What you need to know
After nine months of 'hanging out' with adults and only each other, the twins now have an opportunity to 'socialize' with other infants their age. We now also have a chance to bond with more parents.
We lost our nanny two months ago, so during this time, we have been two fathers juggling, or rather struggling, to maintain the 24/7 health and safety of our precious nine-month-old twins while running a company without losing our own sanity and health.
We didn’t know if we would survive this grueling experience but thankfully we did with the generous help of friends and family who took turns babysitting day and night, weekday and weekends. Now we have decided to send the twins to infant daycare. Yes, daycare for infants!
Before choosing our eventual daycare, we looked into about eight centers in our neighborhood and inspected their facilities, interviewed their staff, investigated their online ratings, and confirmed their teacher-infant ratio. We found the most suitable one to be the one that is only a five-minute walking distance from our house. After nine months of "hanging out" with adults and only each other, the twins now have an opportunity to "socialize" with other infants their age. We now also have a chance to bond with more parents during the daily drop-offs, pick-ups, and the occasional yet mandatory parental volunteer shifts.
The twins will make new friends and so will we.
So far, I have not spoken to the other parents (it has only been two days since we started sending the twins); we have been more concerned with helping the twins leave the comforts of home and suddenly being put in a new environment with other tiny strangers who cry and babble just like them.
We, as parents, will be meeting new strangers, too.
With roughly 20 kids at the center, we will inevitably interact with the other parents. I am sure during these interactions, we will have a lot of the typical exchanges: "Is your son already on solid foods? And what are you feeding him?" "What baby formula are you using?" "Is your daughter sleeping through the night already? Yes, wow, how did you do it?" "What type of baby stroller are you using?" "Isn't it incredibly expensive to raise a child these days?"
As a newly-minted dad, I enjoy these conversations and haven't gotten tired of them at all. There is so much to learn, so many tips on how to prevent diaper rashes, skin allergies, constipation and so on. I am excited to soak everything up and apply all new-found knowledge on the twins. I have learned so much on this parenthood journey and sharing is my instinctive nature. I am sure most parents are like this.
My parents have reminded me numerous times not be so naive to think that everyone is accepting of our "modern family." They say, "You never know. Danger might be lurking just around the corner, and people who might not approve of your way of life will find ways to hurt you."
I understand parents will be parents and will always have concerns for their children, especially with me being a parent now. I want to be a good parent but I don't know how to live constantly in fear of dangers that cannot be anticipated and live according to what other people think of me.
I believe in the goodness of people and that we are born innocent and pure. The twins grab at fake squishy scaly lizards, plastic shark toys stained in fake blood (random but harmless gifts from friends) just as comfortably as they would a pastel blue plush rabbit or a pink teddy bear. They are not pre-conditioned to be fearful of certain things, at least not yet, nor do they instinctively prefer a certain color over another because of their sex.
I am sure as they grow older, they will go through experiences that will affect and ultimately shape the way they determine their preferences and judgments, which I hope will make the twins more open rather than closed. I also hope the other parents and the teachers in this daycare share my views.
This morning, I had 15 minutes to read a book to the children, and I chose the book, “Be Who You Are” written by Todd Parr. I read to them in English and then in Mandarin before explaining why it is okay to be old and young, to be a different color, to be proud of where you’re from and so on.
Of course the group of infants aged between eight months to two years couldn’t understand everything I was saying, but I hope they caught parts of it, and each of them will grow to be their most comfortable selves. When I was in the middle of the story, my younger twin suddenly crawled towards me. He moved, but I was moved, too. I stifled my tears and instead laughed, to him and everyone else in the room.
Such daycare centers are the cradles helping to cultivate the next generation. I am looking forward to being part of this experience with open eyes, heart and mind. Let’s teach our children right from the start. I am looking forward to being part of this experience, with my eyes, heart and mind all open.
Editor: Olivia Yang