Kieran is doing great in his daycare. Or rather, his Early Learning Center. (I say with tongue not quite firmly planted in cheek.)
We didn’t end up putting Kieran in the daycare around the corner from the house. It ended up being quite A THING to find a daycare that we liked that would accept Kieran’s cloth diapers. Over the course of 24 hours, I got well-versed in Section 3.4.3 of the Environmental Health Code for Southern Nevada – which pertains to cloth diapers in a daycare setting. The initial response I got from all but one of the daycares I called was “Oh no, the Health Department doesn’t allow cloth diapers!” which required my educating them that there was not, in fact any regulation of that sort on the books. That flustered them all, to say the least. When pressed, they all said they would have to get back to me regarding whether they would accept Kieran’s cloth diapers or not. (We realized quickly that we might have to put him in disposables during the day because of this, but we wanted to explore all the options available before making that expensive and environmentally-unfriendly choice.)
On Paul’s 2nd day at work (Tuesday the 28th) Kieran and I toured 5 daycares. Four were pretty good, and one was a “Hell NO”. All were within 3 miles of our house. The final one I toured touted itself as an “Early Learning Center” as opposed to a Daycare. It’s actually a preschool that starts taking kids at three months. I had forgotten what the tuition was while touring it and rapidly began thinking that we wouldn’t be able to afford somewhere with this kind of program, with individual curriculum for each child, even in the infants room! I was impressed that after a little conversation about what we expected in the handling of cloth diapers (just toss the whole dirty thing in the waterproof, zippered bag we’d provide – no rinsing or special handling at all) the director agreed that they could accept Kieran and his fluffy butt the next week.
Paul and I discussed all the facilities that evening and made our decision to go with Hand in Hand Preschool. The tuition ($200 a week) was right in line with the other centers I’d toured, and it was just over a block away from the house. Paul accompanied Kieran and me on Thursday to see the place for himself and sign the papers to register our little boy.
Kieran’s first day was Monday January 3rd, a rare snowy day here in Las Vegas. We knew it was going to be tough for us, and Paul put it best in his Twitter: “The boy bravely trudged uphill through the snow to his first day of school while the parents weeped gently.” I was in tears as we walked out of the infants room. Paul made it to the freeway before he lost it. Kieran (his teachers reported later that day) had several bouts of “Hey Wait! Where’s Mama and Daddy?!?!” followed by tears before he was re-directed to something shiny. It was hard for all of us, and continues to be hard on Paul in the afternoons – he really misses his boy by around 2:00.
But here we are, at the end of his 2nd week now. He has himself a little girlfriend named Ryann, and seems equally happy with all three of his teachers. He’s done fingerpainting already, and seems to have completely gotten over his stranger anxiety. It’s a crapshoot whether there’s tears when Daddy drops him off in the mornings, but that usually has more to do with Kieran being hungry or ready for a nap. Kieran’s teachers report that he doesn’t have any more “Where’s Mama & Daddy” episodes, which is bittersweet for us. (We want him to be happy, but it’s nice to be missed. I’m pretty sure we’re still tops in his book though, from the OMG, HI MAMA reception I get every evening when I pick him up.) The teachers are rapidly becoming masters of the cloth diaper, with less than a leak a day this second week. (The first week was like 3 pairs of pants a day due to leaks!) Kieran’s naps are getting longer and longer (it’s not uncommon for him to pull a 90 minute nap in the morning and two shorter naps through the afternoon) and his bedtime is getting progressively later. He’s learning not to be such a diva, which is a hard lesson when you’re used to All-Daddy, all-the-time.
Yes, Kieran has been sick – but this one wasn’t Daycare’s fault. Kieran was sent home on Wednesday this week with a 102 fever, due to (we later discovered) double ear infections. But according to the Urgent Care doc, his ear infections are a predictable follow-up to nearly a month of colds/congestion thanks to sharing Mama and Daddy’s colds with them. His little Eustachian tubes aren’t fully formed yet and can’t clear the gunk out efficiently, so when they’ve been gunky for longer than a week (nearly a month in Kieran’s case thanks to back-to-back colds in the house) it’s just about inevitable that an ear infection will happen. Doesn’t indicate a proclivity towards ear infections in the future.
Overall, we’re very happy with this new arrangement. Paul takes Kieran in the mornings and I pick him up after work. (I’m working until 4:00 and taking a short lunch every day so we can still have time in the evenings for silly things like baths.) We’ve got both car seats in use now – Kieran looks like a tiny little boy in his big car seat! We do diaper laundry every night now, and I prep Kieran’s bottles and bag in the morning for Paul. We’re still refining our process, but it’s getting there. Kieran seems happy. Paul is doing great at his new job (they LOVE him there soooo much!!) and I’m just continuing to do my thing for longer hours in the office. We’re a 2-income family again, and it’s working out pretty well.