Archive for October, 2007

Nearly 17 Months Old

We are still cosleeping, though our methodology has changed a little. We leave Daniel in his own bed until he wakes up–usually around 1 or 2–when we bring him into bed with us for the rest of the night. We’ve only been doing it for a few nights and his wake-up time has been pretty consistent. We’re hoping, though, that he’ll start to extend his first wake-up time by a little more each night as he gets more used to the new sleeping arrangement. We’ll see how it goes. We’re still not ready to forcefully break his all-night nursing habit. We do have plans to break him of it–if he still has it–by the time he can really understand when we tell him he won’t get any more until the sun comes up. But we’re hoping he’ll just slowly and naturally cut back as he is able to sleep longer without interruption in his own bed.

Tonight Daniel fell asleep laying alone in his bed without protest! I haven’t tried it in a while since it usually ends in tears. But tonight, he couldn’t stop wrapping himself around me, so I got out of bed, and sat in the rocking chair facing him. He whimperred, “Mommy? Mama?” a couple times, but it was enough for me to say, “Mama’s right here.” He rolled over and went to sleep! I couldn’t believe it. I’m trying not to get too excited, since I have yet to repeat the scenario. Tomorrow we’re trying it again.

Daniel’s vocabulary has exploded. He can repeat just about anything, and says of his own accord about a zillion words. We still have a hard time understanding him sometimes because he has trouble with the hard g and k sounds. He often mixes up other similar sounds as well. Some common ones he has trouble with are: doggie is doddie (sounds like daddy); trucks are ruts; milk is nilp. He calls basketballs batebottles; and bicycles bidibiderdidles; and ping pong balls pi po bas.  But his words are getting better every day and he’s starting to string them together. He tells me “help me” when he needs help and “socks and shoes” when he wants to put them on. And it sounded like he said through his tears the other day, “I don’t want a ping pong ball!”

I started going to MOPS with Daniel recently and have a bit of a rant to unload. It has been very hard for me because I have to leave Daniel in a childcare room. At his age, moms are strongly discouraged to allow their children in the meeting room. Every other group I attend is child-friendly, so this is just very different for me. It is hard enough for me to leave Daniel in the childcare room, but on top of it, I don’t like how the room is run.

First of all, they have a policy that children are allowed to cry for up to 20 minutes before their parent is retrieved! That seems so extreme to me. I spoke with the childcare coordinator who responded to my concern by telling me she had over 20 years of experience doing this, so she’s trustworthy. I’m pretty surprised that she’s discerned in her 20 years that children ought to be allowed to cry for so long. I think Daniel has only ever cried for more than 1 or 2 minutes when he was in his car seat and we were driving somewhere and we unable to stop to comfort him. When it is in my power to comfort him, I do so. And sitting in a room waiting for door prizes to be given out does not take priority over my comforting my child. Lucky for us, Daniel has done wonderfully both times we’ve gone, so the issue isn’t necessarily a personal one. Still, I am so very opposed to that policy and would be surprised if other parents were okay with it if they only knew.

Another thing I don’t like is that last week, the ratio of caregivers to children was much too low. The coordinator responded to that concern with the defensive comment that she was short 5 staff persons and she’d exhausted her pool of workers, so what was she supposed to do? I asked whether she’d considered asking the parents to take shifts throughout the meeting, but she said they’d never do that, they’d first ask the Mentor Moms to help out, but that she rarely does that because the Mentor Moms’ purpose is to lead non-believers to Christ, and how could they form relationships with the women if they were in the childcare rooms? So I asked if there was a policy in place that designated a minimum number of childcare workers. She had to look it up. She had just reminded me that she’s been doing this for 20 years, and she didn’t even know what the minimum number of childcare workers was supposed to be. That really made me uncomfortable.

She also told me I shouldn’t bring my own snacks for Daniel (I brought him carrot sticks last week) because it wasn’t fair to the other children who were given cheerios and goldfish crackers. Really? The other kids were jealous of carrot sticks? If so, why not prepare healthier snacks for all the children? If I’d brought cookies or something more universally desired, it would have been received better. And if she hadn’t just rubbed me the wrong way about my other concerns, I’d probably have thought nothing of it and understood. But I was really annoyed by that time.

I finished our conversation by letting her know that the previous week the 11 one-year-olds were left alone with a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old (who happened to be my sister who was visiting for the week–and who was the source of this information) for several minutes. She responded by reminding me that she was short 5 workers. And that everyone gets a 10-minute break, and that the doors are always open and there is another class across the hall if they were to have needed anything. That really caught me off guard. I expected her to be defensive of their policies, but not about a breach in them. I think she was just annoyed with me for having so many concerns at all.

Today, when I dropped Daniel off, I found new complaints. They have a television in the one-year-old room playing constantly! For 3 hours! Daniel didn’t seem interested in it at all when I dropped him off, nor was he watching it when I picked him up (thankfully), but I wonder how much he watched the rest of the time. And even if he didn’t watch it, one-year-olds in general shouldn’t be watching 3 hours of TV. I think I’ll need to give the coordinator another call and secure my place as the pain in her ***. My other concerns weren’t ones I could really complain about since I wasn’t in the room the whole time. But one of the childcare workers (who looked pretty old–maybe 75?) was sitting in a rocking chair when I got there and in the same chair when I got back. The workers were all holding children, but none of them were playing with them. They told one of the moms whose son started crying almost immediately to just go, that he’d be fine. She was sure pissed. She stormed out of the room, walked around a bit, and stormed back in. Then she huffed a bit, and stormed back out. She exchanged a few words with the coordinator who was curt and unfriendly with her as well.

All my concerns aside, Daniel seems to have a good time in the childcare room and plays really well. I am so grateful. If he was having a hard time, I don’t think I could bring myself to go another week. But we’ll probably finish out the semester and reevaluate then. I’m not so sure I’ll re-up, but never say never.

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