It's been a year since I returned to work although there are times when it feels like it happened just yesterday. I am still struggling with my decision on why I even returned to work. I thought over time my decision would get easier but it hasn't. It weighs on my mind constantly with no decision feeling like the right one. Some days are easier than others. There are days where I finally think, "OK, perhaps I can do this, things are finally falling into place" when the following week something happens at work or with daycare that I ask myself, "Is this even worth it?"
Let me preface by saying I love Jillian's daycare. Jeff and I looked EVERYWHERE when we made the decision that I was probably going to return to work once maternity leave was over with. We visited some pretty scary places to say the least. After a day of "daycare hunting" I almost decided to quit my job right then and there. I had already arranged that I was going to come back on a part time basis, however, there was no way we were going to take a new born baby to such a scary place. Even if it was for only two days a week. Then we decided to try out a center that my neighbor brought her kids to. I also had received a positive recommendation about the very same place from my co-worker, Janet. So we decided to give it a shot and we loved it! As soon as we walked in the door, we experienced the same feeling that you do when your house hunting and you find "the one". It was such an adorable place, all of the babies and kids were happy, and it didn't have that daycare smell......
So we decided to sign up our unborn baby girl for two days a week and agreed to talk to them a few weeks before I returned to work. The first day of daycare was hard. Leaving Jillian with strange women was really hard for me to handle. I was also worried about the Cutis Aplaysia sore on Jillian's head and if it would get disturbed. Slowly I got to know the women and the other babies in Jillian's room. I also started to notice that Jillian actually LIKED these women at daycare. She was also starting to make friends with the other babies. As she got older, it was so cute to see her smile and interact with them. She started to recognize their faces and she would light up when once of them would smile at her. Jillian loved everything about the Infant I room and it did start to finally put me somewhat at ease knowing that she was getting the social interaction and stimulation that she just wouldn't be getting at home.
When Jillian transitioned into the Infant II room at ten months old, she didn't have as an easy time with it. I think she was intimidated by the older babies in her new room. Most of them were walking and she had only just learned to crawl. Her teachers have told me on a few occasions that they were worried about her being so quiet and not interacting as much with the other kids. She would just sit and play by herself. Now when we would drop her off, she would cry and latch on to me with her "death grip" in protest. I felt horrible. Jillian obviously just felt more comfortable with the younger babies and was afraid of the older ones. I tried to look at the positive side and justify it by saying perhaps this is what she needed then, to develop her social skills more by hanging out with older babies. It was a hard couple of weeks as Jillian got used to her new room. I feel she was at a disadvantage since she was only there two days a week, I am sure that was only making the transition even longer and more difficult for her.
One of the biggest challenges of daycare, any daycare, is the sickies! Oh my word, have we been sick this Winter. It's been an ongoing 3-4week illness/wellness cycle for our family ever since the beginning of December. It's starts off like this. Jillian goes to daycare during the middle of the week. By the weekend, she starts to develop a fever, or a rash, or vomits during her nap time. Then a day later, I will develop the same symptoms, or Jeff will, or we both will. Then we lay around all weekend trying to take care of a sick baby while trying to make ourselves feel better. Sometimes it ends in a trip to the pediatrician on Monday morning. So then I have take off of work for a few hours to sit in the doctors office. You already know about the numerous ear infections my poor baby girl has had which has led her to get tubes in her ears. Our ENT told us as long as she is still in daycare, we will continue to see ear infections and drainage, even with the tubes. The symptoms and pain that Jillian will experience will just not be as severe as it was without the ear tubes. There have been a few times while I am working away in the middle of a project and I get the dreaded phone call from daycare. Telling me that I need to come pick up Jillian because she has a fever or a strange rash that needs to be looked at by a pediatrician before I can bring her back.
Where does this all lead me to today? I don't know. I still struggle with what to do. I wish that something were to happen one way or the other giving me a huge sign. A sign from God telling me what path I need to take. I still like Jillian's daycare, I really do. We have come to know and like Jillian's care givers and we still love the cute environment of the facility. I have so many neighbors and co-workers that bring their children there that pick up and drop off sometimes turns into one big social event. I feel very comfortable knowing that Jillian plays with other children who's parents I know and trust. All in all, it's just hard leaving your baby, your whole world, and having them get sick over and over again. As I type this now, I am home from work battling a fever/flu that I have had for five days that I can not seem to shake. I got it from Jillian who came down with a similar flu this weekend from daycare. I don't know what the future holds for us but I am still waiting for it to get easier.