Is it just me or does introducing a child into childcare absolutely suck? Apart from the initial transition to being looked after by other people and watching mumma walk out the door and the wailing . . . oh the wailing, it does seem that they enjoy the fun activities and getting to know other kids after some time. But I do wonder if they spend the whole day painting and playing in the sandpit all the while wondering where their parent is, and dreaming up ways to repay them later for this horrendous betrayal . . . like using dinner as face paint.
But by far the suck-iest part is the sickness. We’ve been sick with something every week since he started. That’s three months. Three months of caring for a sick little one every week, while you are also sick. They didn’t warn me about this. And now, when I ask friends with older children, they tell me it starts to get better after six months.
I started to think, what’s the point of child care if you just have to stay home with a sick child anyway. But over time I’ve realised the unspoken answer to that question is ‘well it’s a redundant question because you don’t keep them home’!
I started out keeping Buddy home whenever I knew he was sick, even the slightest sniffle. Mostly out of concern for him but part out of politeness to other parents too.
Then one week I took him and there was a little girl with chunks of green snots the size of gummy bears coming out her nose. And when we got over that one and I took him back there was another little girl with such an obvious fever that she was dripping sweat and snot and walking around sucking on her fingers and sticking them in other kids mouths. And so I wondered how on earth this can be a good thing. He is sick all the time, and he doesn’t understand why.
Parents put their kids in daycare mostly so they can work, I realise they might not be able to stay home when their children are sick. Although I wish they would.
So this is the choice I have to make. Send him to learn new things and learn how to be around other people, knowing other parents will send their sick kids there too and we will catch it. Or keep him home, forego a career myself, and teach him as much as I can.
It is a mighty choice modern-day mothers (or some fathers) have to make. Wish me luck!