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Child Care No Easier the Second Time Around

One thing I was certain of when I was pregnant with Baby #2 was that starting child care would be a breeze this time around. This time, I knew the drill, the center, the teachers. I’m already there every day with my preschooler, and I’ve been through the anxiety of leaving your precious baby in someone else’s hands before.  Well, my son is still six weeks away from his first day of school, and I now know I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I’m already anxious and sad. My son has a heart condition — very common, treatable and ultimately curable — yet my anxiety started at our first visit with his cardiologist when I asked if we needed to have any concerns about putting our son in group care, as we had planned.  His ultimate answer is that it would be fine especially given that he’d be starting after flu season, but the fact that he had to give it some thought started the anxiety ball rolling. The next wave came when I realized it had been four years since my daughter had been an infant, and her infant teachers, who had both since had babies of their own, were no longer there. I knew the center, but I didn’t know the infant teachers. This would all be new again.  I needed the security of knowing which room he’d be in months in advance. Then I found myself sneaking into that room, checking out his cubby, the furniture, toys, etc. I also admit that I am studying the poor teachers in that room, unbeknownst to them, every time I pass by to drop off or pick up my daughter, whose own classroom is just up the hall.  Will they spend an entire hour feeding him, as I must do now to ensure he grows as he should?  Will they hear his different cries for hunger, gas and the one that just says “I’m tired.”  Will they feel empathy for him when his little lip pouts and will they share the sense of accomplishment when he moves his bowels, like I do?I’m also checking out those other babies through the glass. To what end, I have no idea. But this will be my baby’s home 5 days a week. It just seems like I should be scoping it out.

Every time someone asks me when I will be returning to work they seem to think I have so much time left on maternity leave, but to me it seems like such a short and fleeting few weeks. I know the ache I felt in my heart when I first enrolled my daughter at 4 months old only to discover the complete and enduring love we both developed for her infant teachers.  So I think I need to get my head, which is thinking as a secure second time parent, to spend a little more time talking to my heart, which has a very short memory and feels like it’s all new again.

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