I thought long and hard about wanting to write this post and share about the changes that we are putting in Bubba’s little world largely because I really don’t wished to be judged for the decisions that we make. But I want to be able to write rather openly about my thoughts on this blog, so here goes….
When Bubba was less than a month old, I received a call from the infant care school that my nephews go to saying that there is a slot available for Bubba should she be interested to be enrolled in the school. The Man was upset that I had wanted to put Bubba in school. He didn’t think it was necessary and thought I was being absurd for even suggesting to put her through school at an age where she didn’t know anything. His idea of a happy childhood for her is to stay home, play and basically be carefree.
Why did I even bother to want to send her to school when we have caregivers at home that would basically bend head-over-heels to look after Bubba? My reasons were pretty simple. Caring for a baby is really hard work, I didn’t want to put the care-giving options entirely to my in-law for she deserves to enjoy her life. Ever since Bubba’s arrival, my helper who has been with us for about 4 years have also seen an increase in her workload. I know that she bears no grudges looking after Bubba for she really loves Bubba but I didn’t want her to feel tired all the time over the unfinished chores. Sending Bubba to school would give them some respite. Lastly, a major reason as to why I would send Bubba off to a school is because I wanted to expose her to an environment and get her to socialise with other tikes at an early age where play would also form part of her learning environment instead of taking the easy way and switching on to a television. I’m completely guilty of that.
My nephews have both gone to the same school and I’ve seen how much they have grown and developed through the years. My sister had limited caring options then and putting her kids into infant care was her only option. My parents were against it initially and among the many worries, the top concern was ‘They are so young, their immune system is so weak, they will be exposed to germs and fall sick.’ Again, the Man registered the same concern.
But my parents eventually accepted this. They saw how my nephews became confident little people and how they interacted with other children in school. They were also very comfortable with how the infant care teachers handled my nephews. Slowly, they became converts and eventually advocates to the system. When it was my turn to decide whether to put Bubba into infant care, they encouraged me to do the same for they felt that Bubba would certainly benefit from the nurturing environment.
So the slot to put Bubba in infant care was made available when she turned 3 months or when she is about 8 months old. We decided to take the latter option, and when I returned to work, Bubba was looked after majority of the time by my in-law and spent 2 days in a week with my parents.
When my friends ask me who is looking after Bubba and I shared candidly that we are putting her in infant care when she hits about 8 months. The response I get back from these friends is a look of confusion as to why we would want to subject Bubba to school/ torture at such an early age. Most just said ‘So poor thing.‘ or ‘She will fall sick from all the germs spread by other children in school.‘
To be honest, germs are everywhere. Keeping her at home doesn’t mean that she wouldn’t be exposed to germs. Bubba has fallen ill a few times even though she was sort of exclusively kept at home. So it really depends on which school of thought one subscribes to – (a) to let your baby stay home till his/her immune system is built over the years or (b) let the child slowly build his/her immune system in the environment. Of course, we are not going to immerse Bubba to an environment and introduce all sorts of funny germs to her. We will just need to exercise some form of caution along the way.
I thought I would be able to let go and be cool about putting Bubba into infant care, afterall, I was the one who suggested it in the first place. But the first couple of days were rather stressful. Why? Because Bubba has started to really recognise faces and separation anxiety has set in. She knows when I leave her to an unfamiliar face and she screeches like a banshee when I reluctantly pry her fingers from my shoulders. The Man witnessed this and as we walked about from her, we both looked at each other and wondered if we did the right thing.
Further to that, this whole arrangement of putting Bubba into school also threw a spanner into our daily regime. I now have to wake up way earlier to get ready and then get Bubba ready for school. And because I drive super slowly, I need to factor in at least 20 to 30 minutes to drive to school. I have to also try to leave work rather promptly to take the train to pick her up from school as I really didn’t want her to be the last kid to be picked up by her parents. That’s not all, between the Man and myself, we are still trying to sort out transportation matters.
We are currently in Week 2 of school for Bubba. The first couple of days were rough and it improved a little. But she became all clingy and whiney when Monday came around. I don’t blame her, we all need a little time to adjust to this new arrangement. It may take a while so let’s see how it goes.
Otherwise, when Bubba has settled down. She’s generally quite a darling. The teachers are pleased to see her scooting around the play room and making friends with other tikes that are close to her age. The environment is pretty cool too and the teachers are all very caring to the kiddos. Bubba is put on somewhat a schedule to eat, sleep and play that will hopefully translate to some form of independence when she transitions to toddle-care. We get daily updates as to what she does and we get to view pictures of what she does at school via photo updates in an restricted access album.
We are keeping our fingers crossed for her to slowly get adjusted to the new environment. Of course, we are also trying to get into a rhythm ourselves as well. I just hope everything will eventually fall in place. Wish us luck!