Daycare for our two and a half year old twins has been an adventure all of its own. Like we needed another adventure on top of having two toddlers in our house, but you know I’m sure we will look back on this one day and laugh. At least I hope so.
The first time I toured a daycare facility I had no idea what questions to ask, what to look for in a classroom or what traits would make a good teacher. I had infants at the time so I was more concerned about keeping them on their schedule in a loving environment than I was about curriculum. One place I toured had crying babies lying in cribs. I remember calling my husband to inform him we would be poor and homeless before our children would be left there. I kept looking and researching, both online and in person.
The first surprise of my research was what I call sticker shock. The price of two infants for all day care was equal to my monthly mortgage payment. All of this while they are going through seemingly hundreds of diapers a day, plus formula and clothes at a speed that would make a super hero blush. How on earth did we plan to pay for all of this? This is one of the reasons I cringe when someone hears I have twins and tells me ‘Two for the price of one.’ I would love to send that person my daycare bill each month.
Issues That Arise
When talking to other parents I learned that their children attended several different facilities as their needs changed. At first I thought these people were really bad at picking out a daycare. Now two years in I totally get why this can be an issue. Our twins first attended daycare when they were 10-weeks old. I needed a teacher who was patient and would provide those wonderful little sheets each day highlighting each diaper, bottle and burp that occurred while I was away. After several months of developing a routine and slowly becoming more comfortable leaving my children with someone else I found a cockroach on the floor. The very same floor where my children practiced tummy time daily. I tried to dismiss it until I discovered another one on top of the mini-fridge that housed their food. It didn’t take long for me to begin the quest for our next daycare.
Changing Daycare Centers
The second daycare seemed so big compared to the first one. I guess that’s what happens as your children slowly move up to different classrooms according to their age. This phase was difficult because my daughter had severe separation anxiety from me. I remember there were days it would take the director and at least one teacher to peel her off of my leg. I found myself crying on the way to work worrying about both of them. The teacher helped me with my anxiety by sending us baby pictures and updates throughout the day.
The other downside was the proximity of the daycare to my work – I was almost an hour away. The drive to get to them at the end of each day was filled with apprehension trying to get to them as soon as possible. The drop offs and the pickups were not ideal, but for the time it was our only option.
About a year later a new daycare was scheduled to open up two blocks from my office. I was excited to have my babies so close to me. The twins started at the new location when they were almost a year old. Their first teacher there remains a good friend of mine to this day. We went through so much in that first classroom from learning to wear shoes daily, to enduring the trials of the biting phase (this lasts way longer than I wanted it to) and our very first parent teacher conference for a one-year old. Has this always been a thing? I remember one of their developmental goals included not biting our friends. I think that could be applicable as an adult as well.
I dreaded the transition to the two-year old classroom. I am not good at change, even if it’s anticipated. At first I thought it was the big playground they would be playing on each day. Did you see the size of that slide? I was told they would be there twice a day sliding down Mount Everest. I could feel myself starting to freak out. Then I met the teacher and my anxiety mounted. There was something off I could not explain or put my finger on at the time. She smiled, seemed nice enough and had all the right answers. At the time. As the months passed I noticed times when one or both of my little ones crying while the teacher continued about her task at hand leaving my babies to stand or sit there in tears.
Once I was in their classroom I witnessed her rolling her eyes at a little boy she had to hold because he was upset. The final straw was teacher informing me our twins would be in separate class rooms in their next classroom. I talked to my husband and we did not feel like the time was right to separate them. The teacher and the daycare director disagreed with us and told us how the transition decision had been made. Apparently siblings bothering each other and picking fights throughout the day leads to mandatory separation. While I don’t necessarily disagree with the premise of separate rooms, I didn’t feel like it was the right time. I also disagree with is someone else telling me what we will do with our children.
The Search Continues
So the hunt for another daycare continues. Care for our twins during the day is a necessary part of our life, but I struggle daily trying to find the right spot for them and for me. I appreciate what the two of them have learned so far. But I also fear they have learned to self soothe more times than I feel they should have been forced to do. I disagreed with their teacher on the separation issue. Life is a balance with daycare being no different. It’s just so hard to know you’re doing the right thing. Especially when it comes to something as important as who takes care of your little ones each day.
Diana Coleman is a native Austinite and works in the wholesale electricity market as a market specialist. She is a married mom to 2.5 year old boy/girl twins Chloe and Greyson. She enjoys organizing, reading, and watching movies while secretly fears potty training and getting her little ones to sleep in separate rooms.
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The rate of twin births has risen 79 percent over the last three decades, and continues to increase. A mom of fraternal twins and a national guru on having two, Natalie Diaz launched Twiniversity, a supportive website with advice from the twin-trenches.
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