New caregivers can be lovely. Transitions always stink.
T has a new babysitter & will start preschool tomorrow. MFA Dad is back to teaching. Needless to say, the little guy is going through some major transitions right now.
I detest these moments in parenting more than any other. They make me uneasy, paranoid, panicky, nit-picky & uncertain… and I mean uncertain about everything (paid jobbing, substitute caregivers, my profession, etc).
How can we ever make all this (our jobs, childcare providers, etc.) jive with AP?
I ask myself this question every time we introduce a new caregiver into T’s big world. The period of transition is fraught with anxiety & doubts for all of us.
… And this has been going on for a while now: T’s first nanny started when he was 4 1/2 months old; he’s just started with his 4th babysitter at almost 3 1/2. MFA Dad & I have swapped primary duties off & on. Grandmas have tag-teamed to fill in the gaps. Yikes!
What I’ve come to learn: Transition happens.
It happens now, it happens later… but you can’t put it off forever. Someday, somehow, our children learn to negotiate their wants & needs with a once-stranger.
I’m trying to be confident right now. We vetted the new babysitter, ran a background check, took significant time to get to know her. Yet we’re all struggling.
I try hard (but fail) to remember how long it took to transition to a new normalcy with the last babysitter or with our first (& most beloved) sitter. But it doesn’t matter.
Because each transition is different. And somehow more difficult.
Yet I never lose faith that practicing AP is an integral part of our successful transitions… eventually. This one will be no different, I’m sure… eventually.
AP has helped us learn to ask the right questions of caregivers, to listen to our guts, & to read T’s cues on what’s working & what’s not. We know to anticipate T’s very normal responses to transitions (including a heightened need to be in physical contact with me when we’re together, aka “clinginess”), to respond with compassion to the challenges T presents, to slow down when we can, to encourage him to eat well, to let him nurse.
And to address concerns right away. This is the hardest part for me but open communication with a childcare provider is essential. Somethings we can change & some things we can’t. Others just take time… recalibration time. I’ll be having one of those difficult & awkward conversations with our new babysitter later today. I hope it works out. AP or no, that’s really what we all hope for. Not just that our children are safe, but that we find the caregiver that will help them thrive. We’ve been lucky so far.