- 18 - 32 inch Vizio Flat Screen Televisions
- 6 - GE Bottom Freezer Refrigerators with French Doors
- 600 - Packages of Pampers Diapers
- 3,691 - Gallons of gas at $2.84/gallon
- 8,387 - Cups of Coffee at the Gas Station I usually stop at
- 13 - Dell Laptop Computers (just like mine)
- 3/4 of a year of daycare for our boys.
Holy Crap! I say 3/4 of a year because Connor didn't even START daycare until August 1st! We received our statement from daycare today for tax purposes, and you always know you're paying a lot, but you don't really put it into perspective until you read it in black and white.I vividly remember visiting daycare back in April 2004. It was one of the first things we did as "pregnant parents", because everyone warned us about the long waiting lists at our local daycare - and they were right. Like I said, it was April and the soonest they could even get us in was January 2005 - and I was going back to work in December.
Our first visit to daycare was a blur. I was pregnant, and don't think I could even conceive of what we were going to do. Okay - yea, fine, this is daycare, excellent, see you later. Then, Tyler was born.
Tyler was not what you would call an "easy baby". Actually, if there was a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the easiest, I would probably give him a 2. He didn't sleep at night, he was always fussy, and after about 8 weeks I finally just succumb to the fact that I had a "high needs" baby. I was nursing at the time, and he ate literally every hour and a half. That included nights. He was growing like crazy, but there was never a minute for rest. He didn't play AT ALL by himself, and cried, a lot, and never, ever smiled. I have a total of 3 pictures of him smiling before the age of 6 months. We tried two kids of Reflux medication, I cut out all dairy, and hunkered down to the house for my 12 weeks maternity leave.
Then we returned to daycare about 2 weeks before I went back to work just to familiarize ourselves with it. I was stunned. It hit me then. "This is where my child is going to live for about 10 hours a day. These will be his 'substitute mommys'".
I looked at the cribs lined up, and it reminded me of an orphanage. There was one baby fussing in a swing, and another being fed. I remember it seemed quiet for the number of kids that were there, but I still couldn't believe it. I was sick to my stomach because this felt so wrong. "How could someone leave their child in a place like this," I thought. "My job is to raise him, not have strangers do it".
That sick feeling in my stomach didn't go away for weeks. I cried a lot, and actually had nightmares about it. I couldn't even bring myself to drop Tyler off at daycare for the first week- making Kyle do that for me. I couldn't imagine dropping him off without bawling, and this was the same baby that made me wonder why people have children, because it was really that hard.
Fast forward to today.... What does $10,484.10 buy me:
- Tyler learned sign language at about 14 months old. (I didn't even know they were teaching it to him until I saw him to a sign at home - then asked. "Oh yea, we teach them about 10 signs - Tyler's pretty good at it!". I had no idea!)
- All of Tyler's teachers that he was attached to are all still there today, except one, and she just left to open her own daycare. These ladies LOVE their job, and view this as their career. Shira and Cally took care of Tyler, and are now taking care of Connor.
- These ladies know when something isn't right, and won't come right out and tell you, but they usually know when something is wrong before you do. They might hint "Hum, Connor seems to have quite a cough", leaving you to be the judge.
- Tyler knows his A,B,C's, every nursey rhyme known to man, and will try to read you a book, holding up the pictures just like a teacher would.
- Connor smiles when I walk into his daycare room with him. He looks around, and knows exactly where he is. He especially smiles at his pretty teacher, Staci.
- Tyler has had visits from a dentist, the fire fighters (during fire safety week), the baby chicks during Easter, Herky and Clifford the Dog. They also went to an Apple Orchad and a Pumpkin Patch, and have gone on countless walks along the cornfield.
So, this same daycare that gave me nightmares, has become a HUGE part of our life. It's not just a place I take my kids while I work, but it's their second home, and it feels that way now. All of the teachers know us, and especially know our kids.
So, what will $10,484.10 get me? The biggest family in the world!