Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My toddler ranaway from the daycare, and I think she's cool

Babygirl has been going to the daycare since I came back to work from maternity leave, and that was when she was exactly a year old in April 2015. A year and a half going to a private daycare, in September this year she finally got into a public daycare and started her days in the new place.

Although the adaptation period was planned to last around a week to get each child used to the new environment, babygirl needed three days to settle down in her new place. I took a week off from work just in case, but she already spent the whole day being there on her fourth day. On Monday the following week, I spent my normal hours at work and everything has been fine since.

Since my husband is currently working in Slovenia (about that here), our normal day looks like this: waking up around seven, have quick breakfast and leave around half to eight, I'd drop her in the daycare (where she'd have another breakfast) and go to work, and pick her up around four in the afternoon. She sleeps around two hours in the daycare, so by the time I pick her up she's well rested, and ready for some outdoor time (usually a combination between park and playground, groceries shopping and ice cream time). We'd come home around six o'clock in the evening, cook and eat dinner together, have some bath time, play some more and go to bed at around nine.

Her group in the daycare consists of around twenty toddlers of the age of two to three, and she's one of the few without diapers. These kids who are toilet trained need to be able to go to the toilet by themselves. That means informing the caregivers they're going, getting out of their playroom, crossing the hallway, going to the toilet across the hallway, getting their pants off, doing their business, cleaning up (the caregiver would help here if they do the big business, but they clean up by themselves if the only pee), flushing the toilet, dressing up and washing their hands. And then getting back to their playroom across the hall. For the last month and a half, this has been working great for babygirl.

And then yesterday happened.

What's more important than to initiate, and not to be scared, to explore new things around her?
I came to pick her up at usual time, greeted her in front of the glass door of the playroom, when she ran to me, took my hand and dragged me to leave while whispering "I made teta (means aunty, the way the call their caregivers) really, really mad". I told her to wait a second because I saw the teta approaching me. She greeted me and smiled, said the regular things like how much babygirl ate and slept, told me what happened.

So my two-and-a-half-year-old had an idea that day. She told teta she needed to pee, when she didn't. When she got the okay to leave the room, she left. Instead of going to the toilet, she decided to take a little walk. She walked on the hallway by herself and just looked around. Until a cleaning lady found her on the other end of the building and returned her to her group's playroom. This is the point when her caregiver decided to give her a little serious talk. When asked, babygirl said she was just "taking a little walk and checking maybe my mom came". Mind you, she's not able to get out of the building because the main entrance/exit door has very tall handle and has a button to be pressed to open it. The worst that could happen, well, in my opinion, nothing much. She could end up in the outdoor playground, which, is visible through the glass wall from her playroom.

I hardly hid my smile when the caregiver explained to me what happened. She looked a little too concerned when once again telling my babygirl she's not allowed to go out by herself (except to the toilet of course).

When I told what happened to some friends, their reaction was more or less similar to each other. Getting panicked, (partially) blaming the caregiver of not noticing she'd been missing, imagining the worst scenarios, pointing the daycare's system's failures and so on. But when I told the story to my husband, his reaction was exactly what I expected (well, there is a reason we're married, right?) he said "Oh my God that is soooo cool! So our two-year-old actually tricked her caregiver and took a walk??" Yes. And she probably also planned the whole "trip".

A friend actually couldn't believe how I don't have problem with it. She thinks other parents would confront the caregiver for not paying enough attention to the child and put the child into danger.

But I know my toddler better than anyone. And so does her dad. She was NOT lost. She can't get lost in that building. She directs me where to drive the car to get from our building to her daycare. She guided her grandma to walk from our home in Ljubljana to her favorite bakery in the bus station when her grandma visited for the first time (they went alone, just the two of them).

She did plan the whole thing. She knew the caregiver would let her go if she says she needs to pee. So she took her time, took a walk and looked around. She's been there for a little over a month. She's just curious. She's brave. She's free spirited. And oh my, she's genius. The  most important thing, she knew she's not supposed to do what she did. She told me that. By herself. The whole fuss yesterday with the "serious talk" put her a little bit to the scared-side, because she, for the first time, refused to go to the daycare (to the same caregiver) this morning. But it will pass very soon.

And we're proud parents. We really are :)

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