The picture was taken from here.
When I figured out I was pregnant at the beginning of my Doctorate study, I was left with a big question: Who will take care of my baby?
The answer wasn’t that simple because as you might have known already, my husband and I currently live abroad, and our families are in Indonesia. In both of our families, children were taken care of by the mother since both of our mothers were a housewife or the grandparents in the case of some of my cousins. However, those were not the option for us. The only option for us was a daycare. The final decision of which daycare was taken with much of considerations and of course, long discussion.
Our Considerations in Choosing the Daycare
1. Availability & Distance
I was warned before: I had to register my baby at a specific daycare before she was born, mainly if I targeted those subsidized by the government. The earlier I registered on the waiting list, the better. However, we lived for a short period in Lisbon and had to move to Porto. Second, we just got an apartment a few weeks before we moved in. Therefore, our first consideration was the availability of daycare(s). Our friend, Silvia, helped us in contacting the list of daycares in our neighborhood, then she arranged us a visit.
Our second most important consideration was the price because the vacant ones were private ones, which meant more expensive in terms of money. We were lucky enough because we found some private daycares who provided a discount depends on the parents’ tax report (e.g., based on salary, number of working parents).
We visited each daycare to ensure the environment for our baby (cleanliness, safety, toys, etc.). We also asked the teachers about the curriculum and type of activities for the babies. Since our baby required special meals due to Moslem’s diet, we also ensured if the daycare could arrange those meal requirements.
The Aftermath After Seven Months at the Daycare
Yup, our baby has been in the daycare for seven months now. Winter was hard because she always got infected with influenza, and whenever we brought her to see the pediatricians at the hospital, they always said, “it’s normal for small babies at the daycare.” (haha!). Furthermore, there were a few weeks when our baby always cried whenever I left her at the daycare (that separation anxiety period), which made me a bit worried. Besides that period, she usually welcomed her teachers’ embrace and smiled very bright when I picked her up.
Baby A gave kisses to mama on Mother’s Day
I realized that our baby showed incremental development in terms of social and motoric skills. She already made friends with some older babies who could pronounce her name & whenever they saw me, they said, “A is inside.” (of course, in Portuguese, not English). During the bus trip to/from the daycare, she waved and ‘talked’ to other kids and grandmas. She enjoyed being surrounded by her peers (we often brought her to any playground in the weekend because she got bored for staying at home for a long time), got over excited seeing flying birds on the way to/back from daycare, and surprisingly… asked me to put her shoes on every morning (looked who’s excited here. ha!)
If I could give any advice to mommies who are about to send their babies to daycare, I would say: keep calm and trust your baby and the caretakers. This mantra has been working well for me. In this sense, I could stay focus on my research work while our baby’s at the daycare. Furthermore, I didn’t expect that I would have enjoyed my interactions with other parents, kids, and teachers (with my limited Portuguese speaking skill). Seeing the smiles of kids when they saw their parents released my working “stress,” haha.
Look, whose palm was that?
Someone was being photographed to welcome Spring
Tiny feet on the wall
I also love how creative the teachers are. For any special occasion, they decorated the living room ornaments of the babies: a copy of baby’s palm, feet, their photographs, among others. I have been…impressed.