Hayden and I had another trip to the crèche yesterday, and it was a much more successful visit. I still stayed with him, but we were both feeling a lot more relaxed. We sat on the couch together and had a chance to watch the other children interact with the staff and each other.
I was very impressed with the quality of the care. They have a 1:3 ratio of staff to infants, and all the children seemed very happy. If one of them was the least bit unhappy there was always someone there to lift them up and give them a kiss. They are constantly chatting to the kids in Flemish and the older ones talk back, pointing out the toy animals and the finger painting on the walls.
The children eat and fresh and healthy food during meal times, but they are never soothed with snacks when they cry. There is no television, and the children are very well behaved, stopping a dangerous or mean behaviour after a simple “nee”. No threats of smacks or other harmful punishments.
In fact, these people look like much better caregivers than I often am, especially when I flagrantly ignore the American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation of no television for children under two when we sit down to watch “Gossip Girl” together (though I do still talk to him to catch him up on the back story).
The people there were very kind and understanding of our previous tears. They said it’s very common, and they gave me the direct phone number of his room, and said that I can call them whenever I feel sad and they can tell me how he’s doing. They keep a detailed diary and communicate with us every day about his growth and development.
The moment that I knew everything was going to be okay was when I saw a one year old baby fall over. His dummy fell out of his mouth, and before one of the caregivers could reach him, a slightly older girl ran up to him, picked up his dummy, gave it back to him and said “niet huilen” (don’t cry). Being surrounded by these types of children every day will be so much more stimulating than even the best Fisher Price toy that I could buy.
I can see that experiencing a Flemish crèche from such a young age is going to give Hayden a great advantage, and I feel glad that he will be in such a nurturing and stimulating environment while we are at work.