Today was a doggy kind of day. After lazing at home, enjoying a wonderful decaf or two and hanging some laundry to dry out back, I took the dogs out to the car.
A few weeks ago I bought them doggy sealt belt harnesses. Mostly because one of them (who shall not be named, but is rather goat-like) can not sit still in the car and I'm afraid that if the dogs and Bobby were in the car at the same time (hasn't happened yet) that Bobby would be trampled. This same dog has some anxiety about car travel. With the seat belt, they can still move around a little but they are generally kept in place.
I got them buckled in and off we went to the groomer's where they got mani-pedis. They don't seem to enjoy it as much as I do. While they were there, a black pug named Winston came in. His fur was so soft! I think black pugs are generally less coarse. He was really cute. There was also a little puppy that made me remember how I ended up with a second goat-dog. They are tricksy!
After the spa, we headed over to naughty_bride
's for a doggy meet and greet. She's benevolently dog-sitting for 2 nights for us next week and we wanted to dogs to meet each other before they are forced to share living space. It went really well, Willy showed off how loud he can be (very impressive) and Tyrone and Bernie showed off how much urine they can expel (more than you'd think). There were a few tense moments but once everyone decided on a hierarchy, and what items were not to be touched by visiting dogs, peace was at hand. I think the popcorn helped.
Today was also the last day of Bobby's time at this day care. To thank the women caring for him (as far as I can guess, there were about 5 regulars) I brought in the cookies I made last night and some jars of bubbles.
A brief overview of the reasons why we left this day care:
-they do not provide vegetarian meal options and feel scraping off the meat is adequate
-I bring in cloth diapers. As such, I can see how often Bobby was changes and how soiled the diapers are. I needed to remind them, more than once, how often diapers need to be changed.
-when I would change his diaper at home, after picking him up from daycare, it sometimes looked like the person had put it on with their eyes closed and I can't imagine he was very comfortable
-the price OH MY GOD the price
-many different care takers
-a new building is being built next door and the construction is RIGHT NEXT to the play yard
That said there were lots of good things about it. They spoke French to him all day long. He got to do arts and crafts every day (although at times I was skeptical about how much of the work he had done himself). He's come out of his shell a lot and doesn't need my by him at all times. He's made some friends. It's obvious the people there cared about him and took good care of him.
Where is he going now?
Well, for the next week and a half he'll be with me, at home and on day trips to places like the Toronto Zoo (next Tuesday for whomever wants to join). After that he'll be going to the home of a WONDERFUL Finnish woman that I met when taking him to play groups before I went back to work. Before I had even thought about switching daycares (we already had ours booked when I started going to this play group) I got to observe how she cared for the children in her charge and I was very impressed. She wasn't putting on a show to impress a potential client. I got to see her real approach for a few hours a day, once or twice a week, for about 3 months.
As fate would have it, she was completely booked up and turning down clients. I often thought to myself that if she wasn't booked, I would have loved to have her care for Bobby but I just shrugged those thoughts off as passing fancies. Then, after a really hard day at his daycare (before I went back to work he was going part-time) I brought him to play group and asked the woman of she by chance had any openings. He face just lit right up! She told me how the NIGHT BEFORE she had a cancellation and how she was worried she wouldn't be able to find anyone to fill the spot before she went on vacation (she goes away for 5 weeks every summer - hence why Bobby is starting with her at the end of August) and she was SO THRILLED that Bobby would be in her charge. She took care of him the rest of the time we were at play group, just to see how things would go, and he loved her.
Let me just say that at this point in his life, he only let his parents and grand parent hold him. She scooped him up and talked to him and showed him things and he was totally happy in her arms for about 10 minutes. It was marvellous.
Her whole approach to caring for children is exactly what I want. Some excerpts from her contract (which is more of a work philosophy than a contract but I digress...):
daily walks in the neighbourhood to explore nature and our surroundings
trips to the park across the street to play and meet other neighbourhood children
playing in the back yard – sprinkler, watertoys, doing crafts, tag, and other fun things
most days we will go out in the morning and in the afternoon
walking to weekly community play group
playing with toys, lots of educational activities, learning colours, alphabet, counting, time, lots of art work and puzzles
listening and dancing to age appropriate music – all the classics and more.
encourage children to negotiate and solve problems themselves
intervention and discussion to learn problem solving
re-direction to other play areas
time out to play quietly with a quiet activity
I am a very patient person, do not yell, and know that children respond best when their feelings are taken seriously and they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve
when children see other children co-operating and having fun together, there is a natural tendency to join in.
Lunch and Snacks
I strive to feed your children only healthy food that is not processed or laden with salt and chemicals
snacks will consist of fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads, milk, cheese etc
we will have a morning and afternoon snack
lunches are nutritious and home made
[EDIT] I forgot to mention that she told me she's vegetarian so giving Bobby healthy foods that don't include meat will not be an issue!
Doesn't it just seem magical???
All this to say that with the first day care, I did not feel excited for him to go there. I felt ok with it and I trusted that they wouldn't harm him. I thought that I would feel that way no matter what. But when day care with this woman became a real option, I felt it in my gut that this was the right fit for us and I'm very enthusiastic about it.
That's a strong case for following your intuition.