Since she can’t talk yet, our only clue to how Sophie spends her Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays is what she brings home from daycare. And here is a short list:
- a small purple blankie that she won’t let go of
- lots of germs
- cuddly white-and-orange socks (she tends to have cold feet, so I guess her daycare-lady gave her these extra socks – I found them hidden under her own socks)
- a clean carseat (it had avocado stains on it when we dropped it off in the morning)
- a comb-over (I know I should be happy that she gets the physical attention, but I also find it odd that her daycare lady brushes her hair as if she is a bald man trying to cover up that baldness. Every day.)
- a strong smell of detergent
- a greater willingness to lie still on the changing table
- a marked tendency to actually share her toys with other children. (She used to be the piggy kid in the group who grabbed everything for herself, and/or the iconoclast who went off on her own to explore the most dangerous non-toy available — but since daycare began, she has been playing like a reasonably socialized, well-mannered child. I really don’t know how her daycare lady does it.)
- a well-restedness from having a two- or three-hour nap (at home, her naps are rarely longer than 90 minutes — again, I don’t know how her daycare lady does it).
- a desire to be held a lot
All in all, except for that last point, I think these signs point to a good daycare place. It’s a single lady caring for six children in her home. I couldn’t do it, but Sarah Smith has those six children trained to be both polite & affectionate, and manages to keep everything calm, safe, cheerful, and astoundingly clean, even while she also cooks homemade lunches every day. My biggest qualm (other than the aforementioned combover) is that Sarah Smith also plays Christian sermons for much of the day. But they seem to be reasonable sermons, and they probably don’t sound very different to Sophie than the NPR that I listen to. Our Unitarian sunday school will eventually teach her about Buddhism & Sikhs & Islam & Judaism & more to balance out the daycare sermons, I hope.
Last week, Sophie & I got to visit Maia, Soph’s old nanny, whom we had to give up on because our schedules didn’t match, and also I can’t afford a nanny for 3 days a week anyway. Maia warned me that Sophie would probably be angry at her. But Sophie wasn’t – Sophie was her usual smiley self, seeming serenely comfortable in Maia’s arms. Maia says this is the first former child she has met who hasn’t been angry. It’s a testament to Sophie’s wonderful temperament, I think, but Maia also says it’s a sign that Sophie is well-cared-for. I hope so.
It’s scary to relinquish my child to a stranger, so early, before Sophie can talk to me about it. But I suppose that bringing home fuzzy white-and-orange socks is a way of talking to me.