Monday, January 4, 2010

Another New Normal

I only set one New Years Resolution last year. It was to lose weight. While I did succeed at losing the weight, I also managed to gain it right back. In fact, I ended the year heavier than I started it. I consider that a fail.

This post is not about this year's resolution. But, it will have a part in the success or failure of it...which I'll get to in another post.

Tomorrow morning, Michael will be starting preschool. I say preschool because it sounds better to him, but it really is full day daycare two days a week.

Right about the time that we were talking about preschool options for Michael in the fall was when I learned that my mom needed to have surgery. The planning for the surgery required a number of additional doctor's appointments and had to be rescheduled a number of times. It was very difficult to try and plan for preschool at the same time, so we put off the decision until my mom's medical issues were resolved. In retrospect, that was not the best way to handle it. The stress of my mom's medical appointments and her recovery from surgery combined with a very spirited 3.5 year old resulted in way too much stress for everyone involved, especially my mom.

We discussed a number of different options for preschool, but what we decided was that to really get the full benefit for everyone a two day a week daycare would be the best option.

This will be a big benefit for my mom. She loves Michael and does a great job with him, however he's not the easiest kid I've ever met. Don't get me wrong. Michael is a good kid. He's funny and interesting. But, he's also persistent, intense, and demanding. He can wear me out, and I'm 30 years younger than my mom. I think three days a week will make it easier for her. Plus, it will allow her to get some much needed rest as well as freeing up time for doctor's appointments.

This will also be a benefit for Andy and I. My mom has needed time off twice to address medical issues, and as she ages it's likely to happen again. This way, we still have the benefit of her care, but we also will have a relationship with the daycare center and can make adjustments on short notice if necessary. That provides me with a good deal of peace of mind.

Most importantly, I think this will be a great opportunity for Michael. In the past few months it's become very obvious that Michael needs to socialize with other kids. He enjoyed his swim classes, but he didn't get much socialization. Being in full day daycare with the same kids should allow him to develop friendships and learn how to interact with kids his own age. I'm also hoping that a little peer pressure might give him the motivation he needs to give up diapers as well.

So, during the holiday break I made some calls looking for a daycare center with a two day a week program. I was really impressed from the beginning with the daycare we selected. I don't have any complaints about the daycare Michael attended last year, but it just never felt right to me.

Michael and I visited the daycare one day last week and I was very happy with what I saw. They have very low turn over with their teachers, the classrooms were big and well organized, and I was able to spend some time with Michael's very enthusiastic teacher as well. Their playground rocks. The most reassuring part was watching Michael as one of his classmates came over and asked him to play. He started our visit clinging to my leg, and by the time we left, I had to pry him away from playing dress up with two other kids.

I'm sure the transition will be a little difficult. We have all had to change our schedules to make this work. (For some reason, daycare centers don't open at 5:30 am). I expect that the first few drop offs will be rough, but I think that given time to adjust, this will turn out to be a positive change. Who knows, maybe Michael will even eat some of the lunch I pack for him.


Beth said...

That's awesome Joanna! Like you said, it might take some getting used to. But I bet it will be awesome for Michael and for all of you. I'm glad you found a place that feels like a better fit for you guys. Can't wait to hear all about it!

Lindsay said...

Sounds very positive - I hope everything works out wonderfully! I bet Michael will enjoy stretching his experience. We all know he's smart!

Steph said...

Sounds like a great mix of time w/grandma and time w/friends his age. I can't wait to hear what he says about preschool.

And, if Michael is a chicken eater, I recommend the lunchables w/chicken, applesauce, and graham cracker rectangles- they come in a two-pack. I send this, a cheese stick, carrots, and applesauce (Cooper won't eat the kind in the lunchable and I don't blame him, it's terrible) with him every day. He likes his routine, and I know he will eat it. His school provides milk. It was really a challenge to find foods that did not require heating to send along when he started preschool in TN after our move.

Karen said...

So glad that you finally found something that is going to work for everyone! I look forward to hearing about Michael's first day.

Carrie77 said...

Nathan starts preschool tomorrow, too, but this will be his first time in a school setting. My mom also watches him and she just turned 60 and last year she had some medical issues and it really did open our eyes to what will we do if she does become sick. Anyway, he is just going 2x a week for 3 hours, but they do have full-time care available. Its the school that belongs to our church and I actually went to school there growing up so hopefully he will like it as much as I did!

LauraC said...

Good luck with the transition. I know growing pains come with some pains but this kind of growth will help make the transition to real school easier for everyone.

Julie said...

YAY! I am totally cheering you all on! Ever since Lana started preschool (2 mornings a week, which we just increased to 4) I have seen huge improvements in her behavior, she is less clingy, more self-confident and most of all, she interacts with other children with such kindness! Drop offs were rough at the beginning, but now she just walks right in and doesn't look back.

Best of luck to you all!

Karla said...

That sounds like a great, positive change for everyone. I hope it works out smoothly for all of you. Good luck tomorrow!!

DesiDVM said...

I think I've left lengthy comments before about why I heart long as it's a good fit for your family. We love love love our daycare situation, and it has been a lifesaver for us on many occasions because we don't have any family nearby.

Recently I started a kind of wacky schedule at work where every couple of weeks I have 8 days off in a row, which is nice but I can REALLY tell a difference in J's behavior/demeanor/level of boredom when he's been home with me & the baby all day for a week versus when he's gone to daycare. And it's definitely a positive difference.

JenFen said...

I am so excited for everyone involved and cannot wait to hear how the preschool experience turns out. Something worth mentioning is that sometimes they are SO excited, the first couple drop offs go great and then 2 or 3 weeks in, you have some rough drop offs as the novelty of the new setting wears off - I was warned that this might happen and not to take it as a sign that they weren't ready but it was a small hurdle that both my kids overcame.

Can't wait for a progress report :)