A few months ago it became time for my two year old to start daycare. I wanted to ease some responsibility off of my family who watched her while I was working. I also needed to get her socializing and learning among her peers.

The daycare search was hard. There are so many options, and when it comes to making choices, the more you have, the harder it becomes. I was advised to start looking before I actually needed it. It didn’t make sense to me until I called daycare after daycare, realizing they were full or weren’t accepting children in her age range. I was put on waitlist after waitlist for home based daycares. I was required to tour a Montessori school before realizing I didn’t even know what Montessori was.

Looking for daycare was frustrating and off putting. The idea of leaving my child with anyone who wasn’t my immediate family was difficult. My anxiety worsened as I worried how she would react being there and wondered if she would listen to and follow the routines of the caretaker. I thought about how much it would cost and reminded myself to ask how they disciplined considering I don’t believe in spankings and am unsure of how constructive time outs are. (Checkout The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D.). I google searched and looked at review after review for each center.

After the first place called and I spoke to the caretaker, I felt unsure. She seemed too lax, too laissez-faire. The next one called, we toured, and unconsciously I decided that it had to work because I needed to relieve my brother who watched her majority of the time while I was working. I reminded the caretaker she was a covid baby so she was inexperienced and shy. I asked about the size of her program and if she was working alone. She said she had someone helping her. I was concerned about the lack of diversity. I had a feeling a couldn’t quite pick up on when she mentioned we had to fill out paperwork because the government required it even though she was doing it back before government regulations and had been watching children for years.

I didn’t even want to do a home based daycare, because you have less control and knowledge over who they allow to come in and come out. There weren’t cameras or any way to keep an eye in her. There’s nothing wrong with home based daycares by the way. The pricing is comparatively more affordable. However, my anxiety stays anxietying I was nervous because as a working mom with the privilege of having a village, I wouldn’t be dropping her off or picking her up. I wouldn’t know how my daughter was doing other than what or if the caretaker called me about something and what my dad would be able to tell me after he dropped her off or picked her up.

Imagine my surprise after her first day when I was told she couldn’t come back. I was upset. My fears of her being rejected came true. Daycare was a second goal on my list of 2023 goals. Just like that, it was so quickly unchecked and the idea of how this year was going to go for me shattered. This was a setback. And yes, I’m a little dramatic. I can’t help it. Still, drama aside, I was disappointed, worried, and anxious yet again because it meant the search for a daycare continued on.

I asked my dad what happened, expecting the worse, though I couldn’t even visualize what the worse would be. After all, I know my daughter. She’s shy. It takes a while for her to open up and feel comfortable. She is energized after being around people, even though she won’t talk in front of them. She knows what she wants and throws tantrums when she can’t have it. She’s playful. She likes being held. She’s not around other kids often. Knowing all this and more, I wasn’t sure what my dad would say that would add up to her being kicked out.

My dad explained the details which summed up to my newly two year old repeatedly tossing items onto the floor and not listening when the caretaker, who said she had been in the business for years, wasn’t listening. I was livid because I didn’t even get a call as her mother and the one legally responsible for her. I was pissed because not only is throwing things a milestone and normal two year old behavior, but because I know the best way to get a toddler to stop doing something is to physically remove them or the object.

Apparently my daughter was doing that all day. Allegedly, she almost hit a younger child with the object, which led me to further question more about what the caretaker was doing while all this throwing was happening. My dad explained this older women didn’t have help that day like she said she would. He tried to say that she wasn’t quick too move or be on her feet. He said he had a weird feeling when he dropped her off because there was only one ecpierenced for the amount of children.

The whole situation was triggering to me. It hurt that I didn’t listen to my gut, because deep down I knew this wasn’t her forever place. I even told my life coach that it was temporary and it would suffice to get my daughter away from being around us, her family, so she could get used to the idea until one of the other daycares’ waitlist opened up. My perfectionism was attacked because I tried something and it didn’t work. Damn perfectionism. I felt judged and like my daughter was being judged because apparently the caretaker said something like “she can come back when she learns to listen.”

I felt like she wasn’t given grace and was already being labeled as aggressive when she was only two. At the time she just turned two the week before. It was a sobering experience I didn’t think I would encounter until she was older. It affected my sleep that night since I stayed up emailing and registering to daycare after daycare. It made me emotional for a few days after. It triggered me in a way I don’t even know I fully explored.

Luckily, when one door closes, another opens. The next day, I got a call for a daycare center I wanted to start her with in the first place. We toured, I had a good feeling, and she started a few weeks later. The pricing is up there and is my least favorite part about the entire thing, but I get to track what she’s doing, eating, and how much she’s sleeping on an app. The doors are secured by a code and I get daily pictures. She’s constantly getting sick, as most kids attending daycare are, especially after covid. However, she otherwise seems happy and seems to really enjoy her teacher and classmates. I can also see the ways in which she’s developing and hear the progress with her speech.

I’m glad the first place didn’t welcome her back, because I would’ve hate to found out later, in a worse way, the type of environment it was. Sometimes, things don’t work out because something else is around the corner. Sometimes, you have to experience it, to see why it isn’t a good fit. And that applies to more than just daycare.

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