I've written before about the benefits of being a working mother, and I still think that the positives outweigh the negatives for me. However, I'm struggling with one of the negatives right now. When you are a working mother, you, invite someone else into your parenting decisions, because you rely on someone else to implement your parenting decisions part of the time.
For the most part, having a third party involved in our parenting decisions doesn't bother me. I feel pretty comfortable with our decisions, so don't mind explaining them to someone else and don't really care if the day care workers agree or not (and they are all too professional to let it show if they disagree). I am also very comfortable with our day care center. The children their all seem very happy and the staff are professional and also seem happy. There are little issues that crop up from time to time (like dumping old milk into full, unused bottles), but a note on Pumpkin's daily log sheet or a word from Hubby to the primary workers in Pumpkin's room when he drops her off usually sorts those out.
Lately, though, I have come smack up against a fairly big logistical issue, and I can't see the solution. As I've mentioned, Pumpkin is old enough (and certainly mobile enough- she's walking non-stop now) to move up to the bigger babies room. We all want this to happen. The bigger babies spend every afternoon outside, and Pumpkin absolutely loves going outside, both at the day care center and at home. She's so happy playing outside on the days she gets to "visit" the bigger babies that she doesn't want much to do with me when I arrive- just a quick hug, and then let me down to play some more, please. Also, the baby room she's in now is getting a bit small for her, and the toys are (understandably) geared more towards younger babies. It is time for her to move up, and there are spots opening in the bigger baby room.
So this should be no problem, right? Wrong. There are several criteria for when a baby is ready to move up to the bigger baby room:
1. Taking only one nap a day, at about noon.
2. Eating nothing but finger foods- no purees for lunch or snacks.
3. Drinking exclusively from a sippy cup or straw cup - no more bottles.
We have met the first criterion. Pumpkin takes one nap, and is moving it towards noon.
We have failed dismally on the second two criteria. The only finger foods Pumpkin will eat with regularity are graham crackers and Goldfish. She'll occasionally consent to some bread, or some other type of cracker. If I take a bite first, she might eat some (hard, non-squishy) cheese or some freeze-dried fruit chips. If we are out in a restaurant, she wants whatever I'm eating, and seems particularly fond of chicken and hamburger. If I try these same things at home or send them to day care, they are refused. When we were in Arizona, she desperately wanted her cousin's freeze-dried yogurt bites. We bought her some here, and she wants nothing to do with them. She is small for her age (10-20th percentile on height and weight), so doctor says she should have as much as she wants of anything she'll eat. Therefore, we just give her graham crackers and Goldfish, keep trying other things, and hope that this is just the one year old eating issues we've heard about from other parents and not a sign of future eating patterns. (However, I've always preferred carbs to just about anything, so I guess we have my karma/genes/eating habits while pregnant to blame if Pumpkin is the same way.)
There is some hope on #3- we just started her on cow's milk in a sippy cup, and she'll drink that (although not much, yet). The folks at day care are willing to work on getting her to take breastmilk from a sippy cup, which is important to me because I am not ready to move her completely to cow's milk, even during the day. The reason I don't want to move her to cow's milk is that we're not only failing on #2, we're now having trouble getting her to eat her purees. Therefore, we're relying on breastmilk for most of her nutrition. Besides, I'm just not quite ready to replace breastmilk during the day yet, and I'm the mommy so I get to decide that. (The day care people don't bat an eye at me wanting to keep her on breastmilk. This is California, after all. They don't care what is in the sippy cup, as long as it is in the sippy cup and not a bottle.)
So we're stuck. We have 4-6 weeks to get Pumpkin eating finger foods other than crackers and drinking all her liquids from a sippy cup, or she will miss out on the next spots in the bigger baby room and have to wait until July. Hubby (rightly) points out that it wouldn't be the end of the world if she stays in the little baby room until July. But every time I show up at day care to pick her up and she is playing happily outside while visiting the big babies, it tugs on my heart. I want that for her every day. But I'm out of ideas for how to make that happen, so I guess we'll just have to wait and see if Pumpkin makes it happen.