Tuesday, September 15, 2009

When life throws you a curve ball, swing.

Two and a half years ago, when I was pregnant with my daughter, I knew I would be returning to work and would need child care for my soon to be born baby. I knew I had to start looking early, as many child care providers had waiting lists of 6 months or more. So my husband and I began our quest. We spent a great deal of time researching different child care options. We visited and talked to many child care providers, discussed between us our options and what would be the best possible place for our precious bundle to go when I returned to work.

We found a wonderful daycare that was the perfect blend of center care and home based care. It had the benefits of a larger center, but was in a home, so it wasn't too big, and had a nice warm feel to it. The care givers were all happy, friendly, and loving to the kids, who got to play outside everyday, and did lots of creative projects inside. We knew this would be a good place for our daughter to go.

Of course, when she started, it was a difficult transition for me. But as time went on, I adjusted, and began to see the benefits of her getting exposed to other kids and gaining social experience. She was always happy when I picked her up, and I knew that she was being well taken care of.

And then it happened. A working mother's nightmare. On the Friday afternoon before Labor Day, I went to our daycare to pick up my daughter, and her care giver handed me a note. Judging by the look on her face, I knew this couldn't be good news. I nervously opened the note, which was informing me that the daycare would be closing. In 2 weeks. My first reaction was shock, which was immediately followed by panic. I gave my daughter a big hug, took her by the hand, and walked solemnly to the car. Being the weekend, there was very little I could do start looking for new child care, so I tried to put it out of my mind as much as possible. But the "what if's" kept coming back. "What if we can't find any openings anywhere?" "What if the only places that have openings are not to our liking?" "What if she doesn't transition well to a new environment?" "What if..."

On Tuesday morning, I immediately started calling around, searching for a suitable place for her to go. The first place I got a hold of had openings, so we went to visit it. This was a large daycare center, with many rooms which were completely closed off from each other, and it was lacking that warmth that her old daycare had. There wasn't anything particularly bad about the place, but something just didn't feel right to me. Of course, maybe it was because
my daughter clung to my leg the whole time we were there, and didn't let go until we left.

I called several more places, leaving messages, and waiting for them to return my call. What seemed like an eternity later (but was actually later that same day), I finally got a call back from another place. I set up a time to go visit the next afternoon. This one was also a larger center, but when we got there, I instantly loved it. It was bright and warm, very well organized, and my daughter seemed very much at ease there. She even played with the kids a little bit while I talked to the director! In fact, the only problem I could see with this daycare was the fact that they didn't have openings on all of the days I work. But we knew if we didn't snatch up the opening they did have, it would be gone in a matter of hours.

I feel relieved that we found something on such short notice, and I'm actually kind of excited for her to start at the new place. I hope the transition won't be too difficult for her. I think experiencing a change like this may actually be good for her. Hopefully it will help her learn to adapt to new situations, which is a very useful skill to have in life.

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