Monday, September 29, 2008

It Was Too Good to Last

I'd like to say that this caught me completely off-guard, but that wouldn't be the truth. The writing has been on the wall for several weeks, but I just didn't want to face up to it.

On Saturday evening my mom called. My mom, who hates the phone and only ever picks it up to make a call if she absolutely has to. I knew it couldn't be good news. So, I wasn't surprised when she asked me to do some grocery shopping because she was in so much pain that she could hardly walk.

It's hard to explain all of the thoughts that immediately started to whirl around my mind. First and foremost, is my concern about my mom. She has a pretty high tolerance for pain, so when she complains about it, it hurts. The next thing that crosses my mind is who will do daycare for Michael. Having to worry about one of the two is bad enough, but when you mix it together...well, honestly, it's a little overwhelming.

I did some grocery shopping for her on Saturday night and she seemed to be in good spirits when I saw her. I cleaned up a little for her, and then headed home for the evening. This is where I get myself into trouble. I'm a big old wimp when it comes to pain. I whine and moan about it and make sure the entire world knows just how miserable I am. I forget that my mom does the exact opposite. So, I guess I was still a little surprised when I called to check up on her on yesterday and she broke down in tears. She was in so much pain that she didn't think she could walk down the hall to get to the elevator, let alone make it to the ER.

So here she is, in excruciating pain in her hip and the knee she hurt in August, and it finally hits me. There is no way she can do daycare for me. Not just for a few days while she gets the hip problem worked out, but until she takes care of her knee and has time to really heal. She's going to need weeks, probably months to recover. And I am completely unprepared for this.

I know that I should have started to look for a daycare when she first hurt her knee, but I really wanted to believe that she was ok. There are so many reasons that I would rather have her do daycare than send Michael to a center. Not only is it cheaper, but I like the fact that the money I do pay goes to my mom. She could use a little help. Also, the flexibility is great. How many daycare centers allow 5:45 am drop off? This lets me get on the highway before the traffic gets too bad. Then there is the one-on-one attention that Michael gets. I know that every minute of the day, Michael is with someone who loves him just as much as Andy and I do. And finally, limiting Michael's exposure to so many other children has really reduced his exposure to colds. Michael handles colds pretty well, but I don't. I get every cold that comes along, and as I said, I'm a wimp.

Of course, to top it off, Andy and I both are working important projects this week. I have a management review this morning and Andy needs to get working on a very high visibility project. Neither of us can afford to take today off, much less a week or two while my mom get's help. Sigh, what to do?

Short term, my brother is helping my mom watch Michael today. I hate to impose. He has enough going on in his life. I never would have called him, but my mom did. I feel bad for pulling him away for a day, but I'm also very grateful that he is willing to do this for us. Andy is going to take tomorrow off, and I'm going to take Wednesday off.

Long term, I'm going to start making calls this morning to see if I can get Michael into daycare ASAP. I hate that I have done no research and that I won't be able to visit a number of centers before I choose one for him. I've spoken with one of my friends who has done a lot of research on the local centers and networks extensively, and she has helped me narrow down my search. I need to start making calls while some how juggling work meetings and a doctor's appointment this afternoon.

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While I was lying awake at 4:00 am this morning, it finally hit me. My mom is getting older. Even if this is just a temporary setback and she makes a full recovery in a few months, this will not be the last health crisis. Both of my parents are aging, and more and more, they will need my brother, sister and I to care for them. I'm having trouble even putting into words how this makes me feel. If I keep mulling over it right now, I'm pretty sure I'm going to find myself in the ladies room wiping away "allergy" tears.

If any of you are wondering what you could possibly say to make me feel better, there is actually something you can help me with. Can you point out some of the benefits of daycare? I'm not opposed to daycare in theory, but right now I'm just not feeling it. I think hearing some of the upsides to it would give me a better perspective on things.

10 comments:

London said...

I don't have any advice about daycare, but I wanted to say I hope you find a great place for Michael. I'm sorry about your mom and I hope she starts feeling better soon!

Maria said...

Joanna-
Sorry to hear about your Mom, and hope she is able to rest and heal soon. As to daycare, my girls stay with me, but I have worked in a number of centers (before I had kids) and can tell you as a rule, daycare providers are there because they love kids. I thought of 'my' kids as the greatest kids ever. I looked forward to speaking to their parents about their days, and was excited when they met their milestones as their parents were. Michael will do great there, and will make tons of new friends. As far as illness, yes he will be exposed to more germs, but his immune syatem will adapt and eventually he will be able to resist more germs, sicknesses, etc. Don't hesitate to call his teacher to check on him as often as you feel necessary, I always loved that and actually had one mom call me while she was in labor with her second daughter to check on her first born! Daycare may not be what you wanted, but hopefully it will provide you and Michael fun and friends you never expected. Good Luck.

LauraC said...

Joanna, as you know, I LOVE having Nate and Alex in group care. At this point, I no longer think of it as day care. I think of it as pre-school. I am stunned at the amount of stuff they learn.

Every day, they have arts and crafts. They come home every day with something new they love to tell us about. They use glue, glitter, stickers, scissors (??!!), markers, and none of it is on them.

Every day they learn songs at songtime. We've been able to have fun singing together as a family when someone starts singing.

They also have great lesson plans. This past month was MANNERS. They came home saying "please" "thank you" "ma'am" (it is the south) "excuse me" and covering their mouths when they cough.

They learn physical skills, like using a potty, drinking from big cups, not using bibs, washing their own hands, etc.

They learn important rules. At home, they clean up their toys when they are done playing with them bc that's what they teach at school.

Most importantly, and I can not stress this enough, they are learning social skills. They are learning to make friends and interact with kids their own age. They have friends.

And they truly are with people who love them. I think when you find the right place, you feel comfortable leaving your kid there knowing they are loved.

It is a big transition and I'm sure it will be hard. It is ok to cry and it is ok to question whether it is the right thing. But once he transitions and you see the results, you will feel better.

Having met me, you know there is no way I would keep the boys in group care unless I thought it was the best option for them. We've got the money and time to look for other options and I have never wavered once in our decision.

That said, I'm about to post a blog about something my kids learned at school. Be forewarned.

Karen said...

I second many of the points that Laura made.

One of the best things for me with having Michael in daycare is his ability to adapt to different situations. He is comfortable being left with almost anyone and doesn't experience a great deal of separation anxiety (at least not after a minute or two!).

About the sickness, someone told me that once they turn 3, it slows down. And it actually makes them less likely to get sick when they enter kindergarten. That made me feel good.

Sending you hugs and hope that your mom can get some rest and care that she needs. I have the same fear about my parents getting older and getting sick. I think it's going to be very hard to deal with!

LauraC said...

Couple more things I forgot.

The morning I took the boys to day care for their first full day, I completely panicked. I felt like I was making the hugest mistake ever and almost started hyperventilating. I called a work friend who always raved about day care and she talked me through all the reasons day care would work out.

I also cried like a baby when we visited the day before we dropped them off. I kept asking Jon - are they going to be happy? Are we doing the right thing?

You have my email/phone if you ever need me to talk you down:) Or start a thread on OBBC to get tons of support.

Second, I am still really sorry to hear about your mom. I've had those moments with my mom and it is tough, to realize you are the one grown up with the responsibilities.

Deanna said...

Joanna,

I had to put Kelton in daycare at 11 weeks old when I returned back to work. We went through 1 daycare center and one home daycare before finding the center he is in right now - Primrose (it's a chain...perhaps there's one around you?). Now, being a chain, each one is independent due to its owners, but we LOVE this one. We found it because we booked daycare visits a week in advance and went and toured 6 centers in one day (wow!)...which is what we should have done in the first place. We were in this place 5 minutes and knew we'd found the right spot. The people care! You'll know when you find the right one.

On the advantages...oh wow! Little man loooooves going to play! You can tell he gets bored with mom and dad...we're apparently not as fun as five other babies to play with. He's a little social butterfly. He's eating so well now because he's seeing the other children eat. I think that by seeing other children his own age doing something, that it's encouraging him to challenge himself. He has been sick quite a bit, but this is his first year (of life and daycare!), but really and truly, nothing has been really bad,ya know? just a little something here and a little something there. And I've heard so many times that by the time they reach school age, that their immune systems are very well adjusted.

I love the arts they have him do there, too. Things I don't have time for at home, but I get to put them on the fridge.

And I second the comment above by another poster about not really considering it daycare anymore...it's "school" for him because they teach while they play.

It will be okay, I promise! Those first few days will be hard, but it will be okay. And yes, call call call...if you have any concern or just get that mommy gut feeling, call! They really don't mind!

DesiDVM said...

Joanna,
Another day care supporter here. Although we did try a center first and then switched to a licensed in-home daycare which we LOVE. That is always an option if there are good ones around you, it just takes a little more legwork to find one. Our home daycare came with excellent references and when we interviewed with her she gave us a long list of current and former parents -- and we called every single one. Jackson has been going to this daycare since he was 5 months old and now they're almost like family. One of the best indicators that we have found a good daycare is that the same 5 kids (she only has 6 kids there, another reason I like it) have been going there the entire time. No turnover. That says alot.

The are alot of reasons we like using a good in-home daycare. The group size is small, and the kids are all around the same age. Our daycare lady has 2 part-time assistants so the kids get alot of attention. It's a home atmosphere, but there's a curriculum to the learning. The kids get home-cooked meals and snacks and at naptime they sleep in real beds, not on the floor. And I have to add that it's a little bit cheaper than a daycare center. I'm always amazed at how much Jackson is learning over there and how much he seems to love his daycare providers and the other kids. Because the group is small we actually go to all of the other kids birthday parties - it's like a little family.

Anyway I could go on and on, but I am SO GLAD we decided to go this route. Like I said it's a little harder to find a good in-home daycare but for us it's the best of both worlds and is a great option.

Beth said...

I can't possibly add much more than what your readers have already said. But add me to the list of people who love daycare. Like Laura, we consider daycare to be "school." There is a curriculum, even for the infants. They work on specific skills and concepts every day. Their day involves both structured and unstructured time. The teachers are trained and and have so much more experience than I do. William has friends and teachers who he cares about. He listens to and minds other adults. The advantages far outweigh the disadvantages, in my opinion. (The biggest disadvantage being the sick factor, which sucks, quite honestly. But like I said, it's still worth it to me.) I hope you find a center that you love, and if you don't, don't be afraid to talk to the center's teachers and director, and don't be afraid to switch centers. Good luck, and hugs! And I hope your mom gets well soon.

Stacey (Sparker111) said...

I'm not sure I can add much more to the previous posters' comments, but I am also very happy with my son's daycare center.

I like how it makes Cole more responsible. Within days of going back to daycare at the start of the school year, he was already better at putting away his toys. As someone else mentioned, he has also begun speaking so much more politely ("May I please...", etc.)

My favorite thing about daycare is watching Cole interact with his friends. He and his best pal, Noah, love to see each other in the mornings and hug goodbye in the afternoon. Noah is usually waiting in the morning with Cole's favorite baby doll so they can engage in their morning ritual of wrapping their babies in blankets. When we'd run into kids from "school" over the summer Cole was SO excited to see them. Despite what people say, they do more than just play beside each other at this age.

Oh, my other favorite thing is reading the kids' answers to the question of the day. The other day it was "where do fish live" and the answers ranged from "lake" to "fingers". It cracks me up every time.

Kaycee said...

I'm sorry that I missed this post. :(

I don't have any advice, but I wanted to offer thoughts and prayers for your mom. Hope it all gets taken care of and she feels better soon.