Archives

Biting is a “Phase”

Althought I wrote this post on September 21, 2015, it is one of those “evergreen” posts that is always relevant.

Every so often, I question the fact that, in my belief, daycare is something to be avoided at all costs. (Daycare – from birth until the kid is around 3 years old; minimum – 2.5. Preschool is from that age until kindergarten.)

And then someone complains that her kid – a baby, really, is being bitten. Or hit. Or comes back crying. Or doesn’t want to go back to daycare, because they’re scared.

The kid comes back with black and blue marks. Or with teeth marks. Or scratch marks. Sometimes, it breaks the skin.

But it doesn’t matter, because, “it’s just a phase.”

I always like how the parents defensively call aggressive behavior “a phase” until the aggressive child gets a younger sibling, and bites, hits, kicks, or otherwise hurts the new baby. And suddenly – it’s not a phase anymore. And the parents takes care of the aggressive behavior – fast.

So what does that mean? It’s a phase only if it hurts your kid, but if my kid is hurting my baby, it’s not phase? Your kid isn’t as important as my kid? (Well, we knew that. But you’re not supposed to feel that way – or, at least, you’re not supposed to say it.)

And then I say: Thank G-d I don’t send to daycare.

Biting is a phase. Part of the oral phase.

Then there’s the hitting and kicking. I guess they’re part of the sensory phase.

Then the stealing and the cursing. Part of the social phase? I don’t know.

But the fact of the matter is, if you don’t teach your kid not to be aggressive – then your kid will be aggressive.

And the other fact is that daycare can’t give every kid the amount of attention he or she needs. And children who aren’t getting the attention they need, find ways to get it. Often, those “other ways” are violent and aggressive. And they keep at it – because it works. When it doesn’t work – they’ve at least managed to release their stress and anger . . . onto someone else.

So now parents need to choose. Do we want “better” academics (an advantage that disappears around third grade) and better social mingling skills for our children? Or do we want them to be gentler, less aggressive, less emotionally needy people?

Advertisements

Who Shook the Baby?

Recently, there were two daycare workers who shook babies. I think both babies were about four months old – meaning, they had been in daycare for only a few weeks.

Once in January.

And once in March.

Once in Jerusalem. And once in the center, near Tel Aviv.

The daycare workers, obviously, need to go to jail. But there are a few other issues at play.

  1. Why the !@#$ was a four month old baby  not with its mother?!?! I’ll tell you why: because Mommy had to go back to work. Maybe she chose to – and that’s a different problem . . . and a big one.
  2. Why was such a person even working with babies? One of them had a criminal record. You know why? Because there is high demand and it’s considered an ‘easy’ job.
  3. Why the !@#$ was there one worker to six babies, two workers to ten or twelve babies? The reason is because the legal ratio is 1:6. That’s NUTS! There’s a reason why human beings usually deliver one baby, maximum two, at a time. It’s because that’s all G-d thinks we can handle. There’s a reason why, if you nurse, your babies will probably be no less than two years apart: it’s because that’s what G-d thinks is smart. For G-d’s sake, babies should *never* have to compete with five other babies in order to be fed, changed, or held. Oh. My. G-d.
  4. Why are we not pickier about daycare workers, and why are they treated like trash? Daycare workers are treated, and paid, worse than teachers. They make minimum salary. They hardly ever get a raise. They are considered sweet but not too intelligent. For G-d’s sake, you are leaving your baby with this person. Raise the bar! Lower the ratio! Oh, wait . . . you might have to pay more? No, G-d forbid. Your money is much more important than your baby.

The sad reality is that parents here care more about cutting out kids’ (and teachers’) vacations than they do about who watches their babies. The government has added two vacation days per worker, added an extra month of school for first and second-graders, and is working on other reforms. Why? Because parents kvetched.

But parents don’t kvetch about lower baby:caregiver ratios, or raising the bar for hiring daycare workers. They just kvetch about not getting the discounts.

Forget the fact that vacation is good for kids and teachers alike. Forget the fact that being in camp during the summer is better than being in school year-round. That it’s better for kids to run and jump outside with a babysitter than to be sitting in a classroom or even playing in the schoolyard.

No, none of that matters. All that matters is that parents pay more for camp than they do for school, and pay more for babysitters or vacation days than they would if teachers worked the same days as everyone else. Get mad at the teachers, and keep the kids in school. All that matters is money, and parents’ convenience.

And the truth is that as long as cutting out vacation is more important than making sure that every daycare worker is quality – this problem will continue.

Parents don’t want to raise their own kids.

They want to pay someone, cheaply, to raise their kids for them.

Which is not fine. But okay.

Just don’t blame anyone when your baby gets shaken by an underpaid, overworked daycare worker  . . . who does your job and the job of five other sets of parents, for minimum salary, 40+ hours a week.

The daycare worker isn’t justified.  But neither are the parents.

There is no reason why, in country in which you are paid 3.5 months of maternity leave have another 2.5 months of unpaid leave (and can take up to a year while your job waits for you) – almost every four month old is in daycare.

There is no reason at all.

If American mothers can take 8 weeks of unpaid leave, I am pretty sure that Israeli mothers can do the same.

There’s no excuse for a 4 month old being in daycare. Okay, maybe there is. But not for 99% of the population.

Sorry.

(For Shlomo, we took a private babysitter. A friend of mine, actually. For Tova, we worked our own schedules wacky because we didn’t really feel we had a good choice of babysitters. Yes, we made sacrifices. So? That’s part of what being a parent is. And please . . . don’t have kids if you can’t stand being around them for more than 26 hours a week.)

Social Media and Me

Since social media first came out, I’ve hated it.

I don’t have Facebook, and never missed it.

I don’t have Twitter, because I think it’s dumb.

I don’t have Pinterest, because honestly, I don’t see the point.

I don’t have WhatsApp, and I never quite understood why everyone else does.  (Admission: Until a few months ago, I thought its name was WhatsUp.  I still call it WhatsDown, though.)

And why would I want to stick a name tag and personal pictures onto my Gmail account?  I don’t.

I do have LinkedIn.  I don’t know how much it’s helped me, if at all, but I signed up because I figured it would help me network and find a job.  It hasn’t, at least not yet.  But since so many experts think that LinkedIn is useful, I keep hoping that it will find me something.

Even though I’ve been active on online forums for over ten years, somewhere inside, I’m still a teenager, scared of stalkers who take their stalking offline.

I don’t post pictures of my kids – or myself, or my husband – on the net.  Recently, I shut down my Geni account, and changed all our names to anonymous or blanks.  I have no idea what my extended family thinks of that move – and honestly, I don’t really care.

I do what I do – and don’t do what I don’t do – after a lot of thought and consideration, and I really don’t care whether my decisions are applauded or booed.

Honestly, when people ask me about social media, most of them raise an eyebrow at the fact that I am completely disconnected.  In many ways, I feel like my technological skills are ten years behind.  I feel like a Bubby.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing?  To this day, I don’t know.

But, Yitzchak is on the same page.  He also is completely off all social media.

Lately, though, I’ve had to make some tough choices.  As you probably know, I’m not continuing at my teaching job this year.  That means that when the school year starts in less than a week, I will be at home.  Shlomo will go to gan, at least the first day (he doesn’t want to go back, but I told him he needs to try one day, and then decide).  And I will be home, with Tova.  We don’t do daycare.   Not if there is another viable option . . . even if that option requires a sacrifice of money, convenience, or career.

I’m happy about that.  It really is what I want to do, deep down.  I’m just worried about whether or not I’ll want to find another teaching job in a year from now, and how that would go, if I chose to take that route.

But what not teaching also means is that I need to replace my salary.  Ideally, Yitzchak would be earning on his own what the two of us earn together.  That may or may not happen, and it may or may not happen in the next few months.  Really, we just have to work hard and pray.  In the meantime, though, I still need a salary.

I know that if this freelance business thing succeeds, I won’t have to go back to teaching.  The question is more if I’ll want to. Honestly? I’m scared that Tova will be ready for gan next year, and, being a good parent, I’ll send her just because she’s ready, even though technically speaking, there’s no reason to spend the money.  Then I’ll be stuck at home by myself, running my own business and making eleven thousand shekels a month (okay, hopefully), but in desperate need of company.

Last time I stayed home, I was creating and editing educational materials.  It was great, except that my boss’ budget wasn’t big enough that he could promise me steady work.  Luckily, it was enough at the time, and we managed.  Now, though, I’m not up for that level of uncertainty.  I will still be working with him, but I need other clients, as well.

Freelancing, whether teaching, writing, or editing, is a tough field to find jobs in.  So, when I saw on one site, “If you can’t find your ideal job, create it,” it really clicked with me.

After a long bout of cold feet, nail biting, nervousness, and thinking “Oh my G-d, I can’t believe I’m doing this.  Is this me?  Am I NUTS?” I took the plunge.

I am now a freelance writer.  In six days, it will be official (because my teaching contract will be up).  I am going to make this work, and I am going to be one of those high-earning success stories, having to turn down clients because my business has been more successful than I’d thought possible, and I want to leave more time for my family.

What all this means, though, is that my attitude towards social media will have to change.  To build an online writing business, you need to network and reach people online.  You need to be easily searchable, both in Google and in social media, because otherwise, clients the world over will have a hard time finding you. Even if they do manage to find your site, they’ll be nervous about being one of the first to work with you, or about hiring an unknown writer, when there are more well-known, personable writers to be found.

I think it was Sophie Lizard who wrote that, “People don’t work with websites, they work with other people.” Or something along those lines.  So, you have to show that you’re a person.

And so, with a lot of tummy flip-flops, and a lot of nervousness, I came face-to-face with the social media monster that I’ve successfully managed to avoid since its inception.

I took the ghost Facebook account, faceless, nameless, postless, pictureless, that I had made for the sole purpose of being able to read Facebook links, and I put a picture and a website.

I made Twitter and Pinterest accounts, added a picture, name, website, byline, and found people to follow.

And when my first guest post came out the day after I sent it in, I shared it.  So far, it has gained me a single Twitter follower, and four LinkedIn “likes”.

I think what my compromise will have to be, is that I post and share my writing when it comes out.  Soon, I will make a logo; after that, I will probably get someone to draw a caricature of me, and use the caricature on all my social media accounts, instead of an actual picture.

This is actually why I haven’t been posting too much in the past week.  Instead, I’ve been pouring my time and energy into getting my freelance writing business off the ground.  It isn’t easy, but I’m on a roll, and I believe that with enough motivation and hard work, I can land a couple of high-paying clients within the month – enough to easily replace the income I was earning as a teacher.

I’ve also been trying to teach myself to put only one space between sentences, instead of two.  What this usually means is doing “Find and Replace,” when I’m done writing an article.  Most of the time, this does the trick.

Wish me luck, because I think I’ll need it.

And don’t worry.  I’m not leaving this blog.  I will still continue posting here, on a schedule as regular – or irregular – as I have been until now.

When my site is up, and I feel like I can be proud of it, I will place a link over here.  Until then, sit tight, and keep reading. 🙂

UPDATE: I wrote this post a few days ago, on August 26.  I don’t know that I’m super-proud of my site yet, but I have 2 pieces published and two more scheduled . . . so I’m taking the plunge and waving my  anonymity bye-bye.  You can visit my writer’s site here, and of course, if anyone you know (maybe even you) is looking for a quality freelancer, I’d love it if you recommended me.

Mom-life Identity Crisis

I love my job as a teacher.  I love my students, I love the challenge, I love watching them grow.  But I don’t want to put my babies in daycare.  I believe – we believe – that babies should be at home, or maximum with a much-loved babysitter, one-on-one, until they show readiness for preschool.

When Shlomo was born, I was in my last semester of college. We had a mishmash of me, Yitzchak, and my best friend.  When I started teaching, he was six months old, and I took a babysitter.  That ate up half my salary, and I worked hard and came back exhausted, with no energy for anything.  The year after that, I worked from home; towards the end of the year, I saw that he was starting to become more social and by the time summer vacation came, I knew that he needed to go to gan that September.

I found him a gan, and found myself a teaching job. Towards the beginning of this school year, I had Tova.  So, after my maternity leave was over, Yitzchak and I did another mishmash of scheduling, and staying home, and Yitzchak would take her with him, sometimes.  Now, I have the question again, but slightly different, since 9 months is different than 6 months, and Tova will be 9 months at the beginning of the school year.

And I have a problem.  If my resume shows that every time I have a baby, I take a year off to stay home . . . no one will hire me.  So, what do I do?  Do I keep teaching, or do I stay home?  If there was an option for only Yitzchak to work, and for me to stay home and just keep house, I would.  Yitzchak would too, obviously, but I’m not sure it’s good for him to be keeping house all day.  At the end of the day, intelligence, politics, and equal rights aside, it increasingly seems to us that we are a pretty traditional couple.

I also am not thrilled at the prospect of working from home again, but unless someone gives Yitzchak a miracle job that will pay all our bills AND allow us to put money aside (so that, for instance, we can buy a couch and put the sapapa in the guest room; or so that we can buy a standing oven with a stove on top, instead of having a toaster oven and a two-burner stove that sits on the counter; ah, and a carseat for Shlomo and a new stroller because ours was not a well-researched purchase, and new clothes for me every time I change size), I don’t really have a choice.

And so, dear readers, I turn to you. Does anyone on here have a steady writing, editing, or teaching job that I can do from home?  It needs to be a set number of hours a week and a steady pay[pal]check at least $1500 a month.  Ideas?  Opportunities?  Have any of you done data entry, and can recommend a reliable website?

Hey, at least my parents can’t complain that they paid thousands for my degree and here I am looking for a simple job from home.  The Israeli government paid for 3 years of my degree, and Yitzchak and I paid for the fourth, 200 shekels at a time.

A Mother in Israel

I found A Mother in Israel‘s blog a couple years ago, but didn’t think it too extraordinary.  Now, I found it again, and for the past couple days, whenever I had any free time (after I finished working, of course, and while Shlomo was sleeping or playing happily without me), I read it.  Unfortunately, I think I’ve been leaving too many comments, but that doesn’t take away from the site’s amazingness.

Read it.  Especially the posts on breastfeeding.

(You can also find the answer to why I don’t think Shlomo is losing out by not going to daycare.  It’s a question I get a lot, but am too dumbstruck by the question to properly answer.  On her site, “gan” is preschool, and “misgeret” is framework.)

Five Ways to Improve Your Marriage

marriage, relationships, dating, engagement, relationship advice, marriage advice, improving relationships, improving marriage, spouse, significant other

To be fair, I got the idea for this post here.  That said, I changed the title – and topic – slightly.  Here are my five tips on how to improve your marriage.

1) Look for the good, not the bad.  Yes, he does things differently than you.  He parents differently, he cleans differently, he thinks differently.  So does everyone else.  No two people are the same.  Forget gender differences.  Just respect the fact that even though you’re married, that doesn’t mean that you’re exactly the same.  You don’t like how he folded the laundry?  Thank him for trying to help and thinking of doing it, with or without being asked.  Sometimes, you can even show him how you usually do it.  That depends on him, you, and your relationship.  But first, thank him for helping you out.  You’re right, he should be helping you.  But you know what else?  It’s not clear-cut and obvious that he will.  Even if it were, we thank people for their efforts.  Do you say thank you to the waiter, when he brings you your food?  Isn’t that his job, that he’s being paid for?  So, thank your husband, too – even if you see it as his job to help you.

2) Admit your guilt.  Let’s face it: Nobody is perfect.  Arguments happen, mistakes happen, miscommunications happen.  Sometimes it’s your fault, sometimes it’s his fault, and sometimes it’s both.  Admit it when you are wrong, and apologize.  Tell him that you made a mistake, didn’t understand, or shouldn’t have jumped to conclusions.  Usually, if you do this a few times, he will start to do the same.  If he doesn’t, have a discussion about how you feel, without blaming him.

3) Communicate.  I know it sounds cliche, and I know that everyone is saying this.  There’s a reason for that: It’s important.  Really important.  He says, “Can you manage if I leave right now?”  You take offense: “What do you mean, can I manage?  You think I’m a two-year-old?”  What he meant was: “Will you be okay?  I know you have a headache and the flu, and I don’t want to leave you with a colicky baby if you’re not feeling well.”  Just.  Ask.  Ask what he means by “can you handle it”.  Ask what “handling it” means.  Ask why he is asking the question.  Many times, you do not hear what the other person was really saying.  Rather, what you hear is tainted by what you expect to hear.

4) Admit that sometimes mistakes happen, and it is nobody’s fault.  That’s right.  It’s nobody’s fault.  It happened because of a miscommunication.  Accept that.  Laugh at it.  Get over it.

5) Choose your battles.  If it doesn’t really matter, don’t fight over it.  And if it does matter, find a way to communicate (there’s that word again) your feelings without being hurtful.  One of the bonuses of doing this is that when you do argue for or against something, your spouse will take you more seriously (so will your kids, boss, and coworkers, if you apply this to other areas of life, as well).

Bonus:

6) Discuss important issues before they come up.  While you are pregnant with your first, discuss how you want to parent.  Finances and everything related should have been discussed while you were engaged.  Budgeting should have been discussed during your engagement, and it will need to be reassessed every once in a while.  Who cleans the house, does the dishes, earns the money, and changes the diapers needs to be discussed, preferably during dating.  If you didn’t do so, do it now.  It is always better to take care of things later, than to never take care of them, and let the bad feelings grow.  Likewise, breastfeeding versus formula, how many kids to have, and opinions on birth control should be discussed. They are important health decisions.  Your child is two years old?  Good, discuss where he should go to school.  What are you looking for?  You can agree to disagree, but at least be aware of each other’s opinions.

Textbook for Daycare Teachers

cord in mouth, baby with cord in mouth, kid with cord in mouth, baby playing with cord, kid playing with cord, cord, safety, daycare safety

I am on my daycare soapbox again, after posting our story, and two posts on why I dislike daycare.

We have a college textbook on health, safety, and nutrition.  The textbook was created for daycare teachers.  We have this textbook because my husband started the elementary education track in college [and then got married to me, moved to Israel, and switched his course of study], and he had to take a health, safety and nurtition course.  Since the elementary track didn’t have its own course, students were offered two choices: Learn the course with the daycare students, or learn it with the nursing students.  He chose the daycare course, figuring it would be more practically relevant to teaching.

You know what?  The book looks like it was written for idiots (excuse my language).  He and the other students in the elementary teaching program just looked at each other, dumbfounded and wondering why they had to be there, when they started reading the textbook and participating in the course.  He kept the book, because he’s a book-collecting type of person (so am I), and it has some useful charts.  But seriously?  The book is So. Downright. Dumb.  The pictures are dumb.  The questions can be answered by anyone who has a dictionary, grammar, or a semi-useful vocabulary.  Most of the information is obvious.  Most of the “think it over” or “discussion” sections are dumb.

And this is a college level textbook?  But apparently, it is a very needed textbook.  Because, apparently:

a) Most people do not think about taking care of children until the very last second, and therefore know next to nothing about it.  This I find very hard to believe.

b) People who are looking to be daycare teachers usually aren’t too smart.  This I find very believable, even though I have friends who worked as daycare teachers, and are very smart.

Basically, there are two types of daycare teachers: The passionate ones, who quit after some time because of low pay and bad working conditions (as some of my friends did, and others would do if they didn’t work in the specific daycare that they do); and the ones who are in it for the money, who are simply there because they cannot get a higher paying job, or are not motivated enough to do so.

It scares me that most of America is placing their children in the hands of people who need that textbook to teach them the basics.  It just plain scares me.  Because, in my eyes, someone who needs that course in order to be a safe or effective daycare teacher, is not a good caregiver, and probably has an IQ of no more than 109.  And, for those of you who don’t know, 109 may be slightly higher than average, but it is by no means smart.

College grads usually have an IQ of at least 120, or they would have become college dropouts (the minimum required to graduate college is 115).  I am by no means an “only smart people are acceptable in society” type of person, but I do believe that America’s children – and parents – deserve that caregivers should be able to handle emergencies efficiently, and be able to give children the best. I am in no way undermining parents who have lower IQs and take care of their own children.  They are doing the best they can for their children, just like the rest of us are.  The best thing for a child is to be with their parents.  The next-best thing is to be with a caregiver who can give them the best opportunities for growth out there.

But the minute a child is not with their parents, they should be getting the best quality care possible, in all situations.  If a potential caregiver had to read that textbook in order to give proper care – they are off my list even before they were on it.  And – call me discriminatory, because I am a mother and I am allowed to be as paranoid, discriminatory, and over-protective as I want when it comes to my children – I would not leave my child with someone who I did not think could give the same quality care as myself or my husband.  That includes emergency preparation, that includes CPR, that includes the quality of the attention that they will get, the quantity of attention that they will get, and how that attention is given.  And it includes the caregiver’s IQ.

More on Daycare

daycare kids fight, sad daycare kids, daycare is bad, alternatives to daycare, daycare doesnt give enough attention, daycares dont care

Sometimes I think that I talk (or write) too much about specific subjects.  Maybe I do, but honestly, I don’t obsess about any random subject; I only obsess about those that are important to my life, or to my philosophy on life.  (The obsessing about topics important to my philosophy on life has got to stop, though.  I just don’t have enough time and energy to upkeep it.)

As a parent, daycare is one of those topics, especially since I’ve gotten quite a few comments on how Shlomo needs a social life, and I really should send him to a daycare to make friends.  About how kids who go to daycare are more “mature” (read: advanced) than those who don’t (they’re also more violent), and it’s very recognizable on Shlomo that he doesn’t go to daycare, since he’s not so advanced (read: doesn’t feel like talking, and is kind of shy around other kids).  Plus, he’s probably bored at home (which I can assure you is most certainly not the case).

One thing I noticed during the air raids last week was that the daycare nearest me did not take any of their babies to a bomb shelter.  Apparently, the one farther away, did; however, I didn’t see them, so I can’t know for certain.  On Tuesday evening, when I was talking with Yitzchak about a conversation I had had with someone in the bomb shelter, it struck me:  Why had Shlomo been the only baby in the bomb shelter?

Right across the way from the shelter is a small daycare, with at least six or seven babies.  There were several people walking the route between the daycare and the shelter, so even if the one or two workers on duty couldn’t have taken all the babies, certainly they could have taken three or four in their own arms, and passed the rest out to other people running to the shelter.  Especially since we had a whole minute and a half, and many, many people who made it in could have spared another twenty seconds to take a baby, without worrying that they wouldn’t have time.  They would have been happy to help out, because that’s the way Israel is.

But no – the daycare didn’t bother.  And this bothers me, because to disregard the siren is one thing.  To disregard it when you are in charge of other people’s children is another.  The first isn’t okay, but you’re only hurting yourself.  The second is completely irresponsible, and instead of ending up a suicide, you might end up as a murderer and a suicide.

Which just proves to me that even though I may be paranoid about placing my kid in a childcare center, I’m certainly not being unreasonable, and maybe not even obsessive.  And I might even be really smart.

After all, one of my primary fears about daycare was that in an emergency, my child might be overlooked, because each staff member has only two arms; if the children aren’t small infants, those two arms can only hold one child.  There’s also the chance that, in an emergency, someone might be overlooked.  I would never be able to forgive myself if the child who was overlooked was mine, and I could have prevented it by keeping him or her with me.  So, until my kids are of the age that you can teach them to follow instructions and how to act in an emergency, they stay with me – or with someone else whose only priority is their safety.  That’s one of the reasons I think that a babysitter is a world of a difference from a daycare, especially if the babysitter becomes a permanent part of the child’s life.

For those of you who need a little more of a push to reconsider daycare, check this out.  Actually, I take that back.  Take a look at it, no matter what you think.  Really.

Where Could I Find a Job That…?

maternity leave allowances

The amount of paid maternity leave in several countries.

Here’s part of the reason I don’t live in the United States: Maternity leave and health care.  Sometimes, I contemplate moving back to the U.S. – just to be closer to my in-laws and to be in a smaller, more close-knit community.  But then I remember: Maternity leave and health care.  And I chicken out.  Where could I, where could anyone, find a job that:

1) Has flexible hours, so the kids’ school schedules aren’t a problem.

2) Will give full insurance coverage for the employee and his entire family, no matter what “preexisting conditions” there are.

3) Will give mothers paid maternity leave.

4) Will give paid bed rest if medically necessary.

5) Does not count said bed rest or maternity leave off of vacation or sick days.

6) Will allow telecommuting if it becomes necessary or desirable, without compromising the employee’s position.

7) Pays enough that hiring a private babysitter instead of using a daycare center won’t take half a mother’s salary.

Where can I, where can you find a job like this?  It’s sad, but they’re pretty rare today.  But, find me a parent who doesn’t want the best for the child.  And find me a parent who won’t change careers just to get the kind of job mentioned above.  I am not sure such a parent exists.  I hope that Obama, now that he has been re-elected, will change some of these things for the better.

And in Israel?  Basic health insurance is mandatory and subsidized by the government.  Supplemental health insurance is optional.  Once you choose one of the four health funds, they are obligated to cover you for the basics and for supplemental insurance if you choose (i.e., they cannot turn you down).  It’s not perfect, but for the vast majority of the population, it is good enough.  Some specific medications and treatments are paid for out of pocket, but most are at least partially subsidized.  Bed rest, if determined to be medically necessary, is paid for.  So is maternity leave up to 14 weeks.  After that, to each his own.

However – telecommuting here is nonexistent, and flexible hours are a distant dream.  One day, when we stop fighting wars to live, and start paying more attention to living, that will change.  One day.  Oh, well.  We can’t have it perfect, can we?

Why I Don’t Want Daycare for My Son*

baby hurts another baby

One baby hurts another. Where’s the adult?

Yesterday I posted how we have avoided daycare until now.  Today’s post is about why we made that choice.  So, why are we anti-daycare?

1) There is no way that two or three adults can adequately attend to the needs of fourteen children.  The government minimum here is a 1:6 ratio.  Many, if not most, abide by that.  But it’s just not small enough.  Plus, if there was an emergency, G-d forbid, how do I know that my child will be okay?  You can’t know that – and I know that I would never forgive myself if something happened to my helpless baby (or anyone under four, when they can run and speak and learn emergency instructions) because I chose to put him or her in daycare.

2) The horror stories of daycare centers, anyone?

3) Shlomo is one of the only toddlers I know who doesn’t hit back, doesn’t bite, and doesn’t hurt other kids.  When someone hits him, he gives them a look of disapproval.  The other toddlers I have seen who act similarly also never went to daycare.  Point proven.

4) I do not believe that a child under three actually needs a social life.  Learning to share, yes.  Same-age friends, no.  Parents contribute a lot more to their children’s social abilities than any ‘toddler friends’ their child might have.  Children this age don’t make friends, anyways – and the little parallel play they need can be obtained by a play date or two per week.  And before you tell me that I’m depriving my child: Shlomo is very social, very caring and picks up on social cues that no daycare child his age would pick up on.  The only other toddler with those skills has a stay-at-home mom.  And believe me, I’ve seen a LOT of toddlers.

5) Toddlers‘ brains need more affection to develop properly than a daycare center can give.

And yes, I believe that one person who comes every day, provides consistent care, is a stable part of the child’s life, and doesn’t have any other responsibilities besides providing attention to your child, is on a totally different level than a daycare center.  While it’s not the ideal, it’s worlds apart from daycare.  And that, at least to this mother, makes all the difference.

*Unless noted otherwise, everything I have stated applies until age five or six.