Actually, to be completely honest, I had control issues AND I bought into the "daycare bad, mom's care good" rhetoric hook line and sinker.* What that has meant is a patchwork of sitters for the last 20 months. I have already exposed E to TEN caretakers. Let's review, shall we?
Spring 2005: We had the tag team of Nanny L and Nanny J. L did her best, but was a little cowed by our demanding three-month old. Just as L exited when E was 7 months did she seem to have it down. J was the oldest of 7 kids and was wonderful. Of course, she was scooped out from under us by a family in Park City, CO. We just couldn't compete.
Summer 2005: Disaster. Sitter D (I can't call her a nanny) had knee surgery after about a week on the job. Rehab meant she couldn't lift anything. Her friends S and C filled in, but it was no good and I was sitter-less by the first week of July.
Fall 2005: In August E started going to another mom's house. J was very nice and had a baby almost the same age. She was every bit the earth mother and could actually tie her baby on her back just like the native moms where she had served in the Peace Corps. J was a little appalled at my willingness to let E cry it out that first nap time, but trust me, she needed at least one baby to go to sleep. Her little girl had to be nursed and rocked down which was difficult with two in the house. Unfortunately, J seemed to have a latent case of postpartum depression and things went downhill quickly. We stopped going there by the end of October. I hear she has been accepted to a homeopathy program in the West and I wish her well.
October 2005-April 2006. We had Nanny J, Nanny M, and Nanny S. They started as friends who wanted to share the hours. In December, Nanny S assaulted Nanny M and went to jail for a night and was sentenced to community service and anger management. I kept her and fired Nanny M. It is hard to explain at this point, but it was the right call. Nanny J smelled vaguely of smoke, but was very sweet and was with us the longest. Being wives/ fiances of pro hockey players they are all gone for the off-season.
May 2006. Nanny A., a former student who did NOT write a horrible paper . She is quite good with E, but she is costing me dearly. Plus, she'll only be available a few months. Nanny A answered the phone today when the daycare center called so she knows this may be a short gig. Fortunately, I know someone who wants her half-time so she won't be unemployed for long.
Reasons I am excited about daycare:
- E will be around other children her age and older. Right now, her closest pal is 9 months younger and holding her back. OK, her friend isn't really holding her back, but she isn't quite a toddler yet and there are development differences.
- E will have to eat what they serve for lunch and snacks. She has morphed into the pickiest eater in the world so I'm hoping toddler peer pressure works wonders.
- I haven't been able to afford full-time nanny care so I am frequently frustrated by feeling behind on everything. My productivity may increase which will make me a more relaxed mama. At the very least, E will see fewer Elmo tapes because I won't be trying to answer email, return student messages, and do work while caring for her. Family time can be family time.
- I'm pregnant and exhausted. This is going to help.
- I'm tired of having people in my house every day. It's not that I plan to revert to total chaos and slobdom, but I feel the pressure to clean the house before the nannies arrive. Now, when there are days that I can't make the bed, clean the counters, sweep the kitchen floor, wipe down the sinks and hide whatever I don't want seen (umm. . Poise pads, Tucks, Maternity undergarments and HUGE utilitarian bras among other items) all by 8:30, it is OK. In fact, now I can take early walks with E before we start our day and clean when I get home from dropping her off.
- I can REALLY work from home. No sitter popping her head into the office to ask if it is OK to turn on the AC. No pounding on office door by E.
Reasons I am worried:
- I'm about to send my beautiful little girl out into the big, bad world.
- She is used to being home.
- Will she nap?
- What if peer pressure doesn't work? Will she starve at lunch?
- Will she feels abandoned?
- What if she is bullied?
- What if she is a bully?
- What if this leads to additional ear infections?
- What if I cry in front of her while dropping her off?
- What if this is a huge mistake?
Overall, I am cautiously optimistic. This center is my second choice mainly because I don't like the baby room (thinking ahead for little brother/sister). J is going to call our first choice tomorrow just to see if a miracle spot has opened. If not, we'll proceed with this center and hope for the best.
*I think this is true to an extent when the baby is very young, but mainly I think this is yet another way to control women and generate conflict and angst.