Tag Archive | Daycare

Things I Don’t Understand

There are things that I never understood, still don’t understand, and perhaps never will understand.

For instance –

Why is it okay for Obama (insert name of current U.S. president) to drop bombs on Iran, Syria, and whoever else he wants – and are not even distant neighbors – but it’s not okay for us to bomb Gaza?

Why is the world silent about all the inhumane things happening in Syria, but an attempt at humane fighting in Gaza – in self-defense, so that we can have some security and live normally – causes an uproar?

Why is it okay for our civilians to be bombed, but not okay for us to bomb a terrorist organization that uses its own civilians as human shields?

Why does the world expect us to make peace with people who don’t respect or value life, even that of their own people?

Why is it not obvious that security breaches would not occur if countries would use racial profiling?  Why is it taboo to say that a Middle-eastern, young, unmarried, Arabic-speaking man is more of a security risk than a 76 year old Jewish grandmother traveling with two grandkids?

Why does it seem like Kuala Lumpur keeps coming up in connection with terrorism?

Why can’t Israel stand up for itself, ever?

Why are children born to people who don’t know how to take care of them and don’t care to take care of them, while I know really good, responsible people who waited five years or more for their first child?

Why do adoption agencies make so much money off both sides of the equation?  Why not just have an agency that takes unwanted, neglected, or abused kids and places them with people who want kids?  (Israel, by the way, works that way: You pay a 2000 shekel fee for psychological testing to make sure you’re going to be a decent parent, 400 shekel for the court fee, and the rest is free.)

Why do people get married thinking that they can change the other person?

Why do people have kids just to leave them in daycare from the age of three months?  And why is it forbidden to ask that question?

Why is the mother’s happiness more important than the baby’s health?  Why is it not obvious to everyone that rooming in and nursing until the baby is at least a year are desirable choices, and being separated from the baby and formula feeding are extremely undesirable choices that can negatively influence the baby’s health later on?

Why is it okay to feed your child liquid plastic in public but not okay to nurse in public?

Why does it matter if you’re not obligated to use a carseat in a taxi?  Does it change the safety problem?  Are taxis inherently safer than private cars?

Why does it matter if you’re allowed to leave a six year old at home in charge of a two year old?  Does it mean that it’s safe to do so?

Why can’t people use logic?

Why are people so influenced by peer pressure?  Who cares what other people do?

Why is it so important to have a degree?  It doesn’t even promise you a good job anymore.

Why is it taboo to write that homosexual men have a much higher rate of colon cancer (and other things) than anyone else?

Why is it taboo to write that intelligence is on the X chromosome?  Why is it not obvious?

Why is it taboo to say what you think?  Why does everyone look at me odd for doing what I believe in?

What’s wrong with saying that not everyone can sit and learn Talmud, or become a rabbi?

What’s wrong with saying that some kids will never finish college?

What’s wrong with saying that not every kid has the capacity to become a doctor, lawyer, or millionaire?

Why do people put so much time, energy, and money into making sure they look nice?

Who says looking nice means being skinny, wearing designer clothes, and painting your face with makeup?

Why does perfume always stink to high heaven?

Who wants to buy clothes or furniture that will go out of style in five years?

Who invented fashion and what’s the point of it?

Why do people consider fashion to be important?

Why bother buying expensive brands of clothing for kids, who will just stain them?

Why drive kids nuts over stains on their clothing?

Why does everyone have so much STUFF?

Why do people fall for ‘this toy makes kids smarter’ nonsense? 

Why does everyone’s kid have to be the smartest, most advanced, in their class?

Why do people buy expensive birthday presents and waste so much time and energy on fancy parties?

Why do people waste so much time and energy on ANY party?

Why does it seem like everything turns into a status issue?

Why don’t parents talk to each other instead of getting a divorce?

Why is it so hard for people to admit that they made a mistake, say sorry, and try to correct it?  We’re only human, after all.

Why does it seem like so many divorcees blame the other and make their kids’ lives miserable?

Why do so many divorcees make the same mistakes the second time around?

Why do people ask obvious questions after the answer was written in an obvious place and explained three times?

Why is it so important to have a large circle of acquaintances?

What’s this thing called ‘entertaining’ and why do people do it?

What’s wrong with a kid having one close friend and not wanting to play with anyone else?  What’s wrong with being shy, or an introvert?

Why do people get married?

What IS marriage, anyways? [Answer: A social institution designed to protect the wife from being left without an income and with a bunch of kids; and designed to protect the kids by committing both parents to their welfare.  Therefore, gay marriage is pretty pointless, because kids don’t come naturally, nor will one be left without an income because they are busy taking care of the house, since both partners are of the same gender.]

Why do people want kids?

Why do people have kids without marrying or intending to marry?

What logic is there in making the word ‘spouse’ taboo and using the word ‘partner’ instead?  Gimme a break.

Why do people divorce only to get back together, or get back in bed together (sorry little sister Shira, just pretend you didn’t read that), even if they’re not back together?  Why not just work on the relationship, or give it up?

Why do teachers not like the questions that I ask?  Why do they think it’s off topic? 

Why do I seem to intimidate people who are supposedly in a superior position to me?  Rabbis, teachers, potential or real bosses; I even scared my first date (by saying I was learning something that I was told not to mention, but what was I supposed to say?).  And – surprise surprise – Yitzchak does the same thing.  But it’s different because he’s a guy.  Guys are allowed to know a lot; girls aren’t.  And while I’m extremely grateful that Yitzchak has it better than me – why is it not okay for girls to know anything?

Why is it that people comment on what a cute little boy I have until he pulls out his doll, and then people start to say what a cute little girl he is?  Does a man become a woman because he’s holding a baby?

Are we really a liberal-minded society?  [Answer: No.  We just pretend that we are and make outcasts of anyone who dares to question if the emperor is really naked.  And he is.]

Why does no one know how to answer my questions?

Why is it forbidden to ask why?

 

*     *     *      *     *

Yitzchak and I used to play the “Why Game”.  He would say something benign such as, “Can you clear the table?” or “Maybe you should work on your assignments,” and I would ask why.  He would give the reason, “Because it’s dirty,” or, “Because you want your degree,” and I would ask why.  And it would go on and on for half an hour, maybe more, until we were both racking our brains, me to come up with a question and him to come up with an answer.  Sometimes his answers got really complicated and scientific; usually when that happened I would sit through two or three answers and then just get tired.

It’s a fun game.  He’s the only one who ever had, or has, patience for my questions.

But we don’t play that game so often anymore, probably because we’re more tired and have less time, energy, and patience for such things.  We should, though.

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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.

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.