Wednesday, February 26, 2014

baby c in the krippe

There are so many different ways to raise your kids, and if you talk to ten mom's, you'd probably get ten different responses to what they think is best for raising children, especially babies.  With little r, I went back to work full time when he was only three months old.  This is pretty common.  I remember being torn about what to do -- nanny, babysitter, daycare -- and eventually we lucked out and found a daycare facility within five minutes of our office on post that was wonderful.  I wasn't too nervous about putting little r in daycare because even at that young age, he was incredibly independent.  Seeing how different he and baby c are, I now realize how truly independent little r was and still is.  For little r, daycare was a great opportunity for him.  He thrived there, and it gave me the peace of mind I needed to stay focused throughout my day.

Life couldn't be anymore different for me now with baby c.  I'm home all day, and we have a relatively consistent routine that keeps all of our sanities in check.  But with school and baby c getting more and more mobile and active, the stress levels have definitely been rising.  My friends here in town that have younger kids talked to me about putting baby c in the town's kinderkrippe.  Kinderkrippe is, for all intent's and purposes, a daycare but it's setup the only way German's know how - beautifully.  The women that work there are all incredible, caring, and very well-trained.  My friend's kids loved it there.  One other attractive selling point is the price.  The cost for the krippe is less for an entire month that I was paying for little r to be in daycare for only a week. 

The decision wasn't as easy as I expected.  Baby c and I had grown incredibly attached to each other.  In my mind that seemed like another great reason to give the krippe a try.  The baby, that at four months could easily be handed over to someone for several hours and be completely content, will hardly go to even Big R when I am in the same room. Not that I don't feel the love, but that can't be healthy for either of us.  I honestly also really liked the idea that both he and I would be exposed to another authentic German experience.  The women at the krippe speak very little English, so it puts me in a situation to have to practice my German.  Not that baby c will remember any of this experience, but I still like the idea that he will be exposed to another culture if only for a short period of time.

So, I went for it and enrolled the little guy in the German kinderkrippe.  We pay for him to be there in the mornings with the idea that I can have a good 3-4 hours to get work done or take care of things that are more difficult with a baby in tow (and maybe actually attend a real yoga class once a week!).  He had his first day last week. The process is very gradual -- almost too gradual for us American minded folks accustomed to dropping our kids off and walking out the door only to return hours or even an entire work day later -- with the idea being that they want the kids to build a relationship with their nannies at the krippe while mom is still there, and then to also understand that when mom leaves, she will be coming back.  This process seemed arduous at first.  I was truly a skeptic especially for a baby.  How could a baby understand the concept of time?  And at the rate we were going, getting baby c to the point where I could leave him behind from 8am to noon seemed impossibly far off.

One of these days, I'll learn to trust well-established processes.  As you would expect, things are going super well.  Today, baby c actually reached for his nanny when we got to the krippe and didn't even cry when I left. I, of course, was practically in tears my entire walk home, but it was a good thing.  I was so happy that he was doing well.  My sweet little man took a nap there today, and when I picked him up, he was having so much fun and in the best spirits.

I love living abroad with our kids.  It is so special to be able to expose the family to these foreign experiences.  Little r has loved both of his kindergartens here, and he has learned how to speak German fluently. We are in for a culture shock for sure when we head back to the states this summer.  I suppose we will just take advantage of it while we can and be appreciative that we were able to have these opportunities.

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