Nathan and I don’t subscribe to the local paper. We buy the Sunday edition for the coupons but most of the news itself is sent to the recycle bin while we page through the Target ad and look at all the stuff we’re not buying anymore.
So imagine my surprise when my best friend Marla recently told me our school district will be instituting all day pre-kindergarten next year and all day kindergarten the year after that. I was all, “Get out! Really?” because that completely changes our childcare needs and financial plan for next year.
I got all giddy at the prospect of seeing an end to daycare payments. Up until now it’s been this pie-in-the-sky concept that seemed to take forever to materialize. Sort of like weight loss only this is actually going to happen. Eighteen months from now we will no longer have to pay for child care and I couldn’t be happier.
After the euphoria of that revelation wore off, I felt like a bad mother for not already being privy to this information. I asked Marla where she had heard about this scheduling change and she said it was in our local community paper a few weeks ago. This would be the paper that gets delivered every Tuesday and which is most often destroyed by some form of precipitation before I get around to picking it up from my porch.
When Autumn was just a baby I was already thinking about school and how we were going to work her schedule around ours. At the time it seemed mind boggling. Who would take her to school? Who would pick her up? Would morning kindergarten be better or afternoon? What about bussing? For about a year now I’ve been making inquiries about bus schedules and preschool schedules and now it all sort of worked itself out with very little effort on my part. My plans have evolved from having two tentative scenarios depending on her schedule to one definitive plan based on the school’s new schedule. I’m sort of an obsessive planner and this makes me very happy.
I have to let C- go, the woman who has been watching my daughter since she was eleven weeks old. I knew eventually it would have to happen, but I wasn’t really planning on it happening so soon. Starting this fall we’re moving Autumn to a daycare facility closer to my office, one that conducts morning preschool classes. I talked to C- about this when we were just starting to explore our preschool options. I asked her if she would be willing to take Autumn back part time when she starts pre-k or kindergarten. She said she loves Autumn and would take her back at any time, but with the new full-day programs it looks as though we won’t need that part-time care.
Everyone I’ve talked to says it’s the nature of the job. Every daycare provider knows that at some point they will have to say goodbye to the children. I suppose I have to just suck it up and tell C- what we have planned. As much as she loves Autumn, she knew she only had a finite number of years with her.
And what happens after that? Do people generally keep in touch with their former daycare providers, especially long-term providers like we’ve had? While I do like C-, my relationship with her is far different than Autumn’s relationship with her. Autumn sees C- as family while I’ve needed to keep a certain degree of professional distance between us. The relationship has worked and I think we found a good balance between Autumn’s life with her during the day and her life with us in the evenings.
But if I’m going to be really honest, I have to admit C- has been the person I couldn’t be for Autumn and I guess I’ve always been a little jealous of that. I’ve sometimes referred to her as Autumn’s “daytime mommy”and when I look back on these past three years I can’t help but wonder how different things would have been had I stayed home with my daughter. I would have been the daytime mommy then.
I’d love to hear your experiences if you’ve been through this transition before. I know the new preschool will be good for Autumn, but I don’t want to completely remove one of the closest relationships she has right now if I can help it. What’s the right thing to do here?
Yeah, I know. We’ll have to figure this one out on our own. Still, I’d love to hear your stories if you have some.
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