When last we saw our heroine, she was poised on a railroad track--straddling the line between Daycare A and Daycare B--and staring down a barrelling-down freight train loaded with dynamite set to ignite should we choose unwisely, thereupon carving a permanent and untraverseable chasm between Our Choice and the Only Right Choice, leaving us forever stranded on the wrong side with no chance of redemption. (This is the point at which you might have wanted to pause the DVR and empty your bladder just in case things got a little crazy from here on out.)
But sorry, this is one of those times the preview may have misled you and overplayed the drama of the movie because things did not, in fact, get crazy, unless your idea of crazy is sending your toddler off to be the token white kid in a Japanese immersion daycare starting next week. (Say what?)
As when we bought our house and I didn't want to give out too many details while the property was still listed online (lest some stalker type was able to Google his way onto our front porch, obvs), I hesitate to give too many specifics about this daycare. (I can, however, tell you now, three years later, that in addition to a tire swing and a small pond (aka Simon's arch enemy), our house also has a zipline and a treehouse and a chicken coop and a rabbit hutch, and the whole thing is painted a truly unique combination of colors, which has led me to include in directions to our humble abode the line, "It could double as a barn for My Little Ponies; you can't miss it.")
But this daycare...It's pretty awesome. It's an in-home deal with about ten kids to two or three caregivers, it's five minutes from our house, and, identifying details aside, it was the impetus behind my saying to Simon after we'd made our decision, "My god, when did I become a Bay Area liberal intellectual yuppie asshole who sends her seventeen-month-old to cultural/language immersion school?"
The other place--a university daycare--was plenty awesome in its own right, and I have no doubt that Wombat would have thrived there as well, as it was obviously a well-run center. And while there was no main deciding factor between the two--although it helped that the in-home place is the same price for four or five days that the university place charges for three (and without providing lunch or diapers)--it happened that all of the smaller factors--location, supplies, schedule flexibility, activity structure--all pointed definitively to the Japanese immersion daycare, even if I feel like a bit of a tool telling people, "We just enrolled Wombat in Japanese immersion daycare. How kooky is that?" (And then I feel even toolier because *whispers* I also get kind of a kick out of it.)
And yet, because I'm a worrier and a think-everything-into-the-grounder, I'll admit that the academic in me wonders why I have forsaken her and chosen the in-home daycare over the much more school-like professional center. Don't I care about my son's ejumacashun? I'll also admit that I feel like it's a bigger risk to leave him in the home of one person and her assistants instead of sending him to a giant place where there are at least a hundred kids and a least a quarter of that in state-certificed teachers, but again "teachers" is the operative word here, and as much as Simon and I both loved school (huge overachieving nerds, the both of us), I can't help but feel like school is not (not yet) the place for a kid who still pees himself as a matter of course and also sometimes rubs avocado into his eyes if he gets too sleepy at dinnertime.
I have to keep reminding myself that just because there's a school for someone Wombat's age doesn't mean he needs to go to it, especially since our excitement over starting daycare right now has only ever been about finally giving him a regular chance to socialize with other kids. This is not about finding the place that will give him an academic leg up (he already knows two dozen letters by sight and a handful of shapes) or even finding a place where he'll be kissed and cuddled all day long (he already has a mother, thankyouverymuch). It's about finding him a place to play and explore and learn things his parents can't teach him (judo, Japanese, playground politics), because lord knows there's plenty of time to learn school things in school, especially if he gets into Harvard.Previous Next