Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Breakthrough: a Situational Irony

Well. I think we've resolved the daycare dilemma, and not a moment too soon: last night, I got Munchkin home at 5:20, and after a series of meltdowns, tears, tantrums, and flailing, she was asleep at 6:25. She cried, I cried, Pynchon worried, it was awful.

I've been worrying and worrying and worrying, and I've been thinking through all that you've shared with me in the comments to my last post--I very much appreciate the support that you've offered, both of my choices and of my mothering.

This morning I went into daycare to chat with Munchkin's team--H, K, and M. H is Munchkin's favorite. She calls her by name and willingly leaps from my arms to hers in the morning, treating H to a snuggle and a pat while vaguely waving bye-bye in my general direction. We all got to talking this morning, about how bad the evening was, about how poorly Munchkin is sleeping at daycare, how pitifully snuggly she is.

And this is where the breakthrough came: the problem, you see, is that they care too much for her. I am calling this a situational irony because so many bloggers and commenters have noted daycare workers for their lackadaisical and callous attitude toward their charges. But the problem with Munchkin's daytime naps is that she was soaking up all the love she could get, and not wanting the snuggles to end. You see, at our daycare, staff sit in the nap room with the babies, next to the crib, and lean in to rub their backs and pat them until they fall asleep. Munchkin has a voracious appetite for pats and hugs, and would seem to fall asleep, only miraculously to awaken as soon as the patter stood up. Sometimes they were patting her for 30 minutes at a go. Similarly, if she woke too soon from a nap, someone would come in and pat her, and never get her back to sleep.

Aha! I said. At home, we walk around the house with her, singing her songs and patting her back, but then we walk into her room, put her in her crib with her doudou and her bear, pull up the blanket, and walk away. And that's the end of it.

So. Today at naptime, H did what we do at home--snuggle, sing, tuck, leave. She stayed to pat another baby, while Munchkin tried valiantly to get her fix, sticking her hands out through the crib bars to pat H on the back as if to remind her. H noted that she had to try really hard not to make eye contact, but she managed. After she walked out?

Munchkin slept. For one hour and forty minutes.

Thank God. She was a changed toddler when I picked her up at 4:30: cheerful and alert and fun. We went for a walk and played in the park until we saw Daddy get off his bus. He played with her while I made supper. She giggled through bathtime and happily went to bed at 7, stretching out in her crib as I covered her up. What a wonderful, wonderful evening.

To summarize, the daycare staff was just snuggling her too much. These are the kinds of problems, really, I'm kinda glad to have.

But now I can go to BlogHer with a happy heart! Woo! Are you going?

Munchkin says: I want you to meet me at BlogHer. Sage is picking me up tomorrow morning at 8 for the great road trip to Chicago--don't tell her, but I made muffins especially for the occasion (well, okay, and to feed Pynchon and Munchkin while I'm gone away).

How much fun are we going to have? I can hardly wait to tell you. I can say, though, that today I bought 100 US dollars and it only cost me 106 CDN. It's like some kind of currency miracle--last time I went to the US, for a conference when I was on the job market, 100 US cost me 148 bucks.

Anyhow, if you're going, I'm the one who looks like me, but carrying a giant mustard yellow purse. Say hi!


Christine said...

i am crying because i am not going to blogher. seriously.

have fun and tell us all about it.

I am so glad the daycare thing was solved!

nomotherearth said...

Glad to hear that things are looking up!

Sigh. I really feel like I'm the only girl not going to BlogHer.

crazymumma said...

And while you are partying at Blogher. I will be at the Waltonian Inn, off of Wasi Road. thats right you heard me.

What a relief about the too much love and hugs. What a great story that will be to tell her when she is older. She will laugh her arse off!

And nice to have it solved just as you go away and party, have fun!

slouching mom said...

Would that all crises could be turned around that quickly.

What a fantastic story!

Have a wonderful trip to BlogHer!

Mad Hatter said...

Thank you for this, Mimi. Both for the happy ending and for the reinforcement of your childcare providers. I, too, bristle when yet another example of the lazy, in-attentive day care worker gets raised. It's the loyal puppy in me always wanting to defend the care and professionalism of my sisters and of my friend Christine. I was so warmed to read this post because I do believe that the bad day care worker is the exception not the rule.

Have fun in Chicago and give my best to Sage and the Disco Hostess.

Jenifer said...

Wow that was an interesting problem, too much love! I'm glad everything is more settled and you certainly sound happier.

I am too jealous about BlogHer to say much. We had already made these cottage plans or I would so be there!

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

I'm so glad this was resolved for you, what a hard thing to go through.

As an aside, my daughter has a similar problem. She just wants to be left alone, dammit! Stop petting me! (I don't know where she gets it.)

HAVE FUN!!! Hi to Sage and everyone!

cinnamon gurl said...

Hurrah! I didn't blog about it at the time, but we had a big issue with Swee'pea's sleeping when he started daycare. He wouldn't let her put him down, and she almost wanted to quit. But we brainstormed and came up and solution and everything was good. Good for you for talking to them.

And have fun at blogher (pout).

Em said...

have a great time!

bubandpie said...

I had tears in my eyes as I read this. Your relief is palpable. I'm so glad you found a solution (keeping my fingers crossed that we've got one as well...I'll find out more today).

Omaha Mama said...

Yay!!!! Too exciting. Good for you for trying to work it out with them. Snuggles, oh yes. The daycare workers in my baby boy's room were all too pleased that he liked to be rocked to sleep (at the age of 1) before being laid on the mat. "He's the only one that will let me hold him!", she told me happily. She'll be sad when we go back next week, for he doesn't let you rock him any more. Well, thanks for the happy Munchkin ending.

Have fun at BlogHer. No, I'm not going. But it sounds like fun!

Karen said...

So ironic! This is almost exactly why I switched LP from two full days last year to three mornings this year - and did all my own schedule juggling to accomodate - their nap policy was just the same and it was too confusing for him so he stopped napping on his home days because I wasn't staying till he fell asleep - the swap made a huge difference. Congrats! Have fun at BlogHer!

Bon said...

dude, that is the sweetest story, about the snuggles and naps. but i'm glad it resolved in better sleeping...particularly right before you go.

now have fun, you. but miss us who aren't going, 'kay? just a tad?

Beck said...

I am SO glad that you figured out a good solution for this - my heart had felt just torn in half for you.
And I'm also glad that your child has such loving, gentle caregivers - what a blessing!

Omaha Mama said...

Tagged you for a meme over at my place. :-)