Since arriving in Mystery City, Minnow has been in a daycare room with 7 other infants. As each child has past their first birthday, they have been “transitioned” into a toddler room. Now, Minnow at 11.5 months, is approaching her own transition point, scheduled for early February. Minnow’s mommy is feeling a bit of trepidation about the upcoming move.
There are a lot of things that will be great for Minnow once she moves into the “big kid” room. She needs some older children to play with, and she’ll get a lot more outdoor time. She’ll get to do more art projects, and eventually she’ll work on toilet training.
But it seems like a sharp transition for Minnow in a number of areas. For one thing, Minnow’s long nap (at home) is in the morning and she’ll often go until 5 pm without another nap. But in the toddler room, all of the kids lie down on cots from 12 – 2:30. I’m sure that she’ll adjust eventually, but I expect to have a very cranky, sleep-deprived Minnow on my hands for a few weeks.
In the toddler room, they don’t give bottles. Minnow is still getting expressed breastmilk in a bottle twice during the day. She can use a sippy cup just fine, but we’ve never tried giving her milk in it. That’ll have to be a project for us before the transition. Hopefully, she’ll take to the milk sippy cup right away. Most (all?) of the kids in the toddler room are drinking cow’s milk, and so far we’ve had no communication from the director as to whether or how we’ll be able to bring in breastmilk. I expect that eventually (shortly?), Minnow will be drinking cow’s milk too, but I don’t expect her to go cold turkey on breastmilk during daycare hours.
Minnow is still tiny for her age (she hasn’t yet made it to 17 pounds), and at daycare she likes to eat something every 2 hours or so. (At home she still nurses with that frequency.) Consequently, she often doesn’t eat very much in any one meal. In the toddler room, they *only* do breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon snack. Until Minnow learns to pig out during the limited mealtimes, she’s going to be awfully hungry. And I hope that she figures out the eating thing in a hurry, because when your kid is already in the 5th percentile, you don’t want her growth slowing down even more.
Minnow and I haven’t been eating any dairy, soy, or corn products for the past six months, because they were giving her digestive issues. These are normally troubles that babies grow out of, so eventually she should be able to eat all of those foods without problem. The problem is that in the meantime there are very few commercial foods available without those three ingredients. We’ve learned to make do at home and we currently bring most of her food to daycare. But in the toddler room they discourage parents from bringing food from home, instead wanting to feed all the kids the same center-prepared foods. I understand that having the same menu makes things much easier for the teachers, but there are some days when Minnow can’t eat anything on the menu. Again, I’m sure she’ll grow out of it (in fact, we are trialing yogurt right now with cautious optism) but it won’t be immediately. I’ve met with the infant room teacher and the former center director several times to discuss the menu, but so far I’ve made very little headway. Now I’ll have to start over with the toddler teacher and a new center director. (Ours quit on Friday.)
Finally, last week I got a chance to meet Minnow’s toddler teacher. She seems like a neat person, full of lots of ideas, energy, and warmth. But she reeks to high heaven of cigarette smoke – and that was at a distance of several feet. I can’t imagine what she smells like if she’s hugging you close to comfort you (as she would a crying Minnow). I’m very sensitive to cigarette fumes, and if I am around smokers I end up having to wash everything and shower as soon as possible afterwards. Now I am faced with Minnow coming home from daycare smelling like cigarette smoke everyday. Sure, we do baths most nights, but not before we have a bunch of cuddle time. Am I going to have to bundle her off to a bath immediately upon arriving home? I asked the old center director whether we could move to a different toddler room, but didn’t make any headway. I’ll try again with the new director, I guess.
In short, there’s a sharp transition ahead of us, and I’m starting to think that we might as well use the next few weeks to look at other daycare centers again. We’ve loved our infant room and teachers and we picked this center with an eye to Minnow staying there until kindergarten. But it’s awfully expensive and if it’s not going to be responsive to Minnow’s needs and my requests, then we don’t need to have any loyalty towards it. Just one more thing to add to my to-do list: Investigate other child-care options so that Minnow comes home well-rested, well-fed, and smoke-free.