I have this picture of day care as a happy, colorful place where the children sing songs, learn Spanish, play with blocks, have storyhour, and are generally stimulated and mentally active all day long (with perfectly-timed restorative naps, of course). I was never in day care myself, so I'm basically just making this up based on my early experience with preschool. But it's a far cry from what happens to Julia here at home. She wakes up, we cuddle and maybe read a book or two, she spends time in her jumper, we play on the floor with the same set of toys we did yesterday, she spends time in her exersaucer, she has a few naps, we go somewhere just to get out of the house and look at different things, and then Daddy comes home and takes over. I feel like I spend way too much time vegging out - pleading exhaustion - and not near enough time reading, singing, talking, playing, etc., with my child. If I sit her somewhere to play by herself to get housework done, I feel guilty for not being with her, and if I neglect the house, R comes home to shambles and I'm still exhausted and feel like I didn't do enough anyways.
Would Julia be better if she went somewhere where professional child-care people took care of her during the day? I don't know what I'm doing. I'm just making this up as I go along, and I'm afraid she's suffering for it. I mean, I know she's not suffering, but am I stunting her intellectual growth? I struggle to remember the names of things (spatula = big spoon flipper thingie) (I blame hormones, btw) so how awful is her vocabulary going to be? How much can I really read to her when all she wants to do is chew on the book? Do you know how freaking tiring it gets narrating your whole day to an unresponsive listener? "Oh look Mommy's going to go empty the dishwasher! Oh here comes the doggie! The doggie's drinking out of her water dish - splash splash splash!" I hate to admit how often I just trail off because I can't keep it up any more. Or I sit there reading the newspaper (silently, to myself) while I eat as she plays. Do I have a totally warped conception of neglect?
Oh crap I don't know.
Here's some photos of the doll to make up for the boring depressing words:
|Not so sure about this outdoors thing.|
|These two crack me up.|
|Seriously, why are we here Mom?|
|Still reading. Still on that first page.|
|The inevitable end to reading.|
|And then Daddy comes home and we get the first smiles of the session!|