Without help (paid or otherwise) with our girls, our world would stop. I would not be in school. I would not be the best mom I could be. Without good childcare, I would not be able to breeze through my time away. I would not be able to focus. I might not be able to leave at all.
And that’s just what I get out of the arrangement. I’ve talked a little about how much outside-our-home stimulation, and interaction with other kids, caused our once shy two-year-old to absolutely blossom into a confidant and outgoing natural leader. Dot thrives at preschool–and maybe even more so now, as one of the older kids. We are so grateful to have found this Portland gem and have greatly benefited from the relationships formed with other parents and families.
Dot’s preschool is awesome. I want to link you up to all the cool awards and recognition it has received but I’m wary of breaking my own confidentiality like that. It has a massive sandbox, a huge driveway, a play structure, a play house, turf grass, a big porch, a garden, a bubble machine, a bouncy house and parachute that make appearances and that’s just the outside. It’s an in-home setting, purely focused on the importance of play. I love that Dot gets her fill of crafts and painting and gluing and messes and I’m not the one that has to clean it up. Or bring it to fruition for that matter.
I don’t think I can even express how amazing it is that this fall marks the beginning of Dot’s third year, with the same “teacher” and some of the same kids! What a gift of stability when we’ve moved once, added a member to the family, and weathered a good handful of school/work transitions. And how lucky for M&M, to grow up around her future daycare?
Then came September, and our childcare horizons expanded. The girls now spend one day a week at my mom’s house. This has been so much more of a blessing than I could have even imagined. First off, it’s free(!). But mostly, it’s a really wonderful, special, once-in-a-lifetime experience (I think for both sides?).
Originally just M was going to go to my mom’s, as D was obviously already happy and comfortable somewhere. I’m so glad that plan changed because I think she gets more out of her Tuesdays then anybody. She looks forward to them all week. She loves having that day with her sister. She always has a mindful of things she is going to tell Grandma and holds tight to whatever Grandma has told her (and it’s not always flattering to me!).
I love them being there. My mom offers things that daycare doesn’t. She takes them places. She introduces them to her “friends” (it’s pretty much always her neighbors and it cracks me up each time D talks about Grandma’s friends). At her house Grandpa and Great Grandma make appearances. And she offers things that I don’t. She has four cats. She bakes cookies. She sews and she shines shoes. She goes to the library and actually reads the books they check out. She takes them on walks to collect leaves.
I grew up with a stay-at-home mom. And, of course, I didn’t appreciate it. But I sure do appreciate my kids having even just a taste of my own childhood.
And then there are Wednesdays. Each Wednesday my sister-in-law comes over and takes care of M&M. I usually leave a little later between nine and ten, and it is so ice to be able to put M down for her nap, get ready and maybe even “putter around” (this would be code for mad housework scramble), and be able to be on my way from there. I love that M gets someone that’s just for her, that focuses solely on her, on a regular basis. I love that after a couple months of non-parental care M now happily goes to other people. I love the various special relationships that are being formed.
I’m so thankful that we have been afforded, and able to utilize, these various childcare options. I’m thankful that I don’t have to question my kids’ safety. I’m thankful they are with people that genuinely care about them and enjoy what they are doing. I’m thankful for flexibility amongst the chaos. I’m just really, really, really thankful. I’m not sure there’s much more important than good childcare.
This post is part of a month-long series detailing 25 Things I’m Thankful For.