Friday, July 20, 2012

i don't have the answers

Warning:  this post is sad.  If you don't like real feelings, you may not want to read it.

This might just be a sucky day.  My child woke up screaming, we had a thunderstorm roll through and soak the laundry I had hanging on the line, I heard the ultra-upsetting news about the Theater 9 shooting, and I found two German cockroaches in the bathroom.  This was all before 8:00.  Things can either only go up from here, or I just need to fold my tent and go back to sleep.

We are having a bit of a crisis in terms of childcare.  As I've written before, Vicki Jo had been going to an in-home care provider since she was about ten weeks old.  She went three days a week, Jeff took her one day a week, and I have one day off per week, so that was mine.  It wasn't perfect, but I loved the fact that at Sonya's house, there were four children plus my baby, ranging in age from little little to eight years.  There was lots of love and lots of outdoor time.  It also had the happy effect of kind of limiting my workday, as Sonya was pretty firm on her hours being eight to four.  So, those were my hours, too.  If we had to come back for an evening meeting (as was often the case), Vicki either came with me or stayed with her dad, depending on his work schedule.  The preferred option was always for her to be home in the evenings.

When we moved, we had the great good luck of finding a place in the daycare center at the church where I'm appointed.  This is very serendipitous for a number of reasons:  I get a significant discount as a staff member; Nashville has wretched traffic in the morning, so the fewer stops, the better; and I'm right here in case anything should come up.  I figured the transition would be pretty seamless for Vicki Jo, since she was used to being out of the home and with another caring adult during the day. 


The first day, we went in the classroom, found her cubby and got all her stuff in place, and then I sat her down with some toys.  She cried and cried and cried.  She clung to me.  She looked at me with glowering accusation in her eyes.  You would think this child had never been away from me for more than two minutes in her life.  I finally tore myself away, came up to my office and shut the door, and cried and cried and cried myself.  What a way to start the day.

The teachers said she was fine after a few moments, but when I came back to get her that afternoon, she looked weary and upset.  I found out that she had not taken a nap.  I mean, she had not slept for one minute for the last eight hours.  Vicki usually still takes two naps a day, anywhere from half an hour to two hours each, at home.  She passed out in her carseat before we even got out of the parking lot.  She was cranky that evening, and she went to bed early.

The next day, I hoped it would be better.  It was worse.  Piercing screams at dropoff.  No nap.  Exhausted, frantic evening.  Early bedtime.

I decided to give it a couple weeks, and then we would re-evaluation our options.  Not that we really have any.  We are in no financial position to have one of us stay home.  We are in reduced circumstances from my previous appointment, so we can't even really afford any of the good in-home providers.  I had no idea how good we had it with Sonya. 

Today marks the end of that two-week trial time.  This morning?  The same clinging, crying child.  Yesterday?  Still not a single second of sleep during the day.  Vicki Jo seems incapable of sleeping with other children in the room.  (At Sonya's, she had her own room for napping.) 

I am at wit's end.  There is nothing wrong with this daycare provider.  They are an excellent, highly-rated center with a well-trained, loving staff.  My child just hates it.  At least, she hates it when I'm there.  For all I know, she is all sunshine and flowers after I leave.

Another issue is how the classrooms are broken out by age and ability.  Vicki is now approaching sixteen months, and is still not walking.  I'm not really concerned about it, except that there are three criteria for leaving the infant room at daycare:  baby must be off the bottle, feeding herself, and walking well.  Vicki hasn't had a bottle in months, has been feeding herself even longer, but won't walk.  So, she's in a room with lots of very little babies, and I think she may be bored.  She is used to being around older children all day.  I can't do anything to force her to walk, but it's just another way this may be a mismatch.

Like I said in the title, I don't have the answers.  I don't know what to do.  All I know is, I can't continue to drop my screaming, angry child off every morning and have her fall asleep in the evening before I even get to spend any time with her.

Sorry for this being so gloomy.  I did warn you, though.

1 comment:

Matthew Kelley said...

I hear you. Kate and Claire go to our childcare center, but it's as often a curse as it is a blessing, especially since Kate knows I'm upstairs and can use her behavior to manipulate the teacher to request my presence.

I can't assure you that it will get better over time, though it most likely will, but please know you're not the only pastor/parent who faces these gut-wrenching emotions.