Thursday 23 August 2012

Alice is a part-time viking

When I was 6 weeks pregnant, our unborn baby (Alice if a girl and Arthur if a boy) was added to the day care list in Dan's building. At the time, Dan's schedule was very predictable and, for naive soon-to-be-parents, the 45 minute commute in subway was not a problem.

Many moons later, things have changed. Dan got a promotion that implies meetings in different parts of the city, unpredictable schedules and a few business trips away from home. We also realized that the 45 minute commute might not be the best possible scenario for us.

However, you should know that finding a daycare in Montreal is generally not an easy task...well, unless you have very low standards! Our options were limited and all the daycare profiles that I saw using an online database left me gloomy.

Things didn't look good until one afternoon at the local bakery when Alice started to play with a little boy (fine, she threw his summer hat on the side walk). Turns out that the little boy's parents were opening a small (5 kid) family-run daycare in our neighborhood.
I first fell in love with their beautifully designed business card (hello, it's called Little Vikings) and after I was amazed to see that their text on the online database was written without any grammatical mistakes (my mom was sold with this argument)...something that you hardly see.

Then, it was my stomach...I have nothing against traditional shepherd pie and mac & cheese but when the weekly menu includes beet salad with citrus confit and eggplant caviar with fleur d' know that you are into something special (Nadia, the owner, used to work in the food industry). Yesterday, I was there during snack time and we ate grenadia (a first for Alice and I).

Oh, and Alice will also learn a bit of Spanish (my dad was sold with this argument) since the dad is from Mexico.

All that to say that even if my dreams of a Montessori or Waldorf daycare are gone (too far and too expensive), I feel very confident that Alice will evolve beautifully in that environment. Learning to trust "almost" strangers with pretty much no experience in daycare management is not an easy task...after all, Alice is my heart and soul. However, over the past few days, we spent a few hours at the daycare as "observers" and we realized that that young creative couple would take care of Alice just as they take care of their own son. It also helps to know that they are open to suggestions (a few Montessori/Waldorf ideas maybe?) and appreciate constructive feedback.

Starting a new business is a lot like having a newborn: get all the help that you can, be open to suggestions but always stay true to yourself.  

Update: Alice first morning by herself didn't go smoothly. My little lady was pretty pissed off. Of course, this made me sad but the sight of half sleeping Alice cuddled against Israel (the dad) while he was gently patting her head to help her relax actually filled my heart with joy. 

Now I can go back to work...   


Sandra said...

Oh I love this post!! As I comment on your last post I just started my own daycare and I too come from the food industry, so I would live to gear more about how Alice is doing. I have only have 2 little girls right now (sisters 1 & 3) and my little boy. Today was our first day and it wasn't to bad at all. The little ones slept for 2hrs in the same room!!
So please keep the stories coming. They really do help.

sara said...

Ah, beginnings are always so hard! (for the mom and for the kid) I remember leaving day care and crying in the street every morning for a week. Then, after a week, things were much, much better! Plus, I read that the feeling of "missing" your mom is quite a milestone (I mean, it's good for their development even if it sounds cruel) and important into the "self confidence" thing. Anyways, hang in there. Stay busy.
We are also in a tough phase in terms of day care (August cries at the sight of other parents coming to get their kids before I come to pick him :(, it breaks my heart!!!).

Rachael said...

so happy to hear this! It sounds like you've found such a special place! I LOVE that name. Go them.

Vivian said...

Wow Claudia, sounds like you found an incredible place for Alice. Our new daycare is also new but it is $50 a day so you are very lucky! The first day was quite traumatic for us too but I am typing this comment on day 2 and he has been hanging out with his little friends and his teacher for almost two hours, which is amazing! Cannot wait to catch up on your blog and see how things are going.