Owen is in sort of a unique position at his daycare. See, they group the kids by “classes” rather than just by age, like school. So the kids move from classroom to classroom as a group, whereas at our old daycare they switched to the next classroom when they hit a certain age. When we joined this daycare when we moved a few months ago, they didn’t have room to put Owen in the Older Infant classroom where his similarly aged peers were for the whole week. So he does Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Infant classroom and Wednesdays in the Older Infant classroom. Since he’s just 12 months old, he’s on the cusp of both classrooms, so it made sense for him to bounce back and forth between them. He gets two days of being the oldest, and one day of being the youngest. It’s a great balance, actually, and they call him “the mayor” because he knows everyone.
Lucky for us he is such an easygoing, social little guy, and instead of being bothered by the constant state of flux, he loves it. Every day is different and he rolls with it. While it makes for a little confusion at pick-up and drop-off times (Which classroom is he in today? Where do we hang his bag and put his lunchbox?), it’s generally working really well.
Over the last few weeks we have had a few days where he napped at weird times (or not much at all), ate at weird times, and even snagged a few Cheerios off the floor and had an eczema flare up. I started writing a lot of directions on his drop-of form (what times he should nap and eat, reminders about his allergies, etc.). It’s kind of a pain to write it all down every morning, and I feel a bit high-maintenece, but honestly I like knowing that they are looking at the information every time they pull out his sheet to write something down. In an email exchange with the school director about something unrelated, I mentioned that Owen had a few days where things were “off”, and told her about the eating Cheerios incident. She wrote a lovely email back and suggested a parent-teacher conference with both of the teachers of Owen’s classrooms to discuss.
Though I know she was just responding to what I had said, but I felt like I had been called into the principal’s office. Tsk tsk, high maintenence Mama.
So yesterday I drove over to Owen’s daycare midday. I peeked in on him in his classroom. He was sitting in a tiny high chair on the floor (more like a little kid chair with a tray), kicking his legs and laughing. Such a happy guy. Munching happily on his lunch and watching his teachers with wide-eyed amusement. And I went to the principal’s office.
I met with both of his teachers and the school director. And what I thought was going to be a tense conversation between two teachers trying their best to maintain some semblance of a schedule with a room full of toddlers, and a mom who would prefer them to stick to HER child’s schedule really turned out to be a wonderful conversation about what an awesomely easygoing baby Owen is, and how we can all try to shift things a little so his schedule is more consistent. We talked a lot about napping (duh, the reality is that it’s HARD to nap at daycare, and Owen would generally rather play!) and bottles/food. Since Owen is on the cusp of the “big boy” room, he is kind of stuck between his current schedule of separate bottles and food, and the future schedule of just sipping milk while eating his lunch and getting rid of bottles altogether.
I mentioned that I was thinking of switching him to sippy cups for milk and everyone agreed that even though he is a year old, it’s totally fine to wait a few months to make that transition. The infant room teacher, who sees Owen twice a week, said that she feels like Owen loves his bottles and that he’s not quite ready to switch. Also, if he’s in the infant room twice a week looking at others babies getting THEIR bottles, that might make that transition even harder. Good point. So we decided to work through some of the schedule inconsistencies in the two rooms for a few more weeks, and then discuss switching to sippy cups at that point.
Yay. I am relieved that my meeting with the principal is over, and also relieved that I don’t need to go cold turkey on the bottles right away. They reminded me that guidelines are there for a reason (switching to sippies at 1 year), but that it’s important to follow the child’s lead. I am such a rule-follower that I was thinking we had to make the switch like, YESTERDAY, but we don’t. Nothing like sitting in a room full of moms and infant caregivers to give me a little perspective!
Benjamin says that daycare probably thinks we are “those parents” who send their kid to school with a list a mile long of what to do and what to eat and what to wear. And maybe we are. But he’s ONLY a year old. I think I’m entitled to a little over-involvement. Oh yeah, and I volunteered to be the parent rep for his classroom. PTA mom, here I come!
What is/was your toddler’s daily schedule? Currently we do: wake up at 6:30am, bottle of milk at 6:45am, breakfast at 8:00am, nap at 9:00am, bottle at 11:00am, lunch at 12:00pm, nap at 1:30pm, bottle at 3:00pm, snack at 4:00pm if hungry, dinner at 5:00pm, bottle/bedtime at 6:30pm. This schedule has been the same since around 6 or 7 months, and it has worked beautifully! I’m scared to switch it up, and I don’t really know what a “toddler” schedule looks like.