Monday, April 21, 2008

The Pen

Although we were dimly aware since the Prawn was born that at some point this was going to happen, it seems to have come roaring up awfully fast.

Mr. DD and I went to visit a nursery last week, which seems like far too much of a grown-up thing to be doing, but we went, regardless. Our current working arrangement doesn't allow Mr. DD to get nearly enough work done, nor is it fair on the Prawn, who spends the morning trying to think of new and creative ways to get her father's attention. The companies that Mr. DD and I work for are relocating to a business park about 20 minutes away and our current half day strategy will no longer be viable. So, I'll work three days a week, Mr. DD will work 4 and I'll spend 2 days at home with the Prawn all day. The other two days, she'll be spending at nursery.

Both of our experiences of nursery were based on...well, our experiences of nursery. Like, when we were both, ourselves, in nursery. These early memories included a big open room in a converted church hall with tables for snack, a lot of toys and a playground. It was their job simply to keep us occupied while our mothers went home to spend the afternoon lying down in a darkened room.

When we first arrived at the nursery, we were greeted by CCTV cameras and a buzzer on the door, which obviously bodes well for safety, although drives home the point that things have changed a little since my days in the playpen.

What we found inside was organization FAR beyond what we could possibly have imagined. There were rotas, outdoor play, messy play, music time and meals. There were Tweenies, Toddlers, Tiddlers, Babies and Older Babies, all sorted according to development and skills. Both of us were totally boggled at lists on the wall of over 60 children's preferences, dislikes, disciplines and allergies that were scrupulously taken into account.

The Prawn was enthralled. She's always been fascinated with other children and spent the majority of the time wriggling like an angry otter in order to escape and join the fun. During the last part of the visit, while we chatted to the owner in her office, one of the staff offered to take the Prawn. While we thought this would result in an almighty shouting fit, she was perfectly happy to be carried off by the stranger to join a circle of older children, all marveling over a toy pig that walked and waggled it's snout and curly tail. Far from being intimidated by the situation, she joined in enthusiastically while the older children smiled and cooed "hello, baby!" at her.

"Um, so where do we sign?" asked Mr. DD.

I won't have any hesitations whatsoever about leaving her at this place. The vibes were good, the safety and attention to detail were outstanding and it's obvious to me that it'll be good for her to interact with other children on a regular basis and have the full attention of her carers for the time that she's there. While the money is going to be tight, it'll be worth it in the amount of work that both I and Mr. DD are able to get accomplished and the heightening of the quality of time that we spend with her.

6 comments:

Brandy said...

Sounds like you've found a great place for the prawn. Can't wait to hear stories of her escapades and new "friends". :-)

Becky said...

That sounds amazing. Like your Prawn, Alex loves other kids, and that alone makes me kind of want to send him to daycare. But the cost is prohibitive, unless, I start working or dabbling in prostitution.

You'll have to keep us posted on how she likes it.

Anonymous said...

i just had my daughter, she is one on sat, have her first day at daaycare today. we are doing 6 hours a day this week. then 8 next and then 10 the following when i got back to work.
sigh.
it was hard but good for all of us.
d.

Dr. Grumbles said...

Good luck with it!

Suzie said...

I run a day care and both of my children attend with me. I think its a great situation as long as it is a good fit and that seems like what you have. Im sure it will be a great experience for all of you

lisalou said...

Sounds like fun-Sign me up!