babies are people too and we all get along to varying degrees with different people) and I do not by any means expect my child to be the favorite of every teacher in his room.
I do know that every time I come to pick him up he is either sleeping in the lofted playpen (his teachers have assured me that he sleeps in a bed too, but apparently he tends to take his afternoon nap in the playpen, which I could care less about…they cover him up, he sleeps, it’s all good) or sitting very calmly and quietly either in a swing or a relax and playing intently with the toys in front of him.
Yesterday I actually almost choked up because there was my little boy, sitting so sweetly with big round eyes, playing so quietly with a toy.
Regardless of whether or not he’s endeared himself to any teacher yet, it makes me happy to see that he isn’t one of the kids who is always clingy or in tears. He’s certainly well adjusted.

It also seems he’s one of the “well dressed” kids in the room. Since Piet and I are hardly trendy dressers, I tend to attribute this to the fact that I’m still a “new” mom and I still find great pleasure in dressing my baby up with the megaton of clothes we received as gifts when he was born.
And after the little glitch in the heating at the beginning of the week I was determined to be sure Tay was always dressed warm enough for a broken heater. Suffice it to say I’ve raided the clothing stash and have been matching long sleeve onesies with pants and t-shirts when I run out of long-sleeved, long-legged onesies (of which we only have two). And the comments on how good Tay looks from one of his teachers has inspired me to take the time to actually plan his outfits for the day.
Because I’m a dork and positive reinforcement really works.

Aside from Tay being generally a sweetheart and a sharp dresser, I can only hope Piet and I are at least tolerable, if not likeable parents.

Often times, it’s the parents who are a lot more irritating than the children in a daycare environment and having been on the receiving and of parents who expect you to pay special attention to their child, want to control every single detail of their child’s day, constantly forget to bring diapers/spare clothing/etc., don’t ever seem to take the time to listen to your comments on their child’s day, and so on, I’ve been trying very hard to be on top of whatever the daycare needs while not being too stressy about my child.

At the same time, I’ve become fairly nitpicky about Tay’s feeding routine. This is mostly because we’ve switched to a “saturating” version of his formula and have successfully reduced his feedings from 6 bottles a day (which bumped him up from 75% to almost 95% in his weight curve) to 5 a day. However, the new formula almost works too well. With the regular formula, Tay tends to get hungry every 3 hours. With the saturating he tends to go 4 or 4 and half before getting hungry.

Without getting too tedious, if we only give him the saturating, he only gets 4 bottles before falling asleep for the night around 9pm. If that happens, he wakes up around 2 am starving for his fifth bottle. If I give him one feeding in the afternoon with the regular formula, he’s hungry for the 5th bottle around 9pm and he sleeps through the entire night until around 7 am.

Now, if you’ve hung in with me this long, first of all, thank you. You are a patient person.
Second, you may be thinking something like, “for heaven’s sake woman, who fucking cares about the details of your kid’s feeding schedule? So what if he gets 4 or 5 bottles before bedtime? Is it really that important to differentiate milk powder once a day?!”

And as the person that has to wake up at 2 am and feed the baby and then spend the next hour putting him back to sleep, I’ll tell you that it does matter, and I have Tay’s feeding down to almost a science.
But I also realize that I (and maybe Piet) am the only one who really cares about it. And even Piet doesn’t care much right now, since he’s not doing the middle of the night feedings (for now, since I’m not working).

As you can see, I can go on for quite some time about it.
I do, however realize that most people will want to slap me if I do.
I also though, now understand much better the parents who used to drop their kids off at the daycare and then go into agonizing detail about certain dietary or behavioral restrictions/rules/guidelines they had for their kids.

But still, if I ever start doing that to people (outside of this blog), someone better slap me.


2 responses »

  1. This post made me smile. You are doing beautifully. Having three nieces who have newborns and are obsessing about minutiae and fluff, it is delightfully refreshing to read your posts. When our daughter5 was born 28 years ago, a friend told me to “remember, she is now one-third of your family…not 95%, so relax, have fun, and just be”. By golly, I think you’ve got a handlel on it!

  2. Wow, it sounds like you’ve really got it together.

    I hope we’re not one of those baby-parent pairs that they hate. I’m still breastfeeding Hayden up to 18 times a day and he is always in my arms. We have no schedule at all. All the other children there are 9-24 months old. It’s going to be a tough transition for him in November.

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