I've been looking forward to writing about how this first week back at work has been. So many things have changed, and I suddenly find myself confused about whether to write about Jack or about me. Sadly, our experiences have diverged. His day is totally different from mine now.
Let's start with the daycare. Jack is attending Yeladim at the Jewish Community Center (JCC) in Woodbridge, CT. They're lovely. Really, truly, lovely.
The head teacher has been at the JCC for 16 years and head of the infant room for 11 years. The classroom has four teachers for a total of six infants; two infants are part time (3 days a week), so the teacher:infant ratio is nearly 1:1. One more baby will join in November, and two more will join in January. Until then, Jack is the youngest, at 3 months (the other five are all 6-8 months old).
Since he is the youngest, and the least mobile, Jack is getting lots of hands-on attention. Somebody always seems to be holding him. The other children are crawling and entertaining themselves, but Jack is snuggly and gets plenty of TLC.
Here's what I like about Yeladim:
- No schedules. Ever. I suppose they change diapers every 2 hours, but that's reasonable enough. Eating and sleeping are all "on demand"
- No crying. They're always attending to the babies. With an open door (see below), they couldn't possibly let any children cry for more than a moment.
- No institution-specific-philosophy. They parent your child however you'd like. If you sway your child to sleep, they sway him to sleep. If you wait exactly 5 minutes after he falls asleep to put him the crib, they will, too. If you feed him 1 oz at a time and never more, that'd be their routine, as well. *
- No standard materials. Cloth diapers, cloth wipes, and glass bottles are all OK
- No closed doors. The infant room is always wide open: everyone can see in, everyone comes in to say hi.
- Not only are parents welcome to stop by and hang out with their little ones, it's encouraged. I've spent 5-6 hours in the infant room this week, and the teachers are so friendly and welcoming that I find it tough to leave.
* I promise I'm not that neurotic. I'm just coming up with examples.
So, Greg and I feel very good about the care that Jack is receiving. Frankly, I couldn't ask for anything better in a daycare. The only thing that bugs me is the commute. (1+ hour for each drop off and pick up, ugh... and it's like 4 miles away).
Jack seems to be doing very well. They love him there -- the teachers can't stop talking about how incredibly smiley he is and how he never cries. He's been happy in the evenings and falling asleep easily at night. I think all of the extra stimulation tires him out, and I imagine the routine must be good for him as well.
As best as I can tell, this has been a good experience for Jack. More about the parents later!