what we’ve learned about daycare, two months in.

as of this writing, baby L has been in daycare for about nine weeks. we’ve learned quite a lot in the past two months, and i wanted to share with you some of our major learning moments. hopefully this will be enlightening for you, and as you know, i love reflecting on what we’ve learned, so thanks for letting me do that here!

here goes: daycare learning moments, after two months –

L-Fauxhawk

daycare clothes is actually a thing. as i may have mentioned before, while my mother works full-time at a local college in the accounting department, she also moonlights in retail. she works at a local children’s clothing store, which means that yes, baby L has been outfitted head to toe for every age group since he was just a bun in my proverbial oven. he’s a lucky dude!

since i was fortunate enough to be at home full-time with L until he was fourteen months old, i never really built up an arsenal of clothing that he could wear and literally do anything in. sure, he had a few onesies that weren’t my favorite, and i can’t say that i’ve always liked every gift of clothing that we’ve received for L, but the majority of his clothing was considered “nice clothing.”

enter daycare.

my child comes home from daycare with his clothes spotted in whatever food he ate that day and, in the summertime especially, with sand in his shoes AND his socks – go figure.

since my boy is a big-time player and experimenter extraordinaire, i’ve learned not to put him in my favorite pair of his jeans or that adorable little sweater from grandma when i send him to “school” (as we call it around here). instead, he often wears sweatpants or cotton athletic shorts in the summer with a onesie/t-shirt/long-sleeved shirt, none of which are especially precious to me. he also has a pair of shoes that are his daycare shoes.

a daycare diaper bag = also a thing. before L was born, i tried on about seventy billion million diaper bags to find “the one” that would work for me. it couldn’t be ugly, it couldn’t be too girly or too boy-ish, it needed to have pockets galore, and it needed to be able to be repurposed as a purse later.

after much deliberation, i finally chose a vera bradley bag – this one, to be exact – and throughout L’s first fourteen months (when i was home with him), i loved carrying this bag whenever we would go out. sure, Jord thought it was a bit too girly for him to carry, but the size and the amount of pockets was perfect for my needs at the time.

soon after L began attending daycare, i realized that i wanted my bag back – not only do i love the bag, but at L’s daycare, bags are hung on a little hook in the reach of the kids, so i was also concerned that my bag wouldn’t be in such great shape after the kiddos got to it. so, i went to my dad, who works for a local office supply company, and he handed over an inexpensive and significantly smaller (and way less cute – it was plain black!) diaper bag for us to use for daycare. now i have my bag back for my own personal use, and i don’t have to worry about grimy (but adorable!) kiddo hands ruining my favorite bag.

baby artwork to adorn the fridge at home = so, so adorable. i literally almost cried when i received my first piece of artwork that L did at school. his teacher covered his little fingers in purple paint and then pressed them into a sheet of white paper, and i melted, all because i got to take it home. as it turns out, L loves, loves, LOVES art time at school, and our fridge proves it. that first piece of artwork is currently housed in a picture frame in our house, and there it will stay, memorializing the first artwork that L ever did. i absolutely adore this part of daycare.

rampant baby sickness in the first few months of daycare is an unavoidable rite of passage for most kids. this past weekend, L was out of commission with his second ear infection in as many months. to be frank, he’s been sick a lot these past nine weeks – Jord and i both have taken more sick time than we expected to. sure, we may have been naive, despite our doctor warning us of what was to come (read: lots of baby coughs and cries for cuddles), but baby L sure has been sick often. i feel grateful that he’s adjusting to daycare well by building up his immune system, which can only benefit him later in life, but i’m ready to get over the sickness hump and have my happy baby back for more than a week or two at a time! coping with a sick child is one of the most difficult parts of daycare for me.

daycare teachers really care about your child. we first approached our daycare about sending L there when i accepted my job as an English instructor at a local technical college. they were unbelievably warm and welcoming, and took lots of time to help us as first-time parents (and for me, as a mama who’d been home with her baby since birth) to grow comfortable with the idea of daycare and their way of doing things – of caring for the children. it’s easy to see that L’s teachers care for him lovingly. during L’s first few weeks of daycare, he would cry and cry whenever i would leave him there in the morning. but each day, when i picked L up, his teachers would take the time to tell me how long he cried that morning (which grew exponentially less and less as the days went by), and reassure me that he too, just like other children, would adjust. it’s easy to see how much L’s teachers care for him now, nine weeks in, when he reaches out for them as soon as we walk in the door to daycare. they love him and care for him so well, and he has so much love and care for them as well.

at first, i was nervous that he wouldn’t need me, his mama, as much, if he had such loving and caring teachers. but i’ve learned over the past nine weeks that no one can replace a mama in my boy’s heart, and that’s made all the difference.

also, in terms of cloth diapering L (we use fuzzibunz diapers), they were open to the idea from the start, even though they’ve never used cloth diapers before. after showing L’s teachers how to use them, they’ve fully embraced them and see no issue with using them. their flexibility and support has meant so much to us.

in other words, we couldn’t be happier with our experience with daycare so far – L is learning SO much (i’ll have to write another post about what he’s learned at school so far and what he does all day!), and he’s blossoming into such an adorable little boy. we feel so grateful to have found a loving and nurturing place to send L!

 

About Sara

Sara works in higher education, but she's most proud of her role as a Mama to two precocious boys, Lionel Conner, age 4, and Quincy August, age 2. In honor of turning 30 in 2016, she pierced her nose to "keep her young." She loves watching guilty-pleasure television, writing about motherhood, decorating her first home, sipping red wine with her husband Jordan, and chasing after her sons.
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