Monday, January 17, 2011

"Our" first day at daycare

So Deanna is the only one who noticed how I just let slip a few weeks ago that my babies went to daycare :)

My nephew has been going since he was about 8 months old (now 3.5) and my sister mentioned to me while we were on holiday that the school was closing and he'd be going for a half day.

I joked and said, "can K and C go too?" and she said she'd phone the principal and see.

She phoned me back after 10 minutes and said yes.

Of course once it was a done deal, I panicked a little bit but I was brave and told D that I'd booked them in and they were going.

He is far more overprotective than I am (my friend Caren says D is a more nurturing "mother" than I am - ha!) and had many more concerns.

I said, "if it's good enough for K (nephew), it's good enough for our two".

And I was dreaming about actually having a bit of time off after 4 full days with the babies as I now know that the zen-ness only kicks in after 5 days (or at least that's how it was for us).

Time to eat warm food and drink a hot cup of tea/ coffee all the way through.

You know, things I took for granted before.

So we dropped them off shortly after 8 in the pouring rain (this holiday was terrible with all the rain but moving along).

Two teachers met us at the gate and were obviously expecting us as they said, "are these K's cousins, the twins (you guys know how I hate that!)?"

I entertained thoughts of hanging around a bit and letting them get used to the new environment but no, they like the break fast.

So you hand over your precious cargo and leave QUICKLY.

Surprisingly K was absolutely fine - started chatting to the teacher immediately - that girl makes me worry. Will she just go off with any friendly person????

But C screamed and wailed, and didn't want to let go of D. They told us to go and I left a business card with them and said we'd be in the area for breakfast and to please phone if things got out of hand and we'd come collect them.

We went to a lovely coffee shop where I wrote this post.

We had pretty hot chocolates

this is D's meal

and this was mine (ricotta hotcakes with honey and strawberries)

yes, it tasted every bit as good as it sounds. Mmmm.

While we waited for our food, I made some bookmarks and keyrings for some special people.

Some of the patrons looked at me strangely - is it weird to be all organised? I hate wasting time.

Anyway, while I was on holiday, I also decided to get my eyes re-tested and get some new frames. There was a special on at a local optometrist and I'd save about R1000 with all the stuff I usually do with my glasses (high refractive lenses, anti-reflex coating, hard coating).

So I went for my eye test (all in about 3 - 4 blocks) and D collected the kids.

When I finished, they were fast asleep in the car. Stressed out from being with all the other kids, poor things.

D told me when Connor saw him, he started crying again. It broke my heart. See, I'm not as cold as I seem.

K was fine and, as she usually is, happy to see him.

Apparently the teacher said that Connor calmed down after 10 minutes but every 20 minutes or so, he'd cry a little again. Terrible.

Even K (nephew) told my sister that they could hear Connor crying from their class :)

And that was their first (half) day of daycare.

But here's the thing.

The rest of that day and the next couple, Connor would freak out if D so much as disappeared from his line of vision.

"Daddy! Daddy!" in that little boy urgent voice.

And for weeks afterward, he still wants D around all the time but that could just be due to the fact that D's been at home with them for a whole month because of being sick.

So I dread to think what will happen when, one day in the very distant future, the kids go to daycare.
And the schools are clever in these parts. They charge much the same whether they go for a full day or a half day.

E.g. I investigated two local schools (18 months early because I'm a planner) and the one said R1900 for a full day and R1750 for a half day, and again R1600 for a full day and R1400 for a half day.

Those fees are per person per month.
I wonder how I'll know if it's right for them and they need to just suck it up, or if I'm pushing too much (my tendency is to push...).

I read about Cat's twin boys, one who cried so much last week the nanny had to go to the school to spend some time with him. The other one was perfectly fine.

This is not a new problem and it certainly won't be the last.

But oh, it is so difficult when they wail like that and you feel like your heart's breaking.


  1. You are a stronger woman than I! I couldn't do it! Not yet at least. I am almost desperate enough to go back and re-read what I missed. I loathe paying for childcare if I go back to work, with two you're only working to pay someone else! The centers I was willing to send the girls to ranged from 8275-9654 rand for them both each month. My friend pays just under 3000 R a month for her little girl to go to day care 3 days a week.

    Many places here offer sibling discounts, you should ask-or beg-when the time comes!

  2. I think daycare can be a great experience for kids. If it weren't for the cost, I'd be open to Josiah going a few days a week just for the educational opportunities of it.

    And you mentioned making bookmarks. Did you make the one that you sent me? It didn't even occur to me that it was handmade by you. I just thought of how much you love to read. I haven't told you that my mom fell in love with my bookmark and decided to start making bookmarks for all of her friends and family members. I'm currently using mine to read through my first book out of the 3 for my yearly goal :-)

  3. Oooh those hotcakes look so good! Yummy! Want!

    And the bookmarks are so pretty, such a neat little gift idea :)

    Best wishes for the next daycare attempt!

  4. Wow, that was a big step for you guys! Especially for D, I guess? : )

    I bet they will love daycare when they start going regularly. They get time with other kids and all kinds of activities that I would never try to pull off at home. One thing I appreciate is that ours is very scheduled...knowing what a strict schedule we've had all these months at home, I was nervous about changing it up, but they have a great routine there at school too, so I think that helps.

    Our girls cried when we picked them up the first few days was like they thought we would leave again or something! It passes though, and i bet K & C will adjust well when the time comes.

  5. Matt cried at first when they started preschool, but they're fine now. It's all an adjustment for them and for us!

    That breakfast sound heavenly!

  6. It's a big adjustment for them, but I think at some point it does become necessary even if it's only for them to learn how to socially interact with other kids. Maybe it's different with twins though because they already have each other to interact with?

    I pay R1880 at Nicola's school for full day, and I only have to provide nappies and milk (in the bottles already) - they provide everything else like the wet wipes, bum cream, mush food and so on.

    I'm not sure what the half day rate is, but I know that there is a sibling discount.

  7. I have to tell you that things are going better and better. C can not wait to get to school every day and L is doing fine. A small cry mornings, and then he is fine. Just to make me feel bad, he does the obligatory cry when he see me - he plays happily and the moment he notices me, he starts to cry! Manipulating, I tell you.

    It is important for twins to learn to interact with others and break that intense bond.

    Thanks so much for the keychain - it is on my car keys.

  8. Yes, very glad I read this post otherwise I wouldn't have known about your little experiment!

    I sent David at 1 year to playgroup for 2 mornings (8 to 12) a week, and we ramped it up slowly (more for me than him!)I did this quite out of personal reasons as I don't have a fulltime nanny and needed to do some work. We had our wobbly weeks where he cried and did what Connor did every time I walked out of the room or someone new walked in. This year he's a completely different child and I have to DRAG him out of there. He now goes 5 mornings a week (yes I feel a bit guilty) and it's always from 8 to 12. I think we're paying just over R5000 for a term (3 terms in the year). One of my most traumatic memories was being left at playschool by my parents. I would scream for ages afterwards. So what I'm saying is that I had huge reservations after being haunted by my own memories, but David fortunately seems very happy at his playgroup.

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  10. C and D could sooooooooooooooooooooo be twins! :p Don't start me on daycare costs - and Mandy, same deal here - if we have 2 going back to work would mean I'd be taking home a third of a salary - or not enough to make commuting to an office worthwhile unless it was the best job on the planet!


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