We put down a deposit on a daycare slot for Nugget today, and I have mixed feelings about it.
The timing is exactly what I had originally projected: about 3 months of hanging out full-time before finding childcare here. I definitely feel the need for it. I have several projects in motion or on back burners right now and it has been really difficult to find time to work. I'm not the sort of parent who thinks she needs to be down on the floor playing with the kid every second, but even if I try to sneak in some time working while he's playing in the same room, it's hard to be very productive and thoughtful when you've got one eye and/or ear alert for the sounds (or silence) of distress (or trouble). So I do want this, and I think the timing is right.
But. I kind of feel like I'm getting a new boss after working independently for a while. Suddenly I might have to defend our decision not to push the potty-training yet, for example. We're not the only people responsible for Nugget now, and the newcomers have a thousand times more experience and education.
Worst of all, we are going to have a schedule imposed on us. Nugget will need to be at daycare in time for 8:30 am circle time because that's when the "jobs" for the morning get distributed. (It's a Montessori school--they make it sound like a Protestant workhouse to disguise the fact that they're a bunch of communists.) At the moment we wake up at 8 and lay in bed for an hour watching Curious George and Cat in the Hat before going downstairs to eat a leisurely breakfast while watching Super Why and Dinosaur Train and Sid the Science Kid. (Shut up, it's not TV if it's on PBS. Also, Sid the Science Kid is really f-ing good. I haven't absorbed this much science since "Chemistry to Biochemistry" ruined my college GPA.)
Despite the volume of TV-watching going on, I also freak out a little when I look at the hours for full-time daycare. Do I really want to give up all that time with him??!! And then my rational voice says: yes, you do. I need that time for my work, and I will still have plenty of time with Nugget. Quality time, because I won't be giving him my partial attention while I try to sneak in some emails, and because I won't be so drunk on the knowledge that we have all the time in the world together that I let us piss away 2.5 hours in our pajamas every morning.
So yes, some concerns and reservations about daycare, most of them irrational and/or indefensible.
Nugget has also displayed mixed feelings about going back to daycare. Sometimes when I talked to him about going to "school" he'd say "no, I want to stay here with you." Other times he'd talk about missing his teachers and friends at his old daycare in Chicago, or would point out the kids playing outside a daycare we frequently drive by and ask, "my go there?" But as time has gone by, he has seemed more and more ready to get back to school. When we visited daycare centers this week, he cried when we left. I thought that was a good sign.
We got incredibly lucky with the daycare we visited today. They just expanded from 12 to 15 kids, and we snatched up the last of the three new slots. Their new facility boasts an orchard of apple and cherry trees and they are planning to put in a garden with a pumpkin patch. It's like preschool heaven. No wonder Nugget didn't want to leave.
Of course, he also didn't want to leave the place we visited on Monday, which was filthy, was run by people without teeth, and only had "preschool" two days a week. What do the kids do the other three days they're there? It's "just daycare," I was told, like I asked a stupid question. Is it just because I'm a yuppie that I think daycare should have a curriculum? (Does anyone use the word "yuppie" anymore? What do you call overprivileged, pretentious, and hypereducated people like me these days?)
Anyway, just 5 more days to call myself a SAHM. I'm not sure if that means we should spend less time in our pajamas, or more.