Melissa - posted on 10/28/2011 ( 2 moms have responded )
I have stayed home with my first and only daughter since she was born. When she turned 2, my husband observed what he thought was her getting bored. He encouraged me to consider putting her in daycare where she could interact with more children and I could gain time to myself without being a mommy all the time (depression). I was reluctant for several months knowing that daycare introduces constant exposure to illness. That changed when I could see for myself that she was starting to misbehave for what seemed to be boredom. She also has speech delay for what a therapist said could easily be fixed by being around more children. Then I began to day dream of what all I could do if she was occupied and I had some time to myself.
I began interviewing daycare programs and found one that was half preschool, half daycare. They had 4 extracurricular classrooms (art, music, library, indoor playground) they would visit each day in addition to their homeroom and outdoor playground. It was a great fit for our daughter. So when she was 27 months, we enrolled her for 2 days a week. It took 4 wks for her to adjust to being dropped off without crying, but she did great after that and would show excitement about going each day. We even bumped it up to 3 days a week. And she has learned SO many good things. She turned from shy to social, learned to count and letter recognition and began increasing her vocabulary in addition to many other things I hadn't expected. She would come home and be happy about seeing her parents instead of being defiant and bored.
Then the fall season came. And the snotty noses were rampant at the daycare. She began to pick up the colds. Now in the month of October, she's been out a total of 2 weeks for being sick 3 different times, the last for croup which freaked us as parents. Husband is beginning to reconsider if our daughters health is worth going to daycare, even for all it's benefits.
Now I will share that I am now 8 months preg with our 2nd child and I've come to appreciate time away from my 2 y.o. She is so energetic and I am so preg/tired that I find it difficult to find enough activities to wear her out enough to even take naps anymore! Taking her on outings has become frustrating and exhausting as she doesn't mind me very well. Picture a defiant child in checkout line with frazzled mom and that's how most outings look.
Here is where my question begins. How can I give my 2 y.o. the structure, social interaction and physical outlet that she apparently thrives on at daycare at the same time I am about to expect a newborn child in the start of wintertime- (read too cold to play outside). I would like to see my toddler go to daycare for both our sakes, but I am also concerned for her health- (it was the primary reason I put off daycare to begin with). Now I am scared of what illnesses she would bring home to the newborn baby. How does one parent tend to 2 sick children? Perhaps you can also tell I am nervous about becoming a mom of 2 kids when parenting the first one is a challenge enough!
I would love some suggestions on raising a toddler and newborn together. I feel unprepared to give each child the attention they each deserve at their respective ages simulaneously.