Everyday our daycare fills out a handy form about Sam’s day. What he ate, when, and if he ate it all. Diaper changes. Naps. Supplies I need to bring. It’s great. I always give it a quick glance when I pick him up and usually ask the daycare teachers how his day was. We don’t talk long as I’m ready to be home, and their eyes are on the other kids in the room. In the mornings it’s easier to talk to the teachers because Sam gets there before the room is full, but I am also on a time crunch to get to work. So, most of the time we don’t exchange that much information. General pleasantries, and that’s about it.
The other day, however, the daycare teachers and I struck up a conversation about Sam’s new (and, arguably, first) word, “Hey.” He puts his hand up and says, “Hey. Hey. Hey.” We walk up the steps to my parent’s house, and a little arm pokes out from the car seat, “Hey. Hey.” Everyone’s hearts immediately melt.
The daycare teachers were talking to me about how cute he is saying hey to everyone all day long. They went on to tell a story about how he scolded his BFF. The teacher said her name in the stern, stop-doing-that voice, and Sam reached out his little hand and said, “Ahhhhttt!” before the teacher could tell her to stop doing whatever she was doing. The teachers chuckled. I was deep in thought.
Lately, at home, we’ve been trying to teach Sam the word “no.” He is into just about everything, so we utter “no” pretty regularly. But he hasn’t seemed to fully grasp the meaning of the word quite yet. He looks at us, looks at the dog’s water bowl or the open cabinet or the cat’s tail, looks back at us, and then continues what he is doing. So, then we scoop him up and redirect his attention.
I turned to the daycare teachers, “Wait, he knows what ‘no’ means? We’ve been trying to teach him that word.”
The lead teacher told me that they are taught in school not to use the word “no” and instead say “ahhhhhttt” or “uhhhh uhhhhn” (or however you spell those noises). It’s supposed to be less negative for the kids. I had no idea. And, I had never thought to ask how they tell the babies to stop.
Now, at home, we’ve noticed him saying “Ahhhtt” when we do things like, say, change his diaper. We never registered that he was saying something. So, we’ve integrated what daycare is doing and it’s making a huge difference. When Sam is getting into something, we say “Ahhhhttt!” and calmly say, “no.” And he stops what he is doing. He stops. What he’s doing.
This experience reminded me to take more initiative in asking the daycare teachers how they do things. I get so caught up in making sure he ate well, napped well, and if he had a good day, I forget to ask about the details. The daycare teachers’ minds are always occupied with the little bodies crawling all over the place, so they don’t think to tell me about the little details, and rightfully so.
Going forward, when we are trying to teach him something or wondering how he does something in daycare, I’m going to make a note in my phone. Then I can ask the teachers and make sure we are on the same page. That we join forces. Sam is with them 5 days a week, so the teachers are important and what they do is important. Plus, I can learn a thing or two from them. Their kid knowledge is much more extensive than mine. I’m a first time mom, so my ears are wide open. Especially when we get to potty training. . .
Often, I hear negative things about daycares and how they do things and how they don’t do it the parent’s way. But, I’m trying to see them as allies and be open to their suggestions. Admittedly, some daycare teachers are better than others and more qualified than others. Our teachers are really great and I trust them, so note that I am coming from a positive experience. I know we’ll make a great team if I only take the time to ask.