She Says… The Principal’s Office

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.

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8 responses to “She Says… The Principal’s Office

  1. Do you think Owen and Faith talk to each other on Twitter? Because they have almost identical schedules. Scary! The big difference is that we have breakfast at 7am here because Faith is too hungry to wait that long 🙂

  2. Everly is 13 months.

    She wakes up usually around 7 and has breakfast with a sippy of about 4-6 oz of milk.

    Then I let her have a sippy of water that she drinks as she pleases/cruises the living room until nap time. She goes down for a nap about 2-3 hours after being up.

    When she wakes up we have lunch with a sippy of about 4-6 oz of milk.

    Around 2 she’ll probably get a snack, sometimes I’ll offer a sippy sometimes I’ll just offer water.

    She’ll usually take another short nap.

    Around 5 or 6 she’ll eat dinner with a sippy of about 4-6 oz of milk.

    She may have another snack before bed like a graham cracker or bites of what we’re eating.

    She gets a sippy of milk right before bed, but we’re slowly cutting this out (she’s doing it herself, drinking less & less).

    Everly was really easy to switch to a sippy tho. She’s been off the bottle since around 10 months I think? She never had a strong attachment to it – it wasn’t that I was in a rush or anything. 🙂 I will admit though that things get MUCH easier once they’re just drinking milk with their meals instead of separately.

  3. Could his lack of napping be him trying to drop down to one nap per day? This was about the time that Lu dropped her morning nap and just went to one longer afternoon nap-which made our lives so much easier!

  4. It’s amazing how different every baby is from each other! If it’s working, then I think Owen’s schedule is perfect for him. Maeve (almost 19 months old!) is STILL taking 2 naps and although I have tried a few times to phase out the morning one, it is clear that she is simply not ready for it. I figure it’ll happen eventually–just like the bottle thing. We never bottle fed her though so luckily I didn’t have to deal with that issue. And if it makes you feel any better, here in Ireland, those “guidelines” are much different and not quite as “rigid” (I use that term loosely as I personally don’t actually think they are that rigid and prefer the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations to any I have found here) as they are in the States. Lots of kids I know still use bottles well into their second year, and maybe even third year. As well as pacifiers! The girl’s cousins, now 2 and 3 still use their pacifiers to go to sleep. My point is, they all turn out pretty much the same in the end right? I mean, are my nephews any different now because they were introduced to potatoes at 5 months as opposed to the recommendation in the States to wait until much later? Just a perspective on why it’s absolutely OK to give yourself a break on the so called “guidelines”. Owen will get there when he’s ready. And it’s great that you have found such a wonderful daycare in your new neighborhood.

  5. Personally, I think you have every right to send him in with a long list because of his allergies. What it his reactions were worse than eczema?

  6. That schedule sounds exactly like what we had Ethan on when he was Owen’s age, minus the bottles, since he didn’t really do bottles. Ethan did start resisting his morning nap around 12-13 months, but rather than phase it out completely, we just kept pushing it back until he eventually was only taking one afternoon nap. Admittedly, that made for a couple of months when he was taking one monster nap in the middle of the day (11am-1:30/2pm), which wasn’t the best for our schedules, but it made the transition down to one afternoon nap gradual and easier (read: less crankiness, fewer tears, for baby and mommy!) 🙂

  7. Do you have any tips on solid foods, bottles and schedules? My 4 1/2 month old will start rice cereal tomorrow. I know to only start with a little cereal and add formula to it but am confused on how to start this eating schedule? I’ve taken her bottle / growth spurt cues okay but don’t know what it will be like with food, how to increase and when / how much bottles over the next few months. Help.
    (p.s. found your blog a few months ago but 1st time writing. So helpful to me as a 1st time mom)

  8. I agree with others that Owen may be ready to go down to 1 nap/day. My “E” is pretty much the same age at Owen and started a couple of weeks ago really resisting going down for his morning nap. I did some googling and realized that he might be ready for just one nap/day. I had been told/or read somewhere that most babies drop their second nap somewhere between 15-18 months but when I did my internet search, I found that many moms were reporting their babes doing well with one nap a day at 11-12 months. We have been trialling it this week and it’s been going well. “E” stays up with me all morning and then just after lunch, he goes down for a long nap (at least 2 hours). It’s been heavenly. “E” has a similar schedule as Owen (awake at 6:30/7am, asleep by 7pm) but I just offer a sippy with milk or water throughout the day.

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