Mom: Daycare vs. Babysitter

The daycare vs. babysitter dilemma is one I wish I didn’t have to decide on.  In a perfect world I would be a stay-at-home mom.  No one would watch or take care of her the way I would.  But I had no choice.  Would it be a daycare or babysitter?  I eventually decided on a daycare for her.  Her Godmother had her kids in the same one and I trusted her judgment.  Thankfully, I have a job that allowed me to be out of work for six months!  I would go back to work in May, and my husband would take over until September.  He’s a teacher so he only had to ask for 4 weeks of leave, then he would’ve been off in the summer anyway 😀 So Ava would be 8 months old when she would go to the daycare.

So why did I choose a daycare?  They’re smelly, they’re dirty, and the kids are always sick!  First, my best friend’s opinion on it.  I trust her with my daughter’s life.  She told me her experiences and I was almost convinced.  So I went to see it for myself.  When I walked in I wasn’t impressed, I kept thinking they won’t take care of her like me! I talked to them, asked questions, WARNED them about the type of mother I am, and left.  So September came and the first week I dropped her off and kept her there an hour more each day to get her (really me) used to it.

Fast forward 2 and a half years later: I’m glad I made the decision to put her there.  Ava always looked happy when we picked her up and she didn’t cry when we left her in the morning.  Her vocabulary is incredible for such an age.  The things she learned there she wouldn’t had learned with a sitter.  They love her just like she loves them.  Yes she gets sick often, but I’m always told it builds up their immunity.

Why not a sitter?  Well, what happens when your sitter calls and says she’s not feeling well and she can’t watch your child?  Or decides to go on vacation? You might have to miss days from work and I’m sure your boss wouldn’t  appreciate that.  The daycare is open all year, except for major holidays.  There’s more than one person there at all times, they are CPR certified, and they teach.  My daughter is a picky eater and they help in any way they can.  One even gives Ava her own daughter’s food to try just to see if she’ll eat it.  They keep in contact with me, send me pics and videos of her.  They listen to me and do anything I ask.

How to choose:

  1. Word of mouth.  Find out from your friends where they take their kids.  Find out the good and the bad.
  2. Once you choose, go see it.  Go to the daycare, talk to the teachers, and take a look around.  Are they friendly, is it clean?   Ask questions.  How many teachers to a child? Are they CPR certified, do they know what to do in case your child is choking, how often do they clean, etc. etc.
  3. Do a trial.  Take a week and leave your child for a couple of hours the first day, then an hour extra the next day and so on.  Look at your child’s disposition. Is she or he happy?  Does she or he want to leave immediately?
  4. Once it’s decided that it’s permanent, make sure the teachers communicate!  Communication is so important!  I remember leaving notes in her diaper bag with specific instructions and I made sure they knew I would be VERY upset if I didn’t get a phone call in case anything happened.

Anywhere that you put your child will never compare to the care a parent will give them.  Whatever you decide, babysitter or daycare, make sure you did the research and you feel comfortable.

Good luck!

Mom: Potty Training

Potty training. Oh sweet Lord. This experience is worse than it was putting Ava on a sleep schedule! Just looking at those two words I feel the mini strokes happening! UGH!! It is true that it won’t happen until your child is ready. But it’s like it happened over night. She wasn’t understanding to go when she felt the urge. Then, out of nowhere, it happened! She walked over to her potty, sat, and went! All by herself! She isn’t fully trained yet but slowly but surely we’re getting there. My mother thought when she turned a year old she would be ready. HA! What a joke. This little girl is my daughter, stubborn as hell. She was going to do it when she was good and ready!

So how did it happen and what am I doing? Her Godmother let Ava see her son go to the bathroom, he’s potty training too. Like any normal child, monkey see monkey do. She did it too! After that, she understood what it meant to have the urge and from then on she told me when she needed to go the bathroom. What I’m doing now is keeping her without a diaper (I haven’t gotten underwear yet) and I take her to the potty (Elmo, her favorite character) when I see her doing the “pee pee dance” or when she simply asks. If she has to poop, she’ll grab her butt (TMI I know), and she’ll whine. You have to notice your child’s signals. Just like when they were infants, you knew a certain cry meant they were hungry, wet, or sleepy. Another trick is lot’s of praise! I hug and kiss her and give her high fives. I tell her “great job!” and she looks forward to the praise for the next time. We even have a routine down: I get the toilet paper, wipe her, we flush and say “goodbye” to the pee or poop, then we wash our hands. Children love routines!! Not all methods work, trust me I’ve read articles beyond articles and this is what worked for us.

I don’t use Pull-Ups because they feel too much like diapers. I send them to the daycare but when she’s home she doesn’t wear anything. Today was the best potty training day. I’m home on vacation so she had all day to practice. She only had one accident. So my fellow parents or future parents just remember, they’ll go when THEY’RE ready. Patience and consistency is key.
All my love and good luck!

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Mom: Stearns Puddle Jumper Floatation Device for Kids

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The Puddle Jumper was a God send for me this summer.  My daughter refused to stay in her float she wanted to “swim” free without my or my husband’s help.  Needless to say I was a tad stressed.  Then, there it was! At her Godmother’s house.  I never knew this thing existed!! She bought one for her son and let Ava use it for the day.  I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Ava didn’t need to be carried, and she was safe???  Wow! She had the best time in the pool, feeling independent and actually jumping from the stairs into the water! (With me close by of course)  The Puddle Jumper is a learn-to-swim aid, fits kids 30 -50 lbs. (13.6 kg-22.7 kg), and it’s Coast Guard approved.  It comes in different styles and designs, including 3D.  I bought mine at Buy Buy Baby for $19.99.  Target has it online a little cheaper.  This is a must have if your child doesn’t know how to swim yet.  Ava started to tread water and mimic the other kids who knew how to swim.   She was able to lie on her back, stomach, and stay horizontal in the water without sinking.  Where if she only had the arm floaties , she would’ve had to work a little harder and not had been able to lie on her stomach or back.  In my opinion, this is the next best thing next to actual swimming lessons! Worth every penny!