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    Daycare for two

    January 31st, 2011

    S2 starts daycare tomorrow.

    I’ll be honest, I feel a little conflicted about it. I’m both excited and sad. Packing his stuff to take to daycare felt like one of the saddest things ever. It was a mix between “time is going by too fast” and “I feel like I’m cheating”. Let me explain that last part.

    While S2 starts daycare tomorrow, I won’t be returning to work until mid-March. THAT makes me excited as hell. I have some personal projects that I’ve been putting off for the last year that I can finally focus on. I’ll go and use the facial/massage gift certificates that have been piling up over the last few holidays. I’ll be able to pull G out of daycare and spend some much needed 1:1 time with him and do some adventure outings. On my list are the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum and whatever else strikes my fancy. S2 on the other hand will get to start daycare before stranger anxiety kicks in, which will hopefully make these first few weeks easier on us all.

    Yet, I’m also sad, and… well… guilty. I feel that if I’m staying home, he should be too, since I’m staying home because of him. Also, G was 4 months old when he started daycare. S2 should have the same time with me too.

    So yeah, tomorrow will be interesting. I’ve told myself though, that when I start missing my monkey too much I’ll go bring him home.

    Meanwhile, I’ve been prepping G too. I told him that his little brother will be going to school with him tomorrow. I told him which room he’ll be in and the teachers he’ll be with. S later asked him if he would check up on his brother. G’s response was “No! S2 in baby room” But he did promise to be a good big brother to him.

    So… wanna take bets if I’ll be crying tomorrow on my drive home all alone?

    No more daycare tears

    September 17th, 2010

    Today is the second day in a row that G has let me leave daycare without crying for me doing so.

    Don’t get me wrong, he really likes daycare. He doesn’t cry because I’m leaving him there. He cries because he wants me to stay and play with him all day. Now, as much as I would like to spend my day finger-painting, being read to, fed snacks and milk, and nap for 2 hours in the middle of the day, someone’s gotta go make the doughnuts. Plus we’ve grown quite accustomed to sleeping inside of a weather-shielding structure.

    Until now, when it was time to leave I had to sneak out, hopefully unobserved, so that G wouldn’t cry. I had 3 escape routes, and tried to mix them up as best I can. If S and I ever did drop off together, we also has an exit strategy. Over time G’s gotten pretty smart to all of them, so departure met with various success rates. I felt like each day I was making a prison break, that involved the daycare instructors as my accomplices. There were maps, and secret hand gestures involved. Believe me.

    BUT… yesterday and today, I decided to try the “preschool” parent departure approach. It goes something like this: “G would you like to push me out the door?” Wouldn’t you know it? Yesterday, he did. G escorted me all the way to the door; I opened it; he pushed on my rear; out I went and closed the door as he ran back of to kick a ball, eat a piece of waffle, or whatever it is he does. No tears.

    Today? Same thing. I don’t know if this is a temporary event, or our new departure routine, but I like it.

    More of this, please!

    The boy with the mustache

    August 26th, 2010

    Today is G’s last “official” day in the toddler room at daycare. Tomorrow is a staff day, and as of Monday G will be heading to the preschool group.

    Since I had suggested to Ms. J that the only way the kids move up is after growing facial hair, I thought it would only be fair (and a good way to lighten the mood) is if G showed his maturity and readiness by… you guessed it… growing a mustache. So after his diaper and clothes, I helped accelerate G’s facial hair follicle growth with some eye-liner.

    I gotta tell you, painting a mustache on a toddler is no easy task. His whiskers are far from even, and there was a tantrum involved. But, he looked awesome on the end and I think Ms. J got a kick out of it.

    Without further adieu here is my little Gomez Adams:

    But I’M not ready for preschool! :(

    August 18th, 2010

    When G turns 2, he will graduate to the preschool room at daycare. It means a big kid with big toys, and big words. It means letters and numbers, and circle time, and the big kid playground.

    And I’m not sure I’m ready. I’m having a hard time parting with the wee baby that fit hand to toes in the crook of my arm, and acknowledging that that wee baby is the one that now runs like a crazy man from room to room in nothing but a diaper. I feel like these last 2 years couldn’t have possibly gone by this quickly. And that room transition is just making it too real for me.

    It also means no more Ms. J and no more Ms. S, who I am really, really going to miss. They have been so sweet and wonderful to this little man. I will miss talking to them about his day. I will miss getting to know them better. In some ways they feel like family, and it’s just hard to say Good-Bye to people like that.

    G on the other hand is ready to go. Transition for the kids starts a month before their birthday. They go in for a few minutes at first, then hours. G went in and didn’t want to leave. He wanted “big kids”. It was hard bringing him back, and legally they can’t keep him there until 2, so they decided to delay the transition. Instead they’ll do it over the last week before he has to be there full time. That week is next week. And as of Aug 30th, our little dude is officially in pre-school. PRE-SCHOOL, PEOPLE!!!

    Ms. S said that once the kids move over to the other room, they become too cool to play with their toddler teachers. They just don’t want to. Maybe it’s the pregnancy hormones talking, but that simply breaks my heart. G calls after Ms. S when he sees her in the parking lot. His face lights up when he sees his Juju. I just can’t imagine that he’ll want to turn his back on them and not want to play with them anymore. I told Ms. J, that the toddler room needs to be like the boy band Menudo — the kids can only leave when they grow facial hair. She liked that idea!

    I know S2 will be going in that room next year, and I have 2 more years around these wonderful people, but I’m still sad. The teachers in the next room are just as awesome, and his tuition drops too. There are lots of things to look forward to, I assure you, but I’m still not ready. I’m not ready to say good-bye, and I’m not ready to have a kid in pre-school.

    So… which one of you has the time machine? I need the pause button hit. Pronto!

    New Daycare

    September 14th, 2009

    G started at his new daycare today. It’s too early for me to have a well-rounded opinion, but first impressions count, and today’s was pretty good!

    I had a knot in my stomach all day: it felt just like dropping him off at daycare that very first January day. I wonder if I’ll feel that way each time he starts a new school or a new room. I don’t know why I was worried: being neglected perhaps and not getting enough care and attention.

    As S and I left, we braced ourselves for G crying. Yet nothing… or at least we heard nothing as we walked past the door.

    I called mid day to check-in on him and had the following phone conversation:

    Me: Hi I’m calling to check on G — it’s his first day today.

    K: Oh, the police is here with a dog… [insert long pause here, at which point I’m thinking “Are you about to tell me something’s happened to my child onlywithin 3 hours of me dropping him off?”]… doing a demonstration and all the kids are outside watching and having a great time.

    Me: Ughmn, G is in the infant care program. Is he out with the dog too?

    K: Oh, lemme check… Nope, he’s inside. Here’s the director!

    The director and I proceeded to have a much calmer discussion.

    When S and I came to pick G up in the afternoon his face lit up when he saw us. He pointed to S and said “Dada”. (Now, he says “Dadadadada” a bunch, but today I’m pretending it was in context ;p)

    Overall, today was a pretty good day. I’m pleasantly surprised because I really expected this week (and into next, to be honest) to be quite rough. I was expecting Screamfest 2009, paired with no naps and little eating. Instead, we got a well-fed kid who took 2 naps (albeit short) who was hanging out in Ms. J’s lap, surrounded by two classmates and smiling when we arrived. So yeah, score for Day 1. I can only hope the rest of the transition goes as well.

    One of his new teachers made my heart pitter-patter when she handed me a list of his daily activities: when he napped, how long he slept, when he ate, and when his diaper was changed. And I didn’t even have to ask!!! I have a small crush! They also gave us a collage of G playing in his new digs to commemorate his first day. It was sweet! What’s even better is that he’s not crying in either photo. I don’t know if that was the exception or the rule of his day today, but I’m pretty happy.

    P.S. As S and I were signing out (signing in and out each day is something we’re going to have to get used to), we saw that the new place does Parents Night Out. Once a month from 6-11pm, they keep the kids for $30 (TOTAL!) so the parents can have a night out. It’s the same teachers as during the day, but they get to stay longer. This is huge! S and I are excited about trying it out. Not that we wanna party ’till 11, but I smell a movie night, or perhaps socializing with people that like to eat dinner after 6pm.

    So that’s the review of our first day.

    Switching daycare (Aka: Breaking up is hard to do)

    August 11th, 2009

    Remember last May when I was calling daycare facilities only to be put on ridiculously long waiting lists? Well, 15 months later, one of them has a spot for G and we’re ready to take it.

    This isn’t the first time we’ve been called up from a waitlist, to be fair, but it’s the first time when the timing felt right. The first call was days before I returned to work and days before G started with his family daycare. It felt strange to switch before we even gave it a chance. The second time was a few months later, by the same facility, which prompted S and I to re-tour. We decided then, that we’re OK to keep G in his current environment until he approached 18 months.

    Well, except for last Thu when we got a call from our top pick saying they had a cancellation and G was in the right age group. If we wanted it, they had a spot for him. We talked about it, made some lists (which of course I’m about to share) and decided to do it. So here goes (hours are the same, so no need to discuss those):

    Ms. F

    – Caring, loving home
    – Genuinely likes G. G genuinely likes her.
    – Too good to be true tardy policy ($10/hr but waived if you’re stuck in traffic. Compare that to the normal $1/min in our area!)
    – Provides healthy home-cooked meals for older kids, included in her fee
    – Cheaper

    – Changes diapers every 3-4 hours (but that could be ‘cuz he sleeps a ton)
    – Didn’t encourage tummy time, even after asked, and insisted G would do it on his own when he was ready. He did, she was right, but he didn’t find any more appreciation for tummy time w/o the necessary exposure
    – Takes 2 weeks in holiday throughout the year requiring to find (and pay for) external care
    – McDonald’s is on the way from her house to the freeway, meaning many a drive-through passings due to my complete inability to self-restrain myself from the #2 breaskfast meal šŸ™

    Fancy Daycare Center

    – Goes from infant to pre-K. No need to look for a preschool if we continue liking the program.
    – The facility is part of the school district, so if we are tracked to go to that elementary school, they provide the after-school care program as well. Sadly, this isn’t our tracked school, but we could petition to move if we like it
    – Formalized curriculum program w/ excellent school prep
    – Educators specialized in early childhood development
    – An environment that will nurture and encourage milestone development
    – Formal daytime schedule tracking (have we discussed how much S and I like spreadsheets?)
    – Changes diapers at least 2 hours (unless he’s sleeping)
    – Closer to my commute in/from work (slightly longer for S, but not terrible as he does pick-ups)
    – No McDonalds anywhere en route!!!

    – More kids = more germs. I’m worried that G will be home sick more
    – Sleep area is in the same room as play area. G right now sleeps (at daycare and at home) in a separate, quiet space. I’m worried that he’ll take a long time to acclimate and his nap schedule will go to hell

    Yeah, this isn’t really a 1:1 comparison, but having laid it all out made my preference clearer.

    The tricky part, is that the lists above is the logical reasoning behind our choice, but there’s still the emotional attachment. G’s been going to this daycare for the past 8 months. It has honestly felt like dropping him off at a relative’s house this whole time. He was cared for, loved, kept safe — all the things we wanted for him. He’s made friends. Ms. F holds him with such pride, that S and I have genuinely felt like G is her favorite kid in the bunch. It’s just hard to take him away from that kind of environment, and today when we told Ms. F our plans, we genuinely felt like we were breaking up with her. It was sad! S said that most likely that last day he’ll cry, just as he cried the first day G went to school… and probably for the same reason.

    The part that also breaks me up is knowing that G has no idea what’s coming. He won’t get a chance to say good-bye to his friends. Does this make us a pitiful bunch or what?

    So any advice on what kind of gift we should give Ms. F?

    Worst sight at daycare

    March 25th, 2009

    I found out yesterday what the worst possible sight is when going to get your child from daycare: an ambulence, a fire-truck, 5 cars parked outside, and open gates (normally locked) leading up to your child.

    G is fine.

    …but one of his classmates wasn’t.

    I don’t normally get G after school: S does. However, due to some scheduling stuff I did it. After yesterday’s sight, I can’t say I’m eager to do it again either, for fear of the same sight awaiting me.

    I was the 2nd to last parent to pick up yesterday afternoon. I walked in to a sight of a little girl sitting on her mom’s lap, two paramedics surrounding them, and one paramedic standing over my child. Ms. F (the day-care provider) was no-where in the room (as it turns out she was getting the emergency paperwork for the paramedic who was watching over G). I was confused. I didn’t know what was going on: if the teacher was the one who was taken away, was it the little girl getting the attention, was it another child, was it MY child?

    The look of bewilderment on my face must have been pretty apparent because as the mom saw me at the doorstep surveying the room for clues as to what happened she told me that her little girl was having a hard time breathing. They were here for her. It turned out that she had had an allergicĀ  reaction, impacting her breathing, and Ms. F immediately called 911. She’ll be OK. They were giving her an inhaler which was making her cry. It was a sad sight, and G was not amused. My little guy was whimpering from all the comotion and hearing his friend be unhappy. It made me want to cry: for the little girl’s discomfort… for the mom… for our teacher who must have been scared stiff… from relief it wasn’t G.

    It’s making me really ask a lot of “What if?” questions:

    • What if it HAD been Ms. F? She has an assistant some days, but not all week long. What happens to the kids then? Do the older ones know how to call 911?
    • What if it had been G? I realized after this that I have a terrible habit of leaving my mobile phone on my desk when I’m in meetings. This has to stop now! I would not have been able to be reached if it had been G, and the idea that he would be alone, or taken to a hospital without me just tears me apart.
    • What if something happens when either S or I are home alone with G? We took first aid to help him; but what about us? I don’t have a solution to this, but if any of you have any ideas, please chime in.

    I feel like an unprepared parent. I know what I would do in case of earthquake & fire while at home. I didn’t think to prepare for this type of situation. I think that’s what has me rattled most: not what happened, but the prospect of being unprepared if something were to happen.

    So that’s my freak-out for the week. Hopefully for the month. Hopefully for the year.

    I’m open to suggestion on how to prep better by the way. Wise parents, child caretakers, HELP!

    Work & Day Care: WEEK 1

    January 11th, 2009

    It wasn’t bad! The first day (as you read) was hard, but as the week progressed it got better and better. My second day drop-off wasn’t nearly as eventful as the first and by the end of the week, I felt like a pro.

    G also kept improving. By day 3 we were getting reports that he was enjoying hanging out with the big kids, eating well, and napping… on his own… without being held… 3 times a day, for at least an hour each. By the end of the week we were asking for tips on how to put our kid down. The main instructor (we’ll be calling her “F”) is really nice and she seems to care for G a lot. At the end of the week she told S that G was a smart little boy. Of course, I’m thrilled to hear that, but with a 4 month old, what does “smart” look like?

    My only quarrel is diapers. As it turns out I’m an overly obsessive diaper changer. Apparently I’m one of few insane parents that likes to change their child every hour. No, I’m not a germ-a-phobe, but in my defense, G has never had a diaper rash nor has he ever needed rash creme. Besides, why would you want to let your child stew in their excrement if you know they need to be changed. I know my kid has gone in his diaper over that hour so why not fix it? Unfortunately, F this week would change him at most 4 times per day. From 7am to 5:30pm, 4 diaper changes. I don’t think she’s used to working with cloth diapers. 4 changes might be OK for disposables, but doesn’t work as well for cloth. They’re each sopping wet, and he’s started to develop some redness on his bum from diaper rash. I’m not thrilled, so I think this will be a conversation topic for the next week. I understand that I won’t be finding anyone who’ll want to change my kid as often as I do, but at least every other hour isn’t too much to ask.

    Work also went alright this week.Ā  I had to turn in my performance self-assessment for our focal reviews on Friday which was interesting. I knew this was coming up, but I didn’t realize I only had 4 days to get it done. It didn’t help that while on leave, I had conveniently forgotten (or mentally blocked out) just about everything I worked on last year. I had several drooling moments as I stared at a blank document in an attempt sing my own praises. I’m pretty sure I deserve a good review (and preferably a raise)… I just couldn’t remember “why”. The stupid focal tool doesn’t take image attachments, so pictures of G looking extra cute weren’t going to cut it. None the less, I got it done.

    I’m also coming up to speed with the projects I’ll be taking over. I’m much slower at completing my tasks than before. I don’t know why, and to be honest it’s driving me crazy. I really hope that “mommy-brain” doesn’t professionally mean “mush-brain”.

    Pumping at work is a challenge. They say that the first few days your supply takes a major dip and I’m here to vouch for the validity of that fact. It’s ramping back up, but I’m still not producing as much as I need for G. Let’s just say I’m REALLY thankful for my freezer back-up supply. I wish I could forget about work while I’m pumping, but I’m in that room 4 times a day, 30 minutes each. That’s a quarter of my work-day. Although I block off the times that I pump on my calendar, I can’t prevent meetings from being organized around me. I’ve already had to call in to several, which is a little ackward. I try to be discreet, but wonder if people can hear the “Whom-whom-whom” sound of the machine on the other end of the phone, and giggle to themselves while they hear it.

    It felt like a very loong week. I think I made a mistake my returning on a Monday and doing a full week. For any one wondering about how to approach returning back to work, do it on a Thursday. Wednesday if you’re feeling brave.

    I was thrilled when Friday finally came. Saturday morning I had the luxury of sleeping in until 7:30. I never thought that would be a luxury, but I waited for G to wake us up for a change. I kept wondering if I should spent the whole week-end just looking at him and playing with him, or actually attend to all the other things I needed to get done around the house. Ended up doing a bit of both, which is good.

    So here we are, another Sunday evening ahead of yet another work week. Here’s hoping it will get easier still. I’m off to bed. Meanwhile, if you just so happen to run into my brain and productivity (the two are playing hookie), please… send them my way!

    Happy Monday!

    Work & Day Care: Day 1

    January 5th, 2009

    Aaah, the prodigal daughter returns. Four and a half months seem to have flown by, and today I returned back to work as G attended his first day at day care.

    I thought that dropping him off would be hard. And it was in some respects. I tried to move around the house this morning focused on everything we needed to do before leaving. If I didn’t I was afraid I was going to loose it. S filled in for me though and cried before we left the house. I followed suit by crying in the car on the way over; and G apparently cried after we left. Yeah, it was a wet day for this family.

    I thought that my first day back at work would be hard. But it was thankfully OK.Ā  My colleagues appeared to genuinely appreciate me being back. It feels good to know I was missed!
    I spent my day at work going over hundreds upon hundreds of emails. I started my day with about 1560 messages (down from over 2K as of Fri night) and pressed the delete key… a lot! In some respects after being gone this long, it almost feels like starting a new job. The only difference is that I know who people are and have a vague idea what they’re talking about. Memorable moments of my day include:

    1. not remembering which floor I worked on
    2. not remembering the name of the building I worked in
    3. walking into the men’s restroom and being there a good minute before figuring it out
    4. being asked by a young, non-parent co-worker if G spoke yet. Unsure if he was kidding, I responded “Yes, he’s reciting Shakespeare!”

    Can I just say right now that I am REALLY glad that I didn’t become a brain surgeon like I wanted to in Jr. high? After reading the above, you should be glad I didn’t either.

    I had a few meetings, and got the heck out as soon as the last one was over. Yeah, it was early, but for a first day back after a 4.5 month leave it felt like a long day. Besides, I just wanted to go and hug my guy as tight as I could without his eyes popping out of his little eye-sockets. Yeah, I really, really missed him.

    Our day-care lady was surprised to see me. I guess I should have told her when I’ll be coming to get him. She greeted me by saying that he cried a bunch unless being caried around and that he’s a terrible napper. Yep. That’s my boy, alright!

    He was calm when I got there, though, and gave me a big smile when he saw me. It’s things like that that make my heart melt. Once we came home, he proceeded to tell me about his day. Ugh, that coo kills me. I never dreamed that I could be this attached to a short, bald man who spoke in tongues.

    I still don’t think I could ever be a stay at home parent, but after today, I understand why people would want to be.

    The “back to work” routine… in theory

    December 18th, 2008

    One thing I’ve learned about parenting thus far is that there is the “ideal” or “theoretical” approach to how you’d like to get things done, and there’s the reality of how it actually happens.

    So with this in mind, I’m approaching the next parenting hurdle: the “back to work” routine. Four months went by much faster than I expected, and with holidays crammed into December, I kind of feel like this last month has kind of been stolen from me.

    Anyway… S and I are trying to figure out who will be doing drop offs and pickups from day care for G. The place opens at 7am and all kids need to be picked up by 6pm. Since S and I each have a 30-60 min commute to work (each way depending on traffic), neither one of us can routinely do both the drop off and the pickup. As such we have to split it up and now the question is “How?”

    Following our most recent lactation consultant appointment yesterday things got even more interesting with the new pumping schedule. Up until now I’d wake up in the middle of the night, sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. and pump. I just assumed this would continue once I return back to work, but the lady looked at me like I was crazy and suggested I shift my middle of the night pump to 20 minutes after G’s first morning feed. Uhmn… OK — but this complicates things. So we’re now looking at something like this:

    6:00am – Wakeup the parents

    6:00-6:10 – Basic hygene

    6:10-6:40 – Wake-up G, change diapers, clothes and feed

    6:40-7:00 – Take a shower, and get dressed

    7:00-7:20 – Pump

    7:20-7:40 – Get out of the house

    S could do the morning drop-off, provided that while I am changing and feeding G, he takes care of himself, and then gets G from me to take to daycare, while I shower and continue on with my morning activities. Trick there is that he has to be on a train to work shortly after 7:00am, so if we run late, he’s VERY late to get into the office.

    Conversely, if I do the morning drop-off, G needs to go back to sleep, or find some way to entertain himself while I spend the rest of my morning getting ready. I just can’t count on this. Although he’s not a morning person (yey, I know at least one thing about my kid’s personality), and so far likes his morning nap, I can’t consistently count on 40 minutes routinely being G-attention-free.

    Then if you add my early morning conferences with work, which occasionally start at 6:30am to catch our U.K. colleagues, the plan all goes to hell.

    So… if you have any suggestions as to how to execute the no-longer-simple getting out of the house, I’m all ears. And if you could arrange it such that I get to keep my hair while doing it, I’ll send you flowers!