I've been thinking about this a lot lately...
in highschool I worked at a large daycare center and I would absolutely never ever ever send my children there. It was staffed by mostly wonderful women (a few exceptions really make a difference!) but in general it was a sad kind of place. The kids endured, but rarely enjoyed their time there.
After highschool and after traveling a bit I decided to open my own daycare in my first home. I remember that I wanted some way to make a living before I went to college and enjoyed working with kids, but other than that I don't know how I lucked into such a great life. I didn't have kids of my own, but my house was completely child-centered (ie...no adult furniture
). I had a group of very attached, co-sleeping, cdiapering, extended bfding, and absolutely marvelous parents who taught me a lot. For three years (with a five month break in the middle) my days were magical...and the kids in my care were absolutely thriving and happy. My group started out mostly when they were 15-19 months old and I got to have them until they were nearly 4. I had so much energy then! Building forts, daily nature walks, dance classes, library story times, napping like a pile of puppies, baking bread, yoga, raising baby ducks, naked backyard sprinkler fun, and ART ART ART ART!
There was something about the group dynamic that was so awesome...I still remember the eight of them sitting around the table at lunch chanting and pounding their dishes "broccoli, broccoli...we demand broccoli!!!" in unison. Or the sound of hysterical laughter as I chased them around the house with the creepy raggedy-ann doll that they loved to fear!
Fast forward nearly 10 years (OMG has it been that long?) and now I am proud mama to my first. I was determined that since I have spent much of my adult life taking care of other peoples children (during college I nannied, worked in a kindergarten class and taught art classes), now it was my turn to take care of my own. DH and I have really juggled these past 10 months to avoid daycare, meaning that Bea even came to work with me for the first 7 (until crawling and shouting were the fun new tricks!) Now I work part time (17 hrs/wk) and DH has adjusted his schedule so that he can be home with her mornings. It's tough. we see less of each other than we'd like. we often "take turns" with her instead of spending time as a family. I'm bored. Bea is bored. we're in a rut. Yesterday after a long and tedious day I actually said to DH "maybe daycare isn't such a bad idea"
Fortunately, we can't afford daycare
so I'm forced to step up my efforts at finding activities that get us out of the house and allow Bea to intereact with other kids ( she loves other kids so much ....she goes ape - waving and swatting the air for a high-five, blowing kisses, laughing hysterically, doing her little furrowed brow, gap-toothed 'super-charged-smile') I am desperate for a playgroup!!! AAAAACK!
anyway...um...back to my point.
maybe my daycare was special...sprinkled in fairy dust or something. But if such a thing existed right now for Bea (well, maybe not right now, maybe a few months from now...) I would seriously consider it. Unfortunately I don't think it does. The combination of having a group a parents that knew eachother and were friends beforehand and a young and energetic person that devoted her days to the kids and then could put it all away at 6:00 was pretty unique IMO.