Today we officially got a spot at a daycare!!! It's actually perfect. It's close to work, the facilities seem nice, the children at the place seemed happy, they have Webcam access so that we can watch the kiddies throughout the day, they give you a progress report for your child at the end of the day, they provide breakfast, lunch, and a snack for the kiddies on big-people food, they've got a kindergarten program, and PK can be there part-time. This means that my mom can take care of her for part of the week, which is something that she really really wanted to do (no joke). I really should be ecstatic. I should feel this huge sense of relief. I DO feel relieved. There aren't too many places out there that will guarantee you a spot AND do it for part-time care. Especially in Toronto. To say that Toronto is terrible when it comes to getting childcare is an understatement. As I'd mentioned in a previous post, we actually got booted off of two daycare lists because they hadn't heard back from us. And you know what? These daycares don't give two shakes about it, because they know that demand is so high that booting a couple of people off of a list won't really matter in the long-run. They'll still be able to fill all of their spots anyway.
So, a little bit of background here. Back in late August/early September, when the hubby was back at work after taking 3 weeks off to help me with PK after her birth, my mom came over to help out with PK for the first time. That day, she had casually asked if I'd like it if she would take care of PK at least one day per week. I said no. My reasoning was that we had such different views on parenting. She had been so strict with me. As a teenager, I had a ridiculous curfew - 9pm. My first 2 years of university were spent in rez because my parents lived in a different city from me, but then they moved to Toronto in my 3rd year and I moved back home to save money, since I was paying for school by then. Let me tell you, moving back home is HARD once you've tasted freedom. Most kids go through their rebellious phase in high school. I had mine in university.
I lived with my parents up until I got married, and even then, at age 23, I had a curfew (1am - whoopee!). Even though my mom and I both survived my rebellious phase, things have never been the same between us. We didn't really see eye-to-eye anymore on things like raising a child - at least as far as how much freedom to give a child. So my reasoning behind having her look after PK at all during the week was that she'd eventually go against my judgement as a parent.
Well, my mom was VERY offended by my rejection of her nanny services. I made her cry. I felt guilty, but didn't really budge. Then life changed. My grandmother died. My mom felt guilty about my grandmother's death. My mom was here in Canada, while my grandmother was in Brazil. Alone. There was nobody there to look after her. The image of her dying all by herself in her living room in front of the TV, with nobody there still haunts me to this day. I try not to think about it too much, otherwise it just makes me very sad.
My grandmother's death put a lot of things in perspective. I began to realize just how much my grandmother had helped my mom out when my sis and I were little in Brazil. I began to realize how important the role of a grandmother is in a child's life. I began to realize just how important it was for my mom to spend time with PK. Taking care of PK is just about the only thing that gets my mom out of her funk over my grandmother.
My mom has been coming over 2x per week to help me out with PK, which has been fantastic. It gives me the chance to run errands while she looks after PK. I can zip from one place to another without worrying about whether or not PK has had enough to eat or needs a diaper change. While she's over, I can also disappear for an hour to the basement to work out. My mom is more than happy to look after PK and PK totally loves her. Seeing how much she loves PK and how much PK loves her further reinforced the fact that my mom SHOULD help out with PK on a part-time basis.
So my daycare plans evolved from full-time daycare to part-time daycare. My mom would look after PK 3 days per week, and I'd need to find daycare for 2 days in the week. That is just about impossible in Toronto, since most places will give preference to full-time care. If you think that being on the waiting list for full-time daycare is tough, imagine how much worse it must be for part-time care. With that in mind, I was starting to think that I'd either need to hire a nanny part-time for 2 days a week, or work some sort of compressed work schedule, cramming 40 hours into 3 or 4 days.
Then we found the daycare that we signed up for today, and it seemed like things were finally fitting into placce. Except...
Okay, my first worry is probably paranoid and frivolous. The site said that in order to guarantee a spot, you need to apply at least 6 months in advance. PK will be 7 months old this week. This meant that we'd have a guaranteed spot in early September. Bleh. So that's what I put down on my on-line application form. Then when we got there today, the lady said that getting daycare for early August should be fine. So now the start date that she jotted down by hand doesn't match what I wrote in the on-line form. Not to mention the fact that I changed the 2 days of the week that I wanted originally for daycare. I know I'm being paranoid about this, but not having both pieces of information match up just seems like it's begging for a mix-up. I sent them an e-mail this afternoon asking if I should update the on-line form to reflect the new info, and I'm still waiting to hear back. We'll see. The hubby thinks that I'm being paranoid. He's probably right.
The other worry is more legitimate. The fact of the matter is that I don't know if my mom has the energy to look after PK three days out of the week. She's not what I'd consider old (she's 55). At the same time, she always seems so pooped when she gets home after taking care of PK, and that's from leaving here at 3:20pm, which gets her home at 5:30pm on public transit (my parents live in the burbs). When I start back at work, I'll be getting home at 5pm at the earliest, which will probably get her home at 7 or 8pm. And remember that my house has a buttload of stairs AND that PK will be older and more active. Also, she'll be taking PK to music class and storytime on the days she looks after PK. That's probably okay on the most part, but my mom hasn't been feeling so peachy lately. My parents are heading to Brazil soon to continue looking after my grandmother's estate, and there's still so much stuff left to do, that it's stressing my mom out. That coupled with her guilt over not being even in the same city as my grandmother at the time of her death is just wearing her down.
So there you have it. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Am I blowing this all out of proportion?
Raising A Screen Smart Kid in The New York Times
5 weeks ago