Because It Can’t All Be Catnaps and Nachos
I don’t know if you guys have heard, but there are actually parts of this whole pregnancy gig that are kind of tough. You got your morning sickness, your heartburn and indigestion, your lower back pain that makes you wonder if you can get that epidural 4 months in advance. And then there was yesterday, when we visited our first prospective daycare.
That’ll be $1,000/month for Tuition, with a side of Crippling Guilt.
Since we’ve officially reached the point in the pregnancy where – I’ll be damned – I think a real baby’s gonna come out of there at some point, we decided it was time to face the inevitable: where the Little Darling will spend her days while Mama sits in an Aeron chair, running Worst-Case Scenarios through her head for 9 hours a day.
Providing lumbar support for your worst SIDS nightmares since 1987.
We’ve had the appointment to walk through this particular daycare for weeks, and have been on the waitlist for the place since I was newly knocked up in August. You see, this place is the cream of the crop as far as daycares go in this area. Actually, they don’t even call it a daycare – it’s an Early Education Center – and it’s affiliated with one of the most prestigious schools in the country. Thankfully, Brad works for said institution, which means we qualify for a discount when it comes to the “tuition” fees of this place – so instead of paying 8 trillion dollars a year, we’d only have to pay about 7.5 billion.
Whew! We won’t have to sell our private Tahitian island after all.
While sending Spats to this place would mean some serious cost-cutting on our parts, we are compelled by the ever-swelling feeling of Anything-For-Our-Baby-ness that’s replaced most of our rational thinking these days. After all, we’re paying someone to keep our kid alive 5 days a week – how can we put a price on that?
It’s much easier to put a price on our food budget. Five for a dollar, yo!
Judging from what we’d read and heard about the place, we expected to be impressed by the walk-through. And Internet, we were not disappointed. The place was crawling with Mary Poppins-like caregivers, all of whom were lovingly cradling infants, leading singalongs or getting ready for finger painting in the bright and airy arts & crafts room. It was cheerful. It was huge. It was absolutely pristine. The walls were lined with pictures of smiling kids and their parents, and every now and then I caught the slight aroma of disinfectant.
Which warmed a germaphobic Turkey’s heart.
As we walked along and listened to the Director rattle on about trips to the museum and daily written reports for the parents, a strange thing happened: I felt my eyes tear up. I had no idea why – I’d been having a perfectly lovely time touring the building, and there were no televisions nearby showing the end of Juno.
I managed to hold it together and get over whatever weirdness I was feeling in the back of my throat, until we sat down with the Director in her office to discuss some more specifics, 90% of which I missed because I was trying way too hard not to LOSE MY SHIT.
And then I kind of realized what the fuck was going on: I haven’t even held my baby yet, and here we are trying to find a place to leave her for 40 hours a week. LEAVE her. Without us. My God, just send the baby down the river in a basket, why don’t you.
Not to distract too far from the story here, but they make LEGOS for BIBLICAL INFANT ABANDONMENT?!
The thing is, I’ve always known we’d probably have to go the daycare route. We both have (and need) full-time jobs, and we have no retired grandparents nearby who’d jump at the chance to provide free child care. In the blessing-and-curse category, I make too much at my job to justify quitting to offset daycare costs. Also? I don’t know if I’d want to be a stay-at-home mom. I think I’d strike a good balance being a part-time stay-at-home mom, maybe working from home a few days a week, or just performing my job in a part-time capacity, but unfortunately, that’s not really an option where I work. So, for now at least, it’s daycare or bust, mother-scratchers. And I thought I was fine with that. I mean, I AM fine with that. Right? Aren’t I? Hello?
I don’t know. Part of me gets sad when I think about having to subject my kid to the same M-F routine as us: Get up, get ready, leave home, return 9 hours later. My God, she’ll have plenty of that when she gets out into the working world herself. Shouldn’t being little mean she gets to watch cartoons in her pajamas while I make her pancakes? Spending afternoons at the library picking out books with me? Going down the slide at the park? Or are doing those things on weekends and vacation days enough?
Lego Moses? What do you think?
I guess I should have known better than to think I’d made my peace with the whole daycare situation back when we were just trying to get pregnant – not to mention that all the 5,682 blog posts I’ve read in the past few years about HOW FUCKING HARD it is at first to leave your kid in the care of someone else should have clued me in that this might be a little harder than it looks. And now that my sister has had her baby and I’ve gotten to spend time around a real, honest-to-goodness infant (They’re so tiny! So helpless!), I can see how leaving a small baby at daycare so that I can spend the day in stupid fucking meetings and writing stupid fucking emails might, you know, bother me a little bit.
My niece, ladies and gentlemen. I am now understanding how I might want to make a career change to “Professional Baby Head Kisser.”
But my job makes it possible for us to have a house and to save money for Spats’ future and to, you know, pay the gas bill and all that lovely stuff. It’s a trade-off, I guess. I just hate thinking of a baby as my part of the deal.
And perhaps it’s the bag of Cheez-its I just ate, or the upcoming holidays (or out-and-out delusion), but I know everything will work out just fine. I’m well-aware that I’m not the first person to deal with this situation, and that millions of kids thrive in daycares every stinking day, and don’t grow up blaming their inability to commit on the fact that Mama wasn’t there to play Matchbox cars with them at 2:30pm on a Tuesday…
Blame your inability to commit on your grandparents, where it belongs.
In other pregnancy news, I had my first pregnancy-related comment from a stranger this week! Which is quite a feat, since I’m usually bundled up in so many layers that the belly is quite disguised. Of course, my glee at finally being recognized as knocked up by the general public was overshadowed by a fleeting moment of “What the fuck? Do I really look that huge despite a sweatshirt and winter coat?”
The answer is yes. Yes, I do. And I still have four months left. Send elastic waistbands.
Entry filed under: And you KNOW THIS!.