Tot Sauce: Daycare Shuffle

by Amy Nance

It's the day that every working mother dreads: the first day back to work. That day for me was four months ago. And if you are like me and are not fortunate enough to have friends or family close by, daycare is most likely where your kid will end up.

We could have gone the nanny route, but I wanted my son to be socialized with other babies. And despite the coughs, colds and runny noses that seem to be a constant in this petri dish kind of setting, I think it's been really good for him.

He started off with two very bright, enthusiastic young teachers, both with degrees in Early Childhood Education. In addition to the obvious tasks of feeding, diapering and putting them down for naps, these two girls spent all day entertaining, educating and stimulating these babies. Every day there was a fun new activity and sensory experience. They took pictures and presented them with daily reports about what the babies had done all day. These girls gushed over our babies. I couldn't have been happier (except, of course, if I was able to stay at home every day with my son instead). Then both of them quit within a week of each other. One of them is moving out of the country to be with her boyfriend. The other is exploring an entirely different career path altogether.

It was heartbreaking news, probably more so for me than my son since he's still so young. It's been a few weeks and they still haven't hired full-time replacements. It seems like every day I'm leaving my son with a new person who is "just filling in." The daily reports tapered off initially, and have now all but disappeared. So I really have no idea what's going on all day. I know the most important thing is that he's fed and kept safe, and I believe that for the most part he is.

But last week I got a phone call that one of the fill-ins had accidentally given my son some of another baby's food. Thankfully he is ok and didn't have any negative reactions, but it's obviously disconcerting. Of course anyone could have made the mistake, but I have to believe it's a factor of the inconsistent staffing.

The thought of changing daycares has crossed my mind. But daycares are very competitive around here (I know that sounds ridiculous) and the wait lists are months long. It's not like I can just pick a new one and go there tomorrow. I think once new permanent teachers are hired, things will get back to "normal." Though I know that it'll never be the same, and it totally bums me out.

Anyone else ever have this experience? What did/would you do?


Photo by Flickr member Chris. P, used under a Creative Commons License.