Friday, July 25, 2014

Because What's a Blog Without Navel-Gazing, Right?

So I had an exciting, mopey afternoon on the couch yesterday!

It started with the following thought:

Someone else is probably going to hear my baby say her first words.

I won't be able to stay home with her and neither can Jason; we have an agreement that if we ever do have one of us hit the income level necessary, the other will stay home. We don't really mind which one is able to, just that one of us will.

Nonetheless - I was thinking about that today, the idea that it will most likely be a daycare provider she speaks to first. This led to excessive moping, as pregnant women are wont to do. Especially pregnant women trapped on couches watching just an insane amount of Frasier.

If I'm very very lucky, the people who hear those words first won't tell me and they'll let Jason and I think we were the first that night when she talks for the first time in front of us. If I'm less lucky, they'll tell us when we go to pick her up and let us know that someone else saw it.

Of course, that just leads to other mopey thoughts, doesn't it?

Such as the aforementioned someone else may hear her first discernible word.

Someone else may be the first to watch her really GET that A stands for the 'ah' sound in apple.

Someone else may even hear her first determined mumbles as she attempts to babble.

Someone else will see those first stumbling steps.

Someone else may see her dance first.

It may very well be in front of a daycare provider that she first stands up for herself, tells another little kid off, dispenses whatever her own toddler brand of justice is at that time. I won't lie; I really want to be the one to see this.

So I sat here being all sad about that for a while.

I'm still sad about it.

It's incredible, that working-mom guilt can start to seep in before you're even actually a working mom, right? Hormones are incredible things.

Awful, hideous, incredible things.

It's still a huge gaping section of my daughter's day, every day, five days a week, that I will not be able to see what she's up to, what she's learning, who she meets, what silly new faces she discovers she can make. I have to count myself lucky to get just a few weeks.

 But then I think; my mother went back to work when I was very young. We joke that I was six days old - or my mother CLAIMS I tell people that, although I don't know that I ever actually have - but really, I was eight weeks old. I grew up, out of infancy and into babyhood, to toddlerhood and then into being a little kid, staying with either in-home daycares in town or at a daycare center in the city my mother worked in.

Here is what I remember about daycare:

My Little Pony day at my favorite of daycares, at the house of a woman named Pam, who did 'theme' days in the playroom we mostly stayed in. (I also liked Ninja Turtle day)

Playing with tons of other little kids, outside and inside.

The day the daycare center had a "bicycle parade" where the kids decorated their bikes and then rode them up and down the sidewalk.

That summer with the professional daycare center, riding in with my mother each morning, and how much fun I had in that precious half-hour of alone-time with her, singing along with "Queen of Denial", which was a huge hit that year. Bopping along in the seat next to her, front-seat privilege that was incredibly rare when I had an older sister who always claimed that right. (By the way, don't think this was a fight - it really didn't occur to me that I could argue with her on that for a shocking amount of time.)

One day, the daycare center took us to visit a different daycare center in another part of town and we played kickball and hung out all afternoon. There were like fifty kids in one place. It was awesome.

Running back out to hop in Mom's van for the ride home so I could tell her about what we did that day.

Talking to my mom, chattering for a half-hour straight right up until we walked in the door and then for a while after that, probably making her wish daycare was hearing more of what I had to say and she would be able to hear less.

Making friends.


Learning what it meant to make enemies.

It's funny, and hormone-y at the same time, to realize I can sit here and tell you quite honestly that daycare was probably one of the best things for me; that I don't have more than a few bad memories of my time going to the houses of women in town or to that daycare center. Even those bad memories are transient; a kid bit me. I had a fight with someone that I got in trouble for. That sort of thing.

I can tell you about how awesome daycare was and at the same time, I can sit here and mope about having to do the same thing to my own daughter, in order to give her half the life she deserves to have. There is nothing about my time in daycare I regret in the slightest, or wish hadn't happened.

On the other hand, it'd be pretty cool to get to be the one who sees her do something first, and to know that I will be that person.

Of course, there's the other side to the getting-to-stay-home thing; one of us still has to most likely miss the moments. I can sit here and mope about not being able to stay home all I want, but if I was able to stay home it would have been due to Jason having to make a sacrifice to ensure it could happen... and that sacrifice would almost certainly be his own time with his daughter.

We're in this together, sink or swim. Although hopefully not sink.

And, y'know, we did get into this habit of being able to afford food a few years back and we'd kind of like to keep it that way. We're spoiled like that.

6 comments:

  1. My daycare provider made the mistake of telling my son took his first steps while at the center. I sobbed for hours that evening. It wasn't so much that I missed it--It was that I KNEW I'd missed it...And then went into a spiraling guilt-ridden tornado of self-pity about having had to work and put my child in daycare in the first place. He's now going into first grade, and he's confident and makes friends easily and I don't think that would be possible had he not been in daycare. Long-winded navel-gazing comment aside, I know where you're coming from. :)

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    1. Ugh, that sucks that they told you that. I'm sure she/he thought they were just sharing a cool moment with you, but that is just the worst way to find out, isn't it?

      Thanks for the understanding. It's funny to realize how lucky I am that with both of us working we can afford a kid in the first place, but to simultaneously feel so UNlucky that we can't afford to have one of us stay home.

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  2. I'm totally with you there. I go back to work when my daughter is 6 weeks old and already I'm thinking about hiw my mom (who will be watching her) will probably get her first words, steps, everything. It sucks, but I'm trying to remember that it won't matter to my daughter, just to me. (*whimper of sadness*)

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    1. What I learned from my blog's FB page and the comments I got there is that apparently babies love to show off new skills to parents first - lots of my readers said that their babies would develop these new skills on weekends! So I'm hopeful.

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  3. I think this post is pretty awesome. These are super legit thoughts, and it's freaking constructive to consider what you actually got out of daycare! Besides, for most of human history, humans have lived in big groups in which children had lots of caregivers -- the isolated little nuclear family in which kids are only cared for by their biological parents is a pretty modern invention! :)

    And hey, for what it's worth, my dad has always worked nights, so he was home with me during the day when I was little, and what I mostly got out of it was watching a LOT of TV.

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    1. It's true - and I try to remember that - that it's actually completely a new development, this idea that one parent was with the kid all the time forever and always while the other one "worked". And we'll start with a friend of mine who has one baby watching her, so it'll really start with more that transition into what amounts to an extended family.

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