Do you know how you feel when you find a pair of pants that fits perfectly and you never have a 'fat' day in them? Or how you feel after a long day when you curl up on the couch with a blanket, cup of tea and a good book or guilty pleasure TV show?
That is how I feel about Tillie's new daycare. It is a perfect fit.
For the last year+, Matilda had been coming with me to the General Mills Daycare, where I was incredibly thankful to get to see her almost every day for a quick snuggle and have the extreme convenience for pick-up/drop-off. It made my transition from career woman to working Mom easier. But looking back, I now question if it make the transition better or just easier.
We had a fair amount of issues there of which I won't elaborate, so it was with cautious optimism that we entered Kid Zone in our neighborhood. When we toured it, we immediately liked the energy and it was a huge bonus for us that they are located in the hood (so some nights she gets valet bike service from Nate!) and had a focus on good, quality food. As in a chef on site making all of the food each day. As in a garden in the back growing fresh food for the kids during the summer. As in, all infant purees are made fresh on site with organic produce. A far cry from the Lorna Doone cookies and mini blue berry muffins at our last daycare.
But we knew there was SO much more to daycare than the food, and location.
Matilda has always been on the cautious side, slow to warm-up and skeptical of new people. Within 15 minutes of our transition time in her new classroom, Matilda had found her new BFF, Kathy--whom I later found out was the Chef for the place. What can I say, Matilda knows who butters her bread. Literally. The second day of transition, Matilda walked into the room by herself looked back at me and said 'bye-bye'.
It was so clear to me as her parent that she was comfortable in this room. That she felt secure. And confident. The teachers warned me that the first full week could be tough--that she might cry at drop off even though she didn't at her drop off days. I held my breath each day. And day after day. A squealing, delighted Tillie when she saw where we were headed and a smile and a wave when I left.
The room feels in control. Which for a room of 18+ toddlers ranging from 18-34 months is a feat in and of itself. This was a HUGE change from the 'toddler transition' room at the previous daycare, where it felt the kids ruled the room. Every time I am there the kids are being directed with activities and there is a quiet energy in the room.
But the biggest difference is the feeling of community. The Director of the daycare emailed Nate and I on the first day and sent a pic of Tillie, saying she knows the first day is hard on the parents too. We have been reached out to by a number of parents. And the staff have been absolutely incredible. They already know Matilda better than her previous caregivers. What we hear about her are stories about her and her personality rather than things that happened.
Today, Mr. Leon (her lead teacher) told Nate that typically kids choose a favorite teacher, but Matilda doesn't because she is so task-oriented. Whichever teacher is doing an activity is her current favorite. It is such an insightful observation that makes me feel like they understand her.
I write this post for two reasons:
1) If you are looking for an amazing daycare, that is non-profit, and serves the overall health and well-being of your children and family, Kid Zone in St. Louis Park is worth taking an extremely hard look at. We are overjoyed with the center and cannot speak highly enough.
2) One cannot underestimate their 'mom gut'. I have ignore it a few times, only to have to realize after some hard time that there are certain things you just know because you are the mom. I wasn't ever truly happy at the previous daycare, but I thought maybe I had unrealistic expectations or demands since I am a first-time Mom. But our immediate love and impression of Kid Zone is that it wasn't unrealistic expectations on our part, but rather unrealistic rules/regulations/facilities/etc on the place we went before.