Sunday, December 11, 2011

The venture into Childcare...

Over a month ago I took the leap from my safe mothering waters and enrolled Stella into a Childcare centre. It was a decision I had been dwelling on for quite some time, based on a combination of work becoming available for me and the desire for Stella to be in a social and stimulating environment. It was never a question as to whether or not she could happily be away from home one day a week, but more "Can I cope with her being away from me?". They say that children can experience separation anxiety? Well, I say Mothers can experience even more severe separation anxiety!

After a lot of thinking and embarrassingly a few quiet tears, I decided that the separation would be healthy. Stella needs to experience a social environment and perhaps experience other adults in a different aspect. Maybe she'll learnt that other adults think she should eat all her lunch as well! Or maybe she'll even come home toilet trained. Ok, so maybe not. But, the conclusion is, this is a healthy move for the both of us.
Step 1. Making the decision; tick, tick, tick.

For two very long weeks beforehand we toured centres, each one not being quite 'right' for us. When we walked into the centre she now attends, I knew it was the one. Stella held confidence and intrigue whilst exploring the room and meeting the carers.  
Step 2. Finding a centre; tick, tick, tick.

I then went on a crazed buying spree. This is also perfectly healthy, I call it 'Mamas way of coping'. New drink bottle, super-cute new backpack, new lunchbox. Oh, and name tags on everything. Label, label, label. This also made me cry; seeing her name on grown up little girl items.
Step 3. Emotional melt-down.

Soon enough, her first day rolled around and we packed the sweet bag with spare clothes, a hat and a drink bottle. I tried to get her to pose for photos and failed miserably. But the snapshot of her all ready for a totally new and exciting experience is embedded in my mind forever, it was added to the large, large memory book in my mind, filed under "Moments that induce tears for intense feelings of pride".

When she entered her room, called the 'Diamond Room', she didn't even glance backwards. She spent the next five hours playing happily amongst new friends, and Mama survived!
Step 4. Childcare attended; all in one piece. 

Now, each Wednesday follows an organised routine and smiles all around. She's happy to go and even happier to come home. She even brought home a fingerpainting to proudly stick on the fridge!

The main challenge we face is how to deal with childcare sickness. She comes home with a new sniffle every week and although it doesn't seem to distress her much, I'd hate for it to develop into constant colds and flu's. Other than getting enough sleep, an abundance of fruit and vegetables and a clean environment how else can I avoid the dreaded snotty nose? Does anyone have some suggestions or tried and tested tips?

I am so proud to see Stella making friends and being socially educated. Childcare for us so far, has been a very rewarding and positive experience. I cant wait to watch her continue to play, laugh and grow!

Plenty of love...

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