My kids each started daycare at a respectable three months old, thanks in large part to our country’s generous maternity leave policies [sarcasm intended]. Lucky for you, since they’ve been going to “school” for basically their whole lives, I’ve accumulated a wealth of knowledge about all things daycare and how to get the most out of the parent-teacher conference for your one-year-old, which, as it turns out, is not a joke.
Bilingual Language Development. My husband is fluent in French and speaks to the kids sporadically in the language. If my toddler curses in French, are the punishments the same or does she get a pass for being so culturally advanced?
Television. Me: How many hours of TV per day is considered appropriate for a 3 year old? Teacher: You mean minutes? Me: Er, sure… let’s go with minutes.
Misbehavior. How many times can my baby bite someone before he gets expelled from school? Does that stay on his permanent record or is there an expungement process?
Dietary Restrictions. No peanuts. I totally get that. No cupcakes/cookies/sweets, even for holidays? Weird, but let’s go with it. McDonald’s as the school-chosen celebratory meal after you forced me to buy organic-only foods for the food drive? Now we’ve got a problem.
Teacher Turnstyle. Are we part of a social experiment seeking to understand the long-term effects of what happens when my child’s favorite teacher mysteriously and permanently leaves? Why is there never any notice? Why is it never the one with the scary eyes who makes my kid cry every morning?
Separation Anxiety. How much judgment is happening behind the scenes when I drag my child into school kicking and screaming, one shoe on, hair unbrushed, and I kind of slide her through the classroom door so she can’t hang on to my suit as I close it behind me? What about the times I bribe her into school with chocolate milk and a donut?
Financial Investment. It was daycare or a college fund and society looks down on leaving your newborn at home alone when you go back to work, so what kind of return on investment can I expect? If my kid turns out to be a total failure, decides to skip college and make a career in underwater basket weaving, or otherwise decides to pursue something I can’t brag about, is there any kind of refund?
But seriously, if your teacher can laugh about the craziness with you, somehow love your kid the same way you do despite a minimum wage salary and very little appreciation, and still mold those little minds and (figuratively) whip those little beasts into socially acceptable children, then you’ve found a winner.