I really like having my kid in daycare. This is partly because I have a job so I don't have much choice, and partly because I’m a raging extrovert who gets really weird without grownup interaction. I know my limitations, and I don’t think being a stay-at-home parent would be a great fit for me. My sister and I have been having conversations lately about in-home daycare vs. center-style, and I think there are a lot of benefits to either. (In our county, in-home daycares must be certified, and can choose to work directly through the county to accept foster kids, so we got a list of daycares, both in-home and center, to pick from in our area when we got certified to foster. Our kid goes to a branch of a center-style daycare about a mile from our house.)
All of that said, there are a few things that routinely bug me about our daughter’s daycare:
1. At least once a week, I have to hunt for her pacifier before we can head home. She has a pacifier clip. She enters the building with it clipped to her shirt every morning. Unless they’re changing her clothes (see next item) I don’t have any idea why they’d have to unclip it and leave it, say, on the bookcase, or draped over the arm of the bouncy zebra toy. I’m not in love with the baby being as attached to her pacifier as she is, but that’s our choice, not the daycare’s, and I don’t like having to hunt for it. Especially because I don’t usually notice it’s missing until she’s buckled into her carseat, so I have to unbuckle her, haul her back inside, and find a small item in a large room.
2. Lately, our girl has been resistant to wearing a bib at daycare. This is interesting, since she has never fussed about or pulled at a bib at home, with the very rare exception of when putting the bib on slows down the process of getting food into her face. Anyway, in the last week or so, the daycare has just let her eat without one. We do baby-led solids, which means our almost-nine-month-old gets a lot of chunks of fruits and veggies. So regardless of what she’s wearing, they let her eat peaches, sweet potatoes, carrots, broccoli, green beans, whatever, without a bib. And then afterwards, after there’s a bunch of organic matter smushed into her clothes, they just change her into one of the backup outfits from her cubby. And stick the messy clothes into a grocery bag, tied shut. For me to deal with, up to eight hours later. This has meant a huge increase in the amount of Oxyclean I have to use on her clothes, which sucks because the baby has eczema and I try not to use synthetic shit on her clothes (and I haven’t been able to find a natural stain remover yet), and a doubling of the amount of clothes I have to wash for her every week. But I haven’t said anything, because I can’t tell if this is the battle I really want to pick. Maybe I should get a few thrift-store shirts in a bigger size for them to throw on like a smock?
3. This is the biggie. The usual lady who runs the baby room is on vacation this week, which coincides with the start of a new baby. Yesterday, I dropped our girl off to the usual backup lady, who we know and are comfortable with. The new baby was on the floor with a woman who I assumed was her mom. NOPE. It’s a new employee, who made very limited awkward small talk with me but who didn’t bother to even INTRODUCE HERSELF in the ten minutes I was there. She was there when Andy picked the baby up, and introduced herself to him, but no one at the daycare mentioned the baby would be with a new person (which, hi, attachment issues mixed with visits in the last few weeks, would have been fucking cool to have been notified of) and that she would be in charge of my kid. What the hell, daycare?
It feels weird telling people what to do, especially for someone who curses a lot but is painfully polite in real life, and it’s even weirder when you’re telling them to do something totally different from how everyone else does it. Explaining baby-led solids to the usual lady was not fun for me, nor was the conversation a few weeks ago where I realized they aren’t feeding her like we do (i.e., bottle of three or four ounces of formula plus three or four ounces of solids equals a meal – they’d been giving her small bottles at mealtimes and solids separately), especially when I called yesterday about the visit and they were doing it “their way” again.