Wednesday, August 31st, 2011
For over a month now, Jack has been going to “day care.” But after seeing what it’s like, I can’t even use that phrase any more. He is enrolled in a KinderCare Learning Center, which I like to call his “baby boarding school.”
My preconceived ideas of “day care” consisted of a room full of crying babies while Disney movies entertained the older kids down the hall. That is not at all what Jack experiences Monday through Friday at KinderCare.
One of my roles as Jack’s dad is to transport him to and from KinderCare each day. Honestly, it’s not one of those difficult routines where he furiously cries in fear as I drop him off each morning. Instead, he is greeted by a familiar face that is warm and welcoming. The ratio of babies to adults is 4 to 1. And even though Jack is only 9 months old, it is obvious to me that he is being engaged by his teachers as well as his surroundings.
My wife and I get a daily report letting us know how many dirty and wet diapers he had, his nap schedule, his general mood, and specific comments about how that day at KinderCare was different from the rest. Our favorite comment so far was, “Jack really had a great time outside today. He enjoyed playing with the mulch.”
That just cracks me up. It figures. Despite the toys and fresh air in the yard there, the thing he would find the most fascination in is the mulch. Classic Jack.
Without a doubt, I am convinced that his enrollment at KinderCare has enhanced his social skills.While being there, he doesn’t have my wife or me there to interfere or favor him in his interactions with the other babies. In his micro-society, he learns to interact with them on a level playing field. And that’s important to me.
Obviously, I want a well-balanced kid, not one that has been overly comforted and has lived a perfect life of ease. I like the fact he is used to the routine of me leaving him for a while, knowing that I am coming back to pick him up. I want him to know that he can be okay without me being there every minute of the day.
That being said, I only work a block away from KinderCare, so I’m never really all that far away. And despite his need for independence from me, I like knowing that I can be there in two minutes flat.