Gradual entry into daycare – Day 1

This week, my daughter started gradual entry into daycare, where she will be spending a few hours each day there so that she gets used to the people and environment.  She will be attending daycare two days a week once I return to work next week.  This is my account of events.

Day 1 started a little rough.  We just return from vacationing in Hawaii on Saturday so we are still on island time.  We all ignored the alarm and woke up late, leaving only about 15 mintues to get ready.  These days with baby, it takes at least 30-45 minutes to get out of the house.  To save time, we ate breakfast in the car and luckily, traffic wasn’t too bad so we were only 15 minutes late.

We spent about 2 hours there.  The plan for this first day was for me to be with my daughter for the duration that we were there.  To my surprise, she did better than I thought.  She didn’t stick to me like glue the whole time as she usually does these days (separation anxiety is alive and well).  She even let the daycare workers carry her around even though she had only met them briefly 2 times prior.   This is surprising because it still takes her a while to warm up to her grandparents, aunts and uncles after not seeing them for a while.   There were a few moments when she got upset when she didn’t see me or wanted me to hold her.  But she did go explore on her own and “played” with the other kids.  She really enjoyed the breakfast they provided (she loves to eat), the music and dancing “class”, and playing in the sandbox.

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I think the first day was harder on me than on my daughter.   Why?  Because there were a  few kids there that didn’t seem too happy to be there.  There was this one particularly sad looking little girl there who caught my attention.  She’s only been attending this daycare for about a month, but I’d heard from the workers that she’s had a tough time adjusting.   When I sat next to her during the baby sign lesson, she turned to me and said in her tiny pleading voice, “I want my daddy.”  That just about broke my heart.  I was so close to bawling my eyes out and taking my daughter home right then and there.  Sure, she was fine at that moment sitting with one of the workers at the opposite end of the room.   But how will she be when I’m not there?  Will she cry and want someone to take her to me or my husband?  I guess we will see on day 2….

Bee-bim Bop!

Growing up, I held mixed emotions for cultural events and holidays, like the Lunar New Year, because while I enjoyed the festivities and celebrations, these cultural events weren’t mainstream and celebrating them both highlighted and reinforced our family’s minority status in my eyes.

Lunar New Year Decorations

I am ashamed to admit that later, in my teenage angst, I was often quick to dismiss my parents traditions and rituals as out-dated superstitions. I performed them loyally despite my tsk-tsk smart-mouth out of respect and love for my parents, but I never truly felt pride or a sense of legacy or claimed them for myself.

Now that I have a child of my own, I suddenly have a strong desire to share and to show her how everyone is different and to impart our family’s perspective. When I tried to share, however, I quickly learned that I had only assumed I was cultured because I grew up a minority but in reality, not only did I know little about other cultures, I knew little of my heritage outside of what my parents told me or what was portrayed on tv or in books.

As February 8th, the date of the lunar new year this year, loomed after the “real” new year passed, I found myself Googling various Lunar New Year traditions and on amped up late-night Amazon shopping sprees, trying to fill my cart with cultural items for the celebration.

Chinese calligraphy

I didn’t end up purchasing much other than some ink and red rice paper for calligraphy but I picked up several books on the Lunar New Year and some Chinese, Japanese and Korean culture books to share with my daughter.

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It was fun reading books featuring different Asian cultures and I regretted not doing this sooner. I must look into other cultures in additional to the ones we got since she showed interest.  Of all the books we got, she loved Linda Sue Park’s Bee-bim Bop the most!

Bee bim bop

Bee-bim Bop is a fun rhyming story about a young girl helping her mom prepare dinner (Bee-bim Bop) for the family.  Bee-bim Bop, or more commonly Bibimbap (비빔밥), is translated literally as “mixed rice”.  It is a delicious traditional Korean dish that was historically eaten on Lunar New Year’s Eve.  There is a recipe for it at the back of the book.

Bibimbap

She asked me to read it repeatedly the first day and by the second day she was reciting it on her own.

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A week or so later she wasn’t asking for it anymore so I lent the book to her little cousins, one who is also 3 years old and one who is almost 2, thinking they might enjoy it as much as she did.  True to Murphy’s law, she asked for it again that exact night.

She cried and while I don’t condone the behavior, we reached a compromise since I did lend it out without telling her.  I found a video of it on YouTube and let her watch it instead:

I don’t know how they animated the illustrations but it’s so cute!! I loved it but my daughter preferred reading the book so I quickly re-ordered it on Amazon (affiliated link).

I’m so glad I got the replacement ASAP because the cheerful rhymes are now a staple in her daily speech and she will make up her own verses randomly.  For example, when she needed to go potty: “Hurry Mama, hurry. Gotta pee pee pee.  Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go. Mommy carry ME!!”

 

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