It was all hearsay. It was written about by countless authors. It’s been researched and discussed for years. And, it dates back to the beginning of time: Rearing children. All of a sudden, it’s become the topic of countless books and millions of blogs. What has changed? Have children become different in the past 30 years? Has parenting become any different than it was thousands years ago? All I know is there are more books on how to solve this or that and surviving motherhood. What has changed? I did not realize that motherhood was something to be “survived” and that there may potentially be so many issues to solve.
The only thing that I can see that has changed is one thing. We don’t parent any longer, and I am part of that statistic for the first year of Tatum’s life. Sure, I did the best I could do, but she was away from me more than she was with me due to my need to earn a living. It’s a necessity, and I am not diminishing this truism.
So, now I can come out with it wholeheartedly. Day care parented my child from 4 months to 16 months of life. When I decided to come home full time for this year, I never realized how much more work parenting really is if I am to truly guide her into a responsible, loving, Godly woman. But, one thing is for sure. Children need their parents full time AT LEAST until the age of 3.
Realizing the importance of making the right decision becomes more apparent daily. Here is one case in point:
Tatum is enrolled in a Musicology class (which I was given as a wonderful gift). We attend this lively 45-minute music, dance, and rhythm class every Friday with about 5-6 other mom or nanny/kid combos. For the most part, the children are well-behaved because they are being parented by their mom and being guided by the instructor. Nevertheless, there seems to be always one in the group who proves that not all parents are equal. (I realize not all children are either, but the discipline still has to exist).
As we sat around the two large central drums “to wake them up,” one of the almost two-ers decided to sit and then stand on them. Upon countless pseudo-warnings from mom (“Do you want a time out?”), the child won and did not have to get off the drum. Mom gave up. Then she proceeded to do her own thing the whole time in class including throwing her toy and having a bit of a crying fit when her way was not accepted. It was obvious who was in charge. Now, my point in sharing this is not to condemn or criticize. It’s only to point out to me that this could be Tatum if I did not have the time to pour into her right now. She demonstrated the kind of behavior that was NOT OK, and I had the chance to SHOW Tatum what was not acceptable. If she was not with me, she’d have to figure this out herself or at least she’d try it out on me in our mini “quality time” sessions which I discuss in “If it were a normal year” post.
Next, during the circle time singing, Tatum wandered off to the corner (which she seems to do often). I did not know this was a normal Tatum thing, but apparently she does this when she is overstimulated or needing a break. She probably did this many times at day care, and now hopefully I can help her through the fears or the apprehension (or the belligerence?) I still did have to take her out a few times and tell her that I expect her to be part of the group and not wander off. “We need to show respect to the instructor or we cannot be part of the class.” She got it, testing me a few more times. Whatever the result, I’m there to guide her, not day care person. Many of the kids needed to be taken out and “talked to,” and unfortunately only one other mother did this. It helped immensely for her LO as well. When a mother warns countless times and does nothing except give another warning, the kid ultimately wins.
Finally, when the children were in the “discovery” mode picking out various instruments from the overly large plastic bin, Tatum was overpowered by many of the other kids her age but much larger than her. During this time, many of the moms tune out and socialize. What I’m noticing is horrific! Kids are whacking each other with their drumstick/rattle/bell/frog, stealing from each other, taking over someone’s space… YIKES! I’m watching Tatum acquiesce and decide she does not need an instrument. NOT OK. I decide I will try to navigate all these kids and introduce sharing and caring behavior. Tatum finally got to play with some. Being a helicopter parent is not my plan, but at least I know I can start her on the right foot with sticking up for herself politely. This showed me even more that at daycare it was probably worse. How often did the day care provider have her back turned when Tatum was poked, prodded or pounced upon?
Each day I discover more and more how much FUN she is to be with and how much more we have to look forward to doing together. Often just being together has been enough. SURE, she has her meltdowns and her testing times, but it’s different now. I know it can be over and done with and we have the next moment to enjoy.
Day by day. Minute by minute.
Thank you, Father for this opportunity and making it possible this year. Day by day. Minute by minute I am coming to conclusions I already had made. Now the theory is turning into reality.