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Do I HAVE To?

baby daycare influences milestone newborn preschool scary take care Take Care Package toddler

Have you ever given yourself a milestone you're determined to achieve by a certain age, and when that time comes, you get cold feet? That's where I'm at.

Our son will be turning two next month. We said that we might have him start preschool for a few hours a week when he's two, and now that we're quickly approaching possible school time, it's scary for me.

If we do enroll him, will his teachers be positive influences? Will they be patient with him after he drops a deuce and runs away crying "No!" when they try to change his diaper? What will the repercussions be after he inevitably eats other kids' food during mealtime? (Let's say he gets that from his daddy...) How will he interact with the other kids, and how will they play with him? Will he get sick all the time??

We've had him stay with babysitters and go on loads of play dates, which have been lovely experiences for him. He's learned new words & games and has made friends. I can see how those people have influenced his life for the better.

It's also amazing to me to see children of friends who attend daycare. I've heard before that kids who go to daycare learn quicker because they get coddled less while still being encouraged, and it seems to be true.

And then I see those reports about the child abuse that has happened at some daycare centers. Recently, I saw a video that captured a woman pushing a child who was in her care down a set of steps. It made me feel outraged.

I know that the horror stories get the attention in the news. You wouldn't expect to hear a breaking news story about a toddler who has mastered using a spoon on a Tuesday afternoon, although the likelihood of that happening is better.

We're checking out a preschool for the first time later today. I already have butterflies in my stomach and expect to not like the teachers, though I'm hoping that my mind will open up more before we get there. We'll see!

Do you (or did you) send your child / children to daycare or preschool? If so, how did you get comfortable with the people watching your little baby? I think I will always think of my rambunctious toddler as my little baby forever...might be part of my struggle. I don't want to admit he's growing up.



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