Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Lot of Mixed Emotions

A lot has been going on in our lives lately regarding the child-care arrangement front so haven't even had the time or mindset to jot down all the emotions. Just felt like penning down some thoughts today so that I can read them again when I am confronted with mixed emotions such as this morning.

So our full time live-in maid has disappeared after a long stint of 7 months at our home. She told us one fine Friday evening (on Jan 14 to be precise) that she is going to her 'gaaon' (i.e. village) on Sunday. We actually stopped everything we were doing and even switched off the TV to give her full attention coz obviously we couldn't believe what we just thought we heard. We really thought this was one of her moods when she was a little homesick and wanted to go visit her mom. She often used to say that but more so jokingly and when asked if she was really serious, she used to say 'no no - I will only go after a year or so and will make sure I give you enough notice so that N is not stranded without a 'didi' suddenly'. So when she actually said this that evening, I initially brushed it off until she said it again and that's when I switched off the TV with utter disbelief! But turns out, she had to go since her mom had called for whatever unexplained reason (some death in the family though we suspect the real story was totally different) and that she will be back in 10 days. So calls to the agency were maid, replacement was asked for but obviously none could be provided in one day and so with no time for us to react or think straight, we asked her to leave on Sat night itself since we had plans with friends for Sunday and were not going to be home but more than that, we wanted N to have one full day without her on Sunday so that it sinks in and she does not feel deserted all of a sudden on Monday when mommy and daddy will also not be around. So that was that. N cried and asked her to not go....I cried coz I still could not believe she was gone that fast and most of all I cried coz my heart went out to N...she loved her 'didi' so and had come to a good routine and stability with her sticking around more than any other previous nanny had.

After she left, I made a decision not to see N like that any more. We were not going to get any replacement nanny or didi for her after this and have her go through this heartache again when she left. This was not a permanent arrangement and I did not want N to pine for her 'favorite didi' time and time again. Believe me, she still asks for the didi who worked at our place before this one and still believes she will come back one day. So I decided that was it and we were just going to give day care a whole hearted shot this time. No more maids...no more dependency...no more bitterness or N's heartache when they leave at the drop of a hat...nothing. So come Monday, I spoke to her Montessori where she goes since they have a daycare that they just started this year. We packed her off to the Montessori as usual and I decided to pick her up at 2:30pm instead of the usual 1:00pm. She being a very gradual kind of a child, I did not have the heart to keep her at the daycare until 5pm from day 1. So we gradually stretched her day there a little by little at a time and finally after 2 weeks, we reached a point where she got picked up at 5. She did not eat lunch there for the first 2 days since she said she wanted mommy to feed her...once we tackled that...we took on the napping task. She did not nap there for 2 weeks but has finally been napping there for the last 2 days. Now next is the evening milk...she refuses to drink it there coz she wants mommy to feed it to her. We are doing really tiny baby steps...one thing at a time. I am a very soft hearted mommy that way. I cannot see my child even wince in sorrow...forget about cry. And the sad part is that I know she cries a little every day at 1pm when other mommies pick up their kids she does not get picked up any more. She was used to a routine where she and her best friend A would get dropped to school together every morning by her dad and A's mommy (our friend B) would pick her and A up every afternoon at 1 so they would enjoy coming home together. Now when A got up and left at 1, she had tears in her eyes for the first 2 weeks and I felt terrible inside for making her go through this. But gradually it has improved and there have been days when she has told me proudly that she did not cry at all in school. What I am observing these days is that even though she hates getting ready to go to school now (she cries almost every morning that she does not want to go), when I pick her up, she is a happy child. She tells me all that she did and is very glad when I reward her with a candy or something for being a good girl at school. I know in my heart of heart that this setup is the best for her but when she cries each morning that she does not want to go to school (she never did this earlier when her day ended at 1pm) or when she asks for her 'didi' at times my heart breaks into a million tiny pieces. I am torn between continuing to push her a little every day to get adjusted into this new routine versus picking up the phone and calling her 'didi' back to join us (incidently her didi did call a few days ago and leave a message that she can come back if we wanted her to. But we were not happy with the way it was done...she called our friend B (A's mommy) to check on us and ask her to let us know. That was not very nice of her in my mind).

Now you other soft hearted mush mommies like me....please let me know what you'd do if you were in my shoes? I know there are pros and cons for each setup and I am fully aware of what is best for my child. But what do you do when your child still lives in the belief that her favorite didi is coming back soon and that this is a temporary arrangement? What do you do when she cries in the morning and says she does not want to go to school when earlier she used to enjoy every minute of her ride to school and back with her best friend A? I mean...its not that dreary in practical life...she has another close friend who stays back at daycare with her and she has begun to adjust a little more each day. But you know how we moms are right...always confused and torn!

Please post your comments or thoughts...I'd love to hear advise from experienced mommies.

12 comments:

MindfulMeanderer said...

shhhhhhhh.. hugs . calm down first. I can imagine what u must be going through. any amid or didi will tend to be unreliable. and it really shakes the kid's security. Day care is better. Its a social setting and kids adjust. give her time.. I think u r doing great by taking baby steps. It never gets easier.. first its food .. next sleep.. tomorrow it will be some other issue. make sure u pick her up at same time each day.. They have an innate sense of time and its important for them to know their mommy will come at a particular time each day. teach her to see the clock.. like i always tell lil P that i will be in at 6 o clock. and i'm there exactly and make it a point to show the time to her.. don't go back to a full time maid unless u have family around. mail me if u need any help or anytime u feel really low. Biggg hugs for u again. hang in there.

Divs said...

Thanks for the hugs Shruti. You're right...I was quite turmoiled this morning so actually really needed a hug myself! Yes...practically thinking day care is better but emotionally thinking, there is nothing better for the kids than the comfort of their own homes na? And this maid was really good with her.

Suhasini said...

Aww.. really feel bad for the poor baby who cant quite understand why didi is gone. I would say you made a good decision with the day care thing. Ya, no doubts that home is better, but when considering the unreliability of maids and the heartaches, day care is much more easier - on both parents and kids. Am sure N will get used to it pretty soon and will start loving it too. Trust me, my best pal's DD took to day care so well under a similar circumstance and now she enjoys a jolly good time there.. So all a matter of time. So cheer up and give the lil one some time. Sending wishes ur way :)

Divs said...

Thanks for your wishes Suhasini. Yes...I am sure it will get easier with time. I have given her a break today by letting her stay home and working from home myself. Small things but it brings out such joy :-) She woke up this morning and said I love all my didis...and named all 4 of them...and even said mommy I really want a didi! But then she also said she likes her daycare auntie...so I am hoping she'll get over the didi phase eventually.

newmumontheblock said...

Awww poor lil N :( I can totally understand what you must be going through. We had a maid for nearly one year who used to help me with the cooking and taking care of Nikki and after being with us for a year she just vanished-in fact the way she went was very similar to your maid. The worst part was even after she got back in town she never bothered to visit Nikki, not once, and Nikki used to miss her and ask for her everyday. I personally feel, from my own experience that daycare is a much better bet than maids as most of them are extremely unreliable and it puts the child thru too much emotional upheaval, but you know your child the best so make the decision that you think is best for her. Many many hugs to you and lil N and if you plan to continue in daycare hope she settles down there comfortably real soon :)

Divs said...

@NewMum: Yeah strange things these maids do na? I read on Parul's blog today that her's quit too and I agree with her...this is a mystery of the world that I fail to understand and shall waste no more energy into it. So we are sticking with the daycare plan for now and are making slow progress each day. So fingers crossed. Thanks for your wishes and advise.

Rohini said...

I was lucky to find someone who has been with me for over five years now. One of my biggest sorrows about the Hyderabad move is losing her. But yes, if you cannot be assured of a reliable, trustworthy maid, day care is definitely a better option. She'll get used to it, just hand in there. Kids are a lot more resilient than we give them credit for

Divs said...

Lucky for you Rohini. Yeah I know how I felt when I was leaving the US and the nanny there. But you're right about kids being much more resilient than what we give them credit for. My lil one has thankfully warmed up to the caretakers at her daycare now and is happy there after 3 weeks of gradually easing her in. Thank god! Touch wood!!! Kala tikka!

whinymom said...

Hey there.. First time on your blog...

Been there, done that!

Give it time and she'll adjust. I know the first few weeks will be very very hard, not so much for the kid as much as it is for us mommies. I personally never kept my boy with the maid, somehow the idea just does not sink in well with me.
Be strong and eventually she'll start loving the place so much that she wouldn't want to come back :)

Divs said...

Thanks whinymom. Yes, I felt terrible when she hated going to daycare earlier but I think she is adjusting well now. Touchwood!!! Welcome to my blog btw...I will visit yours soon.

Jyoti said...

Div. Reading ur blog after a long time....going thru all this right now as Kabir started preschool last week after being with his babushka (grandma in Russian) for more than 1.5 years. This is his 2nd week there and he has not cried even once. But I have cried almost everyday while dropping him or sometimes even while picking him up. It's been crazy, but have to convince myself that it's for his own good....every morning he wants to go to babushka...not to school...and my heart just aches... Hoping it gets better in one more week...
Was good to read all your posts...keep writing

Divs said...

Jyo - first of all...a lot of hugs to you and Kabir. And trust me, it gets better and better. N is very happy in the set up now. Takes a while but they get over it and adjust to the new circumstances. You can explain that this is a big boy's school - that babushka is for babies. He is no longer a baby now. You'll see he will be fine soon. And so will you :-)