A LITTLE DAYCARE DILEMMA

Good god, I need to hurry up and find you a day care. Mum’s been so busy trying to get this writing blog thingee sorted that she’s forgotten that your bored little two and a half year old brain is in dire need of stimulation. I guess another reason why I haven’t gotten around to it is laziness. The sooner dad gets a car the better because I think mum has finally had enough of walking everywhere. Especially when I have to take care of trivial business matters that morph into colossal missions, thanks to your boundless energy that always releases itself when we I’m trying to do something important!

Another reason why you need to get into day care. And fast.  You’ve spent much of your two years of life around adults.  I never wanted you to leave mum’s side until you were five, but I can see you are bored out of your brain cells.  You don’t want me as a friend (sniff sniff).  You need friends your own age.

Well, I went to check out one today. Yay mummy! You encouraged me to look into it by constantly hitting and slamming your little hands onto my keyboard this morning while I was trying to type. Bless your little heart, you really do keep me on my toes. Anyway, after browsing the net, and putting in a phone call, I find one situated a fifteen minute walk down the road. Kids Inn is the name of it. Five minutes after the key-slamming incident, I have you dressed, ready and out the door.

Beautiful morning. The sun is warm and rejuvenating upon my skin and you are quiet as a mouse. I think to myself that the walk to the day care centre is maybe going to be a piece of cake. Haha! Mummy is dreaming. Halfway through the walk, you are screaming and struggling to free yourself from the pram straps because I refuse to call into the shop and buy you a ‘to-ca-late”. I stand looking down at you as you squiggle like a worm on the concrete, repeating ”to-ca-late, toca-late” and screaming at the top of your lungs. I feel passers-by staring at me, but heck, I’m use to that. When you are finally over yourself, and realize no chocolates are coming your way this morning, you stand up snivelling – and insist on walking. We walk, stop, look up at trees, sit down on grass, walk, stop and look at birds, walk, stop again and point to planes in the sky. Half a decade later we arrive at the place.

Eye-catching and very sophisticated from the outside. The centre is situated right by the main road, but the high gates gave the assurance that the little ones would be firmly locked in. A multi-coloured park, complete with swings, slides, climbing walls and all sorts of kiddy assortments sat upon a huge sand box. I push your pram inside and am further impressed. Everything about the place screams ‘bring your kids here’. Rainbow coloured walls. A huge fish tank at reception. Arts and crafts dangling from the ceiling. I haven’t even been into the main room yet, but I like the look of this place. A lot.

I glance at you to catch your reaction. Your nanny always use to say to me “Baby can sense when something feels right for her,” and this is the advice I take with me everywhere I go. Whether its to a friend’s house, or the aunties place, or even when someone new walks in the door, you make it vocally clear when you like/dislike something or someone. I observe you carefully for signs of what you think about the place. Your reaction is going to be the deciding factor. If you show signs of loving it here then I was definitely putting you in.

Or so that was the initial plan.

It was your face that said it all. You glanced around as if in awe. When you spot the fish tank you jump out of your pram, march over and promptly start banging a chubby little hand on the glass, squealing with delight at the tropical creatures drifting around in the tank, or at least to me they look like tropical fish.

“Excuse me, can you stop your baby from doing that please?”

The receptionist. I hurry to you, grab your arm and attempt to pull you away. Your response is to drop all your weight to the ground and grizzle in that high-pitched way that grates on mum’s ears, no end. I shoot an apologetic smile in the receptionists direction. Something tells me that she is busy, got things to do, and I should hurry up and make my request.

I say, while firmly gripping your arm, “Um, I’ve to come to enquire if there’s any spaces available for my baby?”

Receptionist. “How old is she?”

“Two years and six months.” I then point out to her that I am deaf, and kindly ask if she could speak louder.

“Sure,” she says briskly. “The days we have available are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Here you go, take these forms, fill them in and bring them back with you. When were you hoping to put her in?”

“Tomorrow. I’ll be getting subsidised by Centrelink. I just wanted to know how much I’ll be paying out of my own pocket.”

She sighs. I get the impression she is annoyed. “You really need to sort that out with Centrelink. Take this form into them asap and they should get in touch with us. Also, if you want to start your baby tomorrow, we need your credit card details to set up a Direct Debit.”

I struggle to keep the papers falling out of my hand, at the same time trying to keep you away from the damn fish tank.

“But how do I know how much I’m going to be paying? I need to sort that out so I know how much money to leave in my account.”

“Like I said, you have to sort that out with Centrelink. And she can’t start unless we have your bank account details.”

My faith dissolves fast. Didn’t take long at all, really. It’s not just her rude tone that’s putting me off, but her insistence that they need my bank account details. Meanwhile, you have broken free and your little fists are once again banging up against the fish tank. It doesn’t help that I catch the receptionist rolling her eyes around in her head.

I say, “Ok, thankyou,” but the rude turd is already walking out of the room.

We begin the walk home. You decide to sit in your pram and, miracle or what, no dramas ensue from the time we leave ‘that place’ to the time we get home. Sometimes your like that my darling. When mum feels a little blue, like how I felt when being looked down upon by that receptionist, you seem to sense it. There have been times when you’ve seen mum down. Be it a fight with daddy, bills getting on top of us or the stress of being far away from our loved ones. You’d catch a glimpse of my face and somehow just know. You’d quietly waddle up to mum, place your chubby hands on my cheeks, stick your jubbie lips out for a kiss – and the grey clouds would go away.

You were a good girl for the rest of the day. Just sat in front of your DVD, watching High Five. So damn cute. But not cute enough to take away the irritation I felt when dealing with that witch. Mummy tried my darling. This is the just the start. There’s plenty more day care centres out there. Your just not going to that one!