Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Childcare: Our experience thus far

Before I gave birth to the twins, I knew I would eventually return to corporate work because fortunately for me, I do enjoy what I do. If I didn't, having the twins would have been the perfect excuse for me to take my exit without having to explain myself further.
Prior to being on maternity leave, I had worked out a 11 months 'off work' plan (partly maternity leave and the majority being no pay leave) with me returning to work on 22nd January 2012 (yes last year for those of you who are new to this blog) - coincidentally, the twins turned 9 months young on that date.
Childcare placements are hard to come by, let alone for twins in the same room. There are 4 childcare centres within driving distances of home and I visited two based on recommendations from mummy friends.
I did not make an appointment with the centres because I wanted them unprepared for my visit so that I could experience the real thing.
One centre ranked higher in my favour because:
  • The nursery was bigger and brighter
  • The ratio of 1 teacher to 4 babies
  • I was invited to bring the twins in for a number of play dates to see how they would cope, without my asking
  • It had a good feel
  • Wide variety of toys and learning opportunities
Not surprisingly, both centres did not have any vacancies and the twins were placed on a waitlist. To cut the long story short, I did not hear from the centres until 3 months before I was due to return to work. Thank goodness, I did and thank goodness, it has worked out for us so far.
The first 12 months of them being in childcare was certainly one of the toughest experiences as a "young" mother because:
  • It is heart-breaking leaving 9 month young babies in the care of strangers
  • The twins were constantly sick
  • It is exhausing being a working mother
  • The guilt! Oh my, the guilt!
We were told that 9 months is the right age to introduce babies into formalised care arrangements because separation anxiety wouldn't have set in just yet and the longer we waited, the worse it would be for them and for us.
Perhaps there's the two of them together hence they never fussed when the husband drops them off (I still cannot drop them off because it breaks my heart and just as well I start work at 6:15am) - that certainly made it easier for my heart and mind knowing that they are together and not alone.
They are always so happy during pick up time and the teachers are so dilligent in keeping a record of their nappy changes, quantity of food they have consumed, the length of their naps, behaviour, etc AND I could ring straight into their nursery whenever I wanted  - that I did, twice a day and for the entire 12 months! ... well, I miss my babies whenever they are not with me.
They do so much at childcare - the socialisation is a big plus along with all the mess they make with creative play! We were given a portfolio of their work at the end of last year and we are astonished at what they have achieved. We are so proud of our happy and resilient children.
Today, they have left Nursery Class behind and joined the Toddler Class with new teachers. They adjusted seamlessly without as much as a peep. They no longer sleep in their cots and now sleep on floor mattresses with their friends. They continue to form friendships, enjoy the delicious & nutritious meals and the wide variety of activities / oppportunities at childcare.
They continue to surprise us each day with their development. Now, they:
  • Take very well to instruction
  • Give me their cups and plates when they are done
  • Help themselves to their sippy cups placed on a coffee table
  • Tell me when they have done a poo / wee
  • Read on their own (the mimicking)
  • Play on their own and with each other
  • Share well (most of the time)
  • Offer the other twin a snack or sippy cup before she/he takes one for themselves
  • Give me their shoes when I tell them that we are going out
  • Know to stop in their tracks when I tell them to "STOP!"
  • Put their books away when they are done
  • Love walking so we no longer take the strollers when the husband and I are with them
I could go on an on about my children.
Yes we are very lucky that this arrangement has worked for us thus far. The husband continues to drop them off at 8:00am and I pick them up at 3:30pm.
My babies are now little people. The first 12 months of infancy went quickly and the first 12 months of toddlerhood is going by even quicker!

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