Your advise on the helmet dilemma was great, so now I'm asking for feedback on our next 'big' decision.
To switch Brex's daycare center or not?
He's in a small house down the street (not this house, but one similar in size). There are three caretakers and 11 children. The kids are all happy and well-behaved; even the rowdy boys are managed well and learn to be gentle and not throw, hit, or climb all over the furniture.
Of course, that happens because the woman who runs the daycare is a control freak.
It must be said that her rigidity helps create a predictable environment and the kids obviously feel safe there. What bothers me more is how she personalizes things that have nothing to do with her. One day I arrived to pick up Brex and she told me the baby was angry with her since he'd been crying on and off since waking up from his nap at 4 pm. Since I'd brought the stroller so I could take a long walk with him, I took him over to change his diaper in case it was dirty. He had a poopy diaper. It didn't smell at all so it was an understandable oversight, but... if the kid is crying don't you do the hungry/tired/dirty/gassy rundown before assuming he's MAD at you? I don't think 6-month old babies know how to hold grudges.
I think I've also mentioned she calls him spoiled? She says that on Mondays he acts like he doesn't want to be a daycare baby. Well, we're beginning to suspect he's an introvert like his Dad, so being in a small room with a bunch of other kids is likely a bit difficult after a relatively solitary weekend.
To be fair, she has a LOT of know how and years of experience. They are wonderful about trimming his nails, washing dirty laundry, dealing with his cloth diapers and breastfeeding issues, teaching him to eat solid food, potty training the older kids, etc. Included at no charge are clothing changes, organic breakfast, lunch and snack, formula and diapers. No other day care does that.
Our New Possibility
Brex has been offered an opening at the Call1er Center which is at Jrex's work. It's a wonderful, new building directly on his way to lab. They have 3 workers per 8 infants. Each year they admit 24 kids who split into three cohorts. The workers remain with the infants in their cohort for the first two years, after that, the kids 'graduate' to the preschool program. The kids admitted in August are all born in the previous year (it's one of the deals where you sign up while you're still pregnant), so the age range will be almost one year olds (Brex) down to 6-week old babies. He'll go from being one of the youngest to being one of the oldest in the room. They support cloth diapers and giving the kids breastmilk, so that won't change.
The preschool program has some Montessori principles (they don't force the kids to all do the same thing at the same time); there's room for self-driven activities. With indoor and outdoor activity areas, there's lots of chances to get out energy in positive ways. The preschool program also includes field trips to the zoo, the aquarium, etc. Another really cool feature is that the preschool program includes deaf kids. He'll learn a little sign as well as learning about different abilities.
What are my hesitations about moving him?
If Jrex drives Brex to and fro, I'll never see my baby during the week. That makes me want to cry. If I drive him in the morning (most likely scenario) I could leave at 8:45 and get him there at 9 and then Jrex brings him home by 7 pm. The problem is that Brex's natural bedtime seems to be 7 pm so that won't be in the baby's best interests. After 15 years of marriage to my wonderful husband, I know despite every good intention to bring the baby home earlier, it would be a huge challenge to get away in time to make that happen (often through no fault of his own). If I drive Brex to and fro at both ends, I lose an hour a day to commuting. Also, since my company is on Pacific Time, it helps if I get extra time at the end of the day.
There's a guy with a little girl down the street who works at UT. Me being me, I'm planning to knock on his door to see if he might be up for a car pool. He brings his daughter home around 5 pm most days (I met them while walking Brex home). If he could bring Brex home earlier than Jrex would be able to, that would solve a lot. (The question about enabling a workaholic is one that I'm OBVIOUSLY not addressing here! ;-) )
It's $200 more a month. Doable, but painful. The good thing is that the tuition drops by $100 each year as the kids get older since the teacher/student ratio is higher for the toddlers.
His current daycare is all local moms and kids. At Call1er he'll get to know the children of his father's peers, but I've heard from another Mom with two kids there that she hasn't gotten to know any of the other parents. We're going out next weekend with one of the other couples from his current daycare, most Fridays there's a 'hen fest' (Ms G's term) with a bunch of parents sitting and talking about what they're doing for the weekend. Through the other parents I hear about local events and feel connected to the neighborhood. Of course, that also adds to my small town claustrophobia. Ms G being one of the BIGGEST gossips I've met doesn't help...
Better the devil you know? I'm guessing that they'll be less controlling, but I could be wrong. She only does up to 3-year olds so I'd have to find another preschool option for him. I'm also a little nervous to tell her we're 'rejecting' her and moving Brex somewhere else. I don't want to create bad blood with someone who is deeply entrenched in the area and who obviously has some interesting emotional filters (though that's also part of why I'd like to create a little distance).
So, what say you? Is it worth the extra time with him and the easy commute to deal with someone who irritates me? Is the grass just greener in the unknown "new" pasture? Am I being the control freak? We have to send our answer by Monday, so it's a fast yes or no decision.