First Time Daddy Daycare

Shortly after Mommy returned to work, I had my first day-long “daddy daycare” session. Up to this point, the longest solo parenting stint had only been a couple of hours, most of which GT slept through. This was going to be a big milestone and notch in my parenting belt. It started out just like any other day, and then Mom left…dun dun duuuun.

A little background info on GT, he HATES to be pee wet. I’m not sure if what physically painful to pee for him, or if he just didn’t like the wet feeling. Poop, different story, because the kid could/would sit in his own feces for extended periods of time. But, as soon as the golden liquid erupted, screaming his head off. He is also notorious for letting us change a poop diaper, waiting for the new diaper to get put on, then peeing in it, and crying until he’s changed…again. So, to say there were just a few diaper changes on Daddy’s first official daycare day is an understatement, we had gone through 12 diapers by lunch and another 10 diapers by the time Mommy came home.

The day was spent in constant motion. Even when he took his naps, you don’t have time to just sit and relax. You have to wash bottles, restock diapers and wipes, prep more bottles, make sure he’s breathing, find time for yourself to eat, use the bathroom, keep the pet away from him, threaten to disown the pet if they wake the boy, fold laundry, and most importantly…check in with Mom and assure her that everything is going okay and that her baby is still alive.

Some tips for success on future Daddy Daycare Days:

  • Prep as many bottles as you can. Being able to pull one out of the fridge and just warm it, versus having to mix a bottle and still warm it will save you valuable minutes when your kid is hangry and crying.
  • Have an Itzbeen. It sounds stupid, “why do I need a timer to keep track of various tasks?” Because it’s a life saver in keeping track of time between diapers, bottles, and naps. Until you experience it, you won’t understand just how much time blurs when you’re constantly moving.
  • Realize that your patients WILL be tested. I had to keep reminding myself that GT’s actions are not voluntary, he’s reacting to instinctual feelings and impulses. There were several times I had to step back and count to 10…or 30 while GT cried with no foreseeable solution. But, since I was so caught up and focused on his crying that I was often forgetting the simplest solutions. It wasn’t until I calmed myself down and checked that Itzbeen that I would realize, oh it’s already been two hours since his last bottle, or he’s been awake for 2 hours so let’s try to take a nap.
  • Don’t hesitate to call Grandma. Grandmas can make anything better. They’re only second to Mommy.

Finding Child Care As A New Parent … The Definition of Trust

One of the more difficult tasks while you’re expecting will be finding child care as a new parent.  If you’re lucky enough to have a spouse able to stay home, that’s great!  But for the rest of us, finding a place where you feel comfortable enough to leave your child in the care of strangers for 7 – 10 hours a day will be one of the most challenging tasks before the baby arrives.  For us, to say we were caught off guard at just being able to find a place that had space for new kids, is an understatement.  Some places had a 4 – 6 month waiting list in order to reserve a spot.  We were lucky enough to find a facility that only had a 3 month waiting list.  Three months! The nursery hadn’t even been completed yet and we were already registering our child for daycare.

The Choosing Process

We did some online research to find certified child care facilities, both in-home and daycare centers.  We first tried to reach out to several local in-home places, but none of them returned our phone calls.  So much for Midwestern values!  So, we moved on to the daycare centers.  The first appointment we had left me unsettled because the whole facility smelled like pee and bleach, and the “teachers” looked so frazzled that they were just moments away from snapping.  Not the most ideal way to make new parents trust in their child care model and make us want to give you our child!  The Mommy-to-be had visited another daycare center, but wasn’t impressed for similar reasons to the first.  Our third appointment went much better.  The place was clean, no hints of bodily fluids in the air, the child to teacher ratio was low enough to make us feel like our kid wouldn’t be ignored, and their sensory and education plan was outstanding.  Never in my life up until that moment, did I ever know that such things would be a concern in my life.  Then the other shoe dropped, you definitely pay for what you see.  But, then no price is too high for the well-being of your child.

So, plan ahead, figure out if you want in-home or a daycare center, map out their locations, get those appointment schedules, and start budgeting.

The First Day

After finding your child care, the next hardest event will be the first day of dropping your child off at daycare.  The amount of trust that goes into leaving your child with near strangers is so extreme, that trying to describe it doesn’t do it justice.  Needless to say, emotions were high and some tears were shed.  But, the reward is at the end of the day when you arrive and you’re greeted with a smile and cheerful giggles.