Monday, November 11, 2013

Daycare Perks and Finger Foods (spoiler alert, they're scary)

It's been a long time folks. When I started this blog, I had so much to say, because I was trying to figure out the big transition of returning to work after my maternity leave. I will forever be trying to figure that out, but I won't probably be talking about it everyday. I just don't have the pressing need everyday like I felt before.

Today, I really wanted to write about the positive aspects of daycare and the big thing that is freaking my out lately - finger foods. I swear the two are related. I'll start with the finger foods.

Our doc said that Ben could start finger foods at 8 months. The exact day before he turned 8 months was Halloween. Daycare had a little costume parade with a part-tay back in the room. The daycare workers put the babies in the little semi-circle table to give them some snacks. His main caretaker asked if Ben could start having finger foods in the future and confessed that she had already let him have a cracker here and there. Also, another parent of a kid a month younger than Ben said that she had been giving her baby finger foods for like a month. I felt so sorry for Ben! Here he was, sitting off by himself, while his pals all chowed down. So somehow it worked out that he got finger foods for the first time (well, I guess not really the first time, but first sanctioned time) right then and there. He was like the cookie monster and loved it.

Oh puffs, my precious!
So since then, we have given him puffs, tiny pieces of banana, and tiny pieces of baby cookies. I think as a side note here, I should tell you that I have an intense fear of Ben choking. I guess maybe all moms are afraid of this when their babies start real foods? But this has gone back to me even before Ben was born. I was intensely afraid of this even when watching my own nephews. For some reason, one of them would always cough over something when I was around him. It is like I have bad choking mojo. I took a baby CPR class while pregnant, and they taught choking stuff too. But I have NO confidence that I would be able to actually help.

So, over the weekend, we were at Zoe's kitchen for dinner. Dan and I both got soup, and it came with saltine crackers. I asked Dan - so are these the type of crackers that daycare gives? Just the regular whole saltines? (Dan knows better than I do, because they usually give the babies the little finger foods right when he drops him off). Dan said yeah. I felt like I have been too cautious giving him tiny bits of things, when he should probably be "gumming" stuff. So I gave him the saltine.

He totally choked on it. I am having a panic attack right now thinking about it. Red face, cough-looking, no sound coming out. It only lasted a second, I was pounding on his back, and he coughed and was fine. I ripped him out of the seat though. I didn't understand. How was daycare doing this and not killing him? Dan postured, "Well, they are professionals." How can you "professionally" hand a baby a cracker in a way that my amateur self did differently? So then Dan said, "Well, maybe he chokes all of the time and they just take it in stride." OH MY GOD. THIS IS EVEN WORSE. Is my baby on death's door EVERY DAY and I don't even know about it??? Hay-zues. I am seriously panic-attacking over here.

That was Saturday night, and now I am thinking that maybe daycare can just handle teaching him to eat real food? I can just take over once he has a full set of teeth and can understand language? I just can't handle the stress. I am so worried about it, and starting to sort of dread snack time. And it is sad, because he reallllllly loves it. I feel like I am an insane person, and this must be no big deal to most parents. The other mother at day care whose baby is a month younger said that someone had given her baby a chocolate chip cookie, and that it was no biggie. I basically feel like that would be like handing Ben a loaded gun.

That reminds me - next big political debate. Chocolate chip cookie control. Really, I think background checks are absolutely necessary.

So, that brings me to daycare perks. Sometimes, I worry that I am putting too much of a negative vibe out there on this blog. Like, waahhhh wahhhh, I'm so busy. Whiney whine whine. While sometimes I get overwhelmed, I am truly thankful to have a good job and an awesome family. While it is obvious that I miss Ben during the day, I have been pleasantly surprised by some perks of daycare that I didn't think about before I had him.

1. They're festive, yo. They celebrate holidays in a group manner that I might not have otherwise. Take Halloween for example. Like I said above, they had all of the kids parade around in their costumes with a little party in each classroom afterwards. It was fun to see the babies in their costumes, and to chat with the daycare workers and parents. We didn't take Ben trick or treating (he was asleep really by the time it started), so if it wasn't for this even, we really wouldn't have had any reason to dress him up that day.

Do you feel sorry for the pumpkin? I wasn't sure if I should include pics of other's kids, BUT you really can seen any whole faces except for Ben, so I thought it was OK.
2. School Pics! Kids obviously get these every year when they go to regular school, but they do these at Ben's daycare too (which is a preschool and goes up to pre-k). It was too cute for words, and the group picture with all of the babies and providers was so funny. I am going to love having these pictures.

3. Back-up or Heads Up. It is nice to bounce things off of someone who has experience generally and with Ben specifically. Dan and I obviously bounce things off of each other all of the time, but it is nice for someone to just confirm our choices or make other suggestions. Like with the finger foods situation. Another mom had told me that they told when her son need the next size up diapers. They let me know that they thought Ben needed another size nipple for his bottles. They also keep tabs on developmental milestones. This can go both ways. Sometimes, you may feel like you don't want someone telling you what to do with your baby. But, I got over that fast. They change a ton of his diapers, they are really the only ones who give him bottles, they (swallow, deep breath) spend more time with him during the weekday than I do. By far. I have got to lend their opinion credence and make sure he is happy and comfortable there. So don't fight this, embrace it.

4. Food. This is something that we aren't really taking advantage of yet, but will be soonish. The daycare gives them morning snack, lunch, and an afternoon snack. Outside food isn't allowed (except in special situations or with babies). So, I won't have to worry about his food at all once he starts eating regular stuff. This may be a con for some who like to control what their child eats (all organic, for example). While I want him to be healthy, I can't pretend that if I was at home I would be giving him all organic homemade meals. It just isn't my strong suit. So I am relieved that his snacks and meals will be completely taken care of.

Those are just a few. Right now, I am relieved that someone is giving him finger foods during the day, and it is not me. I am pretty sure I will have him eating pureed baby foods until he can sign a written contract promising me that he will chew all his food thoroughly before swallowing it.

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