November 3, 2021
BOOST Feature: Why I Cringe At The Word ‘Daycare’
By Michelle Hoffmann
Article originally posted on BOOST.
Every weekday morning, I pick my 14-month-old daughter out of her crib, hold her tight and let her play with her mobile (that’s really just a wind chime). She closely examines the reflective stones and Bee figures, pulls on it, and then lets it wildly swing back-and-forth. This simple moment allows us a gentle minute to connect, feel each other’s energy and inject love into each other’s being. I think of it as the way I fill up my tank (…and hers) before the long day ahead. I’ve done this with her since she was four months old – around the same time I returned back to work after maternity leave.
Naturally, I was acquiescent about leaving my baby in the care of a few teachers that I had briefly met on a foggy Saturday morning. The center impressed me and like parents often do, I trusted my gut. The center managers, a retired couple, work more hours than they did when in tech. They do it solely out of their love for and impact on young children. My daughter’s teacher, a retired nurse, gives more genuine care, heart, and dedicated time to my child than I could ever ask for. And every staff member at that center knows her name and has made an effort to ensure that she knows them. There are no tears as I drop her off – she just waves, and says ‘ciao’, knowing that dad will be there in 8hrs to pick her up.
They’ve taught her (and me) so much in the last year she’s been there – building a foundation for my daughter’s development and readiness. This past weekend, jokingly singing along to a song I said, ‘stand up, Kaiya’, and she excitingly stood up and started walking. In this moment, I had to pick-up my chin off the ground – I had NO IDEA that she knew what ‘stand up’ meant! Once again, opening my mind to how much she truly learns each and every day she is at…school.
These moments solidify my cringe at the word ‘daycare’. For me, the word implies that your child will get their basic needs met while in a safe environment. But every cell in my body feels that the care provided to my daughter goes so much deeper than that! It’s her first friends. Her first words, steps, and understanding of the world. It’s expanding her ability to trust and feel safe in other environments. It’s truly a priceless experience that I would pay for over and over again.
I had a gluten-free waffle with peanut butter and coffee with honey & milk for breakfast.