A creche course

A creche course

The number of females in the workforce in Indian cities has increased by leaps and bounds in the last few decades, but dependable creches are hard to find. Not everyone has close relatives nearby who can spare the time and energy required to care for a very young child.

My sister’s oft-repeated childhood wish was : “Can’t my mummy become a teacher and work in my school so that we can come back home together on the bus?” Behind such innocent prattle lay many insecurities but child psychology had not engaged the attention of that generation of parents yet.

Welcome to the world of creches and their dubious or dangerous realities. My friend Nandini, a software engineer, noticed over several days that her child was drowsy and cranky when she picked him up from his swank creche. One afternoon, she landed up at the creche unannounced.

The child was in deep slumber. She got a paediatrician to examine him immediately. It turned out that the ‘professionally managed creche run by trained child counsellors’ had been doping the child with sedatives to make sure that he slept through his time in daycare and did not trouble his carers! Nandini made sure she spoke to every parent who was sending their child there and asked them to check things out for themselves. The creche folded up in three weeks.

If this is ‘expert-care’, what can you expect from friendly, personalised service-providers ? My cousin Hema, a paediatrician herself, zeroed in on a competent, well-off ‘aunty’ who had grandchildren of her own and offered creche services to a small group of six children at a time, “for the joy of being with young children, you see.”

All seemed well except that each time she asked her son Umang if he had finished his milk at Varsha aunty’s creche, he said, “Aunty kehti hai, billi doodh pi gayi. ” She checked with the other parents who reverted with the feedback that their children were saying the same thing too, that a cat had finished all the milk. Children are reluctant milk-drinkers. But Hema pulled Umang out of the creche for the simple reason that if the woman could pilfer a child’s quota of milk, she could not be relied upon for anything.

Sending an asthmatic or otherwise ill child to a daycare centre is fraught with risk. Which creche has the resources or the skills to handle emergencies effectively ? Home-care for your child, with a stay-at-home maid, maybe ? Your child is safe and comfortable in the familiarity of his own home and you can check up on the maid in a dozen ways.

Sure, you’ll have to silence that niggle of guilt over who is looking after your maid while she is looking after your stay-at-home child! A toast to those stay-at-home dads and mums who write novels or do e-tutoring while junior is growing up!

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