Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Little Gan Girl

Raphaela's nursery had requested that I set aside this whole week, that I be available even if I planned on working, to help my daughter acclimate to her new Gan. I scheduled patients, but in a limited way, because I have to work at some point to make up for the whole period of the holidays in September.

On Sunday I brought my newspaper and a good book, and sat in the corner while Raphaela explored her new surroundings. She did not cry at all, in comparison to the other children who had a hard time returning to a regular schedule after Succot. That evening, Raphaela was quite hyper and talkative after a fun and interesting day.

Yesterday I brought my book and stayed at the nursery with Raphaela for about two hours until 9:30 am. I showed Raphaela's child minders how to put her down for a nap, and was then sent home, where I worked with one eye on my cell phone,waiting for that call that I had to drop everything and take my daughter home. My cell phone remained quiet, and when I went to pick up Raphaela at 4 pm, she smiled at me and then crawled in the other direction, toward some toys. Again, yesterday evening, she was active and verbal, and already showed me some new moves, activities she must have tried out during the day at the gan.

This morning I stayed for only one hour, and left quietly while Raphaela was listening to story time. No news is great news, and I have not gotten any emergency calls.

I feel so proud of Raphaela for adapting so quickly, and for being one of the few children who did not cry during the last three days. It makes me reconsider my choice to take her out early on certain days, so we can spend time together. On the one hand, Raphaela is still only one year old, and I am lucky to have the flexibility of my profession to be able to spend the afternoon together. On the other hand, am I taking away certain social opportunities from Raphaela, in order to satisfy my needs?


Commenter Abbi said...

I think in general, kids to better with a regular daily schedule, either till 1 or till 4. I would definitely leave her till for daily for the first month or 2 so she has a set routine, and then start playing with it. It can get confusing for them changing the pickup time every day.

Sarah said...

Input from an observant auntie:

If the child is still so young that she eats paper, then you are not stunting her social growth by taking her out of day care early some times!

However, Abbi's argument is compelling.

koshergourmetmart said...

what social opportunities are more important at her age than the social opportunity to spend time with you? many kids her age do not go to school and are just fine socially when they get older. I do agree with Abbi that set routines are extremely important for preschool years and changing her routine can be confusing to her

Doc said...

Here's why I love the Gan: after writing the inital blog, I spoke to the head of the nursery. I told her my concerns, that I felt that maybe I was being selfish in taking her out early so we could spend some quality mother-daughter time.
Her response was unequivocal: "There's nothing like Mommy" She continued, "If I could run a facility where every mother could spend the afternoon with their child, I would close every day at one pm. She is only one year old, you will never get this time back, and Raphaela is fortunate that you are such a good mother and that you can and want to spend the time with her."
I think it's worth metioning that the head of the Gan has incentive for saying otherwise, she makes more money off of me if I add in more long days during the week.
She also promised that if there were a special event on a particular afternoon, she would let me know and would insist on keeping Raphaela for the afternoon, no extra charge.

Doc said...

That being said, there is some part of me that understands the importance of a set schedule. While children this age don't understand days of the week, I am hoping that Raphaela will get used to the idea that every Monday and Wednesday she stays later, and on Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday we spend the afternoon together.
The other thing the head of the Gan said, the option of full days all week was always available if I felt I needed the time, but that guilt or variety in her pick-up time should not be the motivator.

Sarah said...

I'm no expert on development psychology, but I somehow doubt that a one-year-old is cognitively able to absorb the idea that "sometimes I stay short times, sometimes I stay long times." My guess is that she'd just be confused about it (perhaps adjusting by learning "I don't know how long I'll be here but Mommy will come at some point and then I'll know it's time to leave") until she's cognitively able to put that together, probably in another year or two. But like I said, I'm just making a guess based on what I've seen of one-year-olds, such as it is.

Sarah said...

I don't think you need to worry about feeling selfish for wanting mommy-daughter time! in israel we put our kids in gan for soooo many hours -- if you can cut back on the 7:30-4 away-from-mommy schedule, then I think you should.

(I'm selfish the other way -- sometimes I finish my work in time to pick up my 21 month year old early, but I AM selfish with my time, and would rather watch tv, take a nap, and pick her up later.)

koshergourmetmart said...

until one can verbalize thoughts, the idea of her being able to conceptualize some times I stay longer, sometimes shorter is probably nonexistent. She probably realizes it's time to go when she sees you (in a way like my guinea pig knows when she hears me peeling anything, she starts squeaking thinking I am peeling carrots that she will get to eat the skin of-not that I am comparing RR to a guinea pig)There is a book called The Magic Years (p115-117). In it, it talks about the magic of language, such when Suzie no longer picks flowers but names them. By using words to designate the flower she posseses them in that way. Higher mental processes are made by possible by language. She gives an example of a dog who understands words like walk, sit, down, no and here (but does not always listen to them) Every night for 4 years still goes down to the basement to she get a treat even though it does not like the basement. His sensory memory prompts him to anticipate something unpleasant with the treat but could not tell him why. In order to link them, he would need words such as If I do go downstairs to get the treat, I will have to stay downstairs and thus refuse. (some of the book is here http://books.google.com/books?id=CtukQhW2o0gC&pg=PA116&dq=magic+years+basement&hl=en&ei=UoasTPDoGMP98AaWuIjjBw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CC8Q6AEwAA#v=onepage&q&f=false) I highly recommend it.