Opportunity Knocks

February 6, 2012 at 11:36 pm (Uncategorized)

Well, my friends, my faithful friends who drop by here and remind me of this blog’s value (because I would certainly be lost without you), I have reason to hope I may soon be blogging twice a week: Master J is starting family daycare this Thursday-Friday. Family daycare is somewhat different to daycare centres; there’s a maximum five children of staggered ages, and a qualified carer looks after the kids predominantly in her own home, with excursions. Daycare of any description is really difficult and expensive to access in Sydney, so I feel very fortunate that we have been offered a place – it’s one of those ‘Grab it now and deal with it later’ scenarios, because had I declined to commence him this term, we would likely wait another year for a second offer.

I think the timing is actually good for us, though in an ideal world I’d have preferred him to be talking before starting any sort of organised care. But he’s walking, and a very sociable toddler, and intensely interested in older kids particularly. He’ll likely be the youngest child at this placement, given their policy of spreading the ages, but I expect he’ll quite like that and no doubt benefit from it developmentally too. Though we’ll be paying for two full days in order to secure the place, I’m only going to start him off with a few hours at a time, in order to ease him in, see how it goes and assess how much he likes it. We were lucky enough to get our first preference, too, a lady who has looked after a good friend’s kids and whom they have come to regard as an extra member of their family. I couldn’t be happier that we managed to get a place with J. She lives literally around the corner from our place, so I can also be there in under a minute if need be.

So Master J shall be thoroughly stimulated and I shall have a few hours to myself… quite a tantalising prospect. We’d been using a fantastic Masters student from Germany for 6 hours a week (on the weeks she was available), and even that has made a HUGE difference to my state of mind, because it’s made a huge difference to my ability to get some writing done. The blog didn’t really benefit so much because I was busy deconstructing my MS, and once that was done I worked one little bit into a much-altered 3,000-word short story (invaluably aided by fantastic critical feedback from our very own Litlove). As a result, one small, discrete piece of work has been pulled clear of the wreckage… and okay, it’s really not much to show for all those years of work, but I still feel pretty good about it. It feels like a twisted sort of progress. I’ve done something. And I remain convinced that pulling apart an entirely unworkable MS was my only path forward.

Sigh. I can’t deny that it’s sad I wasn’t up to the job of fixing the whole thing, but I’m convinced there’s much to be gained from scavenging from what I can from its unholy carcass. The benefits may largely end up being educational – it’s probable nothing I salvage will ever be published – but as long as I’m learning… well, in that case I believe the effort is well spent. Education is a beautiful thing.

So there you have it. A few hours to myself, a couple of days a week…I might actually get some reading and writing done. Fingers crossed this child of mine likes the freedom too.



  1. David said,

    Congratulations! Master J sounds like a good candidate for that type of environment, as far as his general personality and temperament. I hope it turns out beautifully.

  2. charlotteotter said,

    I’m sure he will love it, and frankly, he has to, because there is writing to be done. I did the same when my oldest was 18 months – I felt awful, but I knew I would go stark raving crazy if I didn’t have a few hours to myself a week.

    Also glad to hear that you are salvaging pieces of your manuscript and I look forward to updates on how the process is going.

    • doctordi said,

      Ain’t that the truth? It’s two-fold, really, my sense that it was our time to do this. Though I truly believe he will enjoy it and benefit from it, undeniably part of taking this decision to start him in FDC is to do with me – I need some time out, to write and run and just to be alone.

  3. Lilian Nattel said,

    Fantastic! I’m so glad you got a place for J and that you’re getting some absolutely necessary time for yourself and your work.

    • doctordi said,

      Thank you for also believing it’s absolutely necessary, Lilian. The whole question of legitimacy around a woman’s need to reclaim some time is something that needs greater discussion and openness and acceptance.

  4. litlove said,

    At a conference once I was talking to this lovely older academic with three children, and she was advising me that the one regret she had was that she hadn’t put her younger children into daycare more. By the third one she’d wised up (she said), because they all loved it and were perfectly happy. They were teenagers by the time we were talking and well-adjusted young folk. My son went to daycare about five sessions a week (half a day each) when he was 14 months and in fact it was good for him. When he was three he went through a dreadful time of refusing to poo (honestly, it nearly drove me insane). The only time he would go was when he was in the nursery and completely distracted by the other kids. It saved our lives. So don’t think for one minute that you are packing him off to some lower-quality experience. It can be beneficial in all sorts of ways.

    • doctordi said,

      Thanks, LL. I really believe that’s true. And there’s abundant evidence to support the idea that a happier mother makes for a happier child – and this mother is happier when she gets some time by herself.

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