Cherry season

I had forgotten how much I love cherries. I forget every year. The first ones are invariably disappointing, this year small and soft without much flavour. But this week, this week there have been some extraordinary cherries. Early in the week some very deep red, tangy cherries from the local greengrocer, who are very patchy on the quality of their fruit I find. But they also have the best tomatoes at the moment, thin skinned Adelaide tomatoes. Rouge de Marmande, I think. Soft, low acid and full of sweet, sunshiney flavour. The other fabulous cherries have come from the big green grocer down on Sydney road, whose fruit I also find a little patchy. They don't have the Adelaide tomatoes so far this year. But their cherries have been the best. Big fat, red orbs. They don't last. So it was back to the local green grocer who had another batch. Paler than last time, but sensational tasting. So I'm starting my summer fruit rounds. For cherries and peaches (when they come in) l will travel. There may even be a trip across the valley to this other little fruit shop I know in a neighboring suburb. And maybe to the market. I'm starting to think of the Christmas box. There's also someone else in my house who really likes cherries. Apart from G, that is.

I wonder who that might be? The photographing of cherries out under the washing line was not a great success. I had lots of pictures that I wanted to try but Grace wasn't having a bar of it. And I kept having to stop and de-pip them for her. Although I think she may have beat me to it on a few occasions. Trying to retrieve pips from her mouth just ends up with me getting bitten. Little savage.

We also had an unfortunate incident at playgroup yesterday, where Grace may have bitten another toddler. Oh the horror. Luckily the other mother was OK about it, well as OK as you can be when your child has just been bitten. And Grace was searching out drawers, cupboards and other items forbidden to children at a frightening rate. She's certainly not shy about being curious. So playgroup was not relaxing, as I had to be constantly on her case.

Which was a pity, as the other two mothers who turned up were the others who don't use any sort of formal childcare. So there was an interesting conversation about that particular choice, without feeling that we might be treading on any toes. I'm not against childcare per se, indeed I think it's very important that it's available and seen as an OK choice. And I think that kids are pretty adaptable. But I've been starting to feel some pressure now that Grace is nineteen months old. Just little things, like at work other mothers have been telling me how much their kids love it. Some of the mother's group talk about about how confident their children are becoming and how much they're learning. So I worry that Grace might be missing out. And there's a part of me that thinks that I should be more career focused. It's like a siren call, even though I've told myself repeatedly that there's nothing to be gained from rushing in. It will still be there for me in a few years, if that's what I want. Which I mightn't, but then again...   G didn't believe me when I told him that I was starting to feel some pressure until he got it from one of his bandie type friends whose child is four now and who expressed disbelief that we'd decided not to put Grace into any sort of care until she was fairly verbal.

So it was timely to have this particular mother's group. Even though our situations are different, we're all feeling similar sorts pressure and similar fears. But each family has made very conscious choices about keeping our children at home or with family for the first few years. I felt so much better after the little chat. I know we're pretty lucky because we have fantastic family support and a lifestyle that can be adapted so that Grace is with one of us or with my mum. And that not everyone has that option, or feels happy with that sort of lifestyle, so it's important to be able to be positive about good quality childcare. But it should go the other way too. And it won't  be all that long before there's kindy and school and all sorts of structure. So I'm going to be resolute and revel in a summer or two of messy play and fruit running down our faces.

8 comments:

  1. Yummmmm I'm a cherry fan, too.
    As for daycare/not- my Little Man never attended any formal daycare till he went to preschool at 4yrs. He started this last Sept. and his teacher says he is doing great. I worried about his lack of formal daycare experience, too. Especially when he was younger. But it doesn't seem to have 'slowed him down' compared to the other kids in his preschool. Kids are amazingly quick learners and he has learned all the rules just as quickly as the daycare kids.
    Also, Grace is learning all kinds of stuff every day with you (like how to de-pip cherries LOL). To make me feel better about the whole learning thing, we took lots of trips to local attractions, like the aquarium, zoo, parks, etc..
    Oh, Grace will be fine without daycare if that's what works for you and your family. It sounds like a long time, but in a few years she'll be in preschool (do you do that there?) or kindy and you'll look back and wonder where the time went. Cliched, but true!

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  2. Grace is soooo not missing out by not being in childcare or daycare. Don't listen to that kind of crap pressure.
    Each of our boys went to childcare one day per week once they turned 1 to give me one complete free day to work (the rest of my work was done at night). We have no family here. I hated it and so did they. I'm not childcare-bashing - I know it's necessary for many people and there are some great centres with caring staff, but my god if you can keep her home till kinder, do it. They are so little for such a short time and even the very best childcare experience can be brutal to a sensitive soul.
    Whoa, hope that didn't open up a whole can o' comment worms.
    Disclaimer: your mileage may vary and all that.

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  3. Oh dear, I'm one of those mums who says her babe gets a lot from childcare. But I don't ever mean it that I think kids who don't have care miss out.
    For a start different kids need different things, and after that, kids have differnet options (not better or worse, just different). Also, the variables around quality of care, the mix of care and time with family, individual needs and possible alternatives means the choice for care is unique for each child - and the outcomes are less than predictable. Just have a look at the many studies and the wide range of their findings to know this is not a simple question.
    Also, even though I know my girl loves care, there are moments where I feel insecure about my choice. What it says about my mothering, what it means she's missing out on, whether we've got the balance right, how different her life might have been if we'd made different choices.
    But at the end of the day the only thing I can really rely on is my instinct, from how my girl is. And every other mother is really in the same boat. The picture is so much bigger than what other mothers say and do. Grace is a happy and well balanced child and that's the only thing you can be sure of.

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  4. Whatever works for you, lovey.
    No rules, whatever people might say.

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  5. Oh, keep her at home as long as you can! My son who is now 8 stayed home completely till he was 3y3m, at which point he started two half days of preschool a week. In retrospect even that was not a good thing for him - he didn't like being away from us in an institutionalised setting. If I could do it again I'd keep him out of care till he was four - but that's the type of child he was/is. We were doing lots of social activities with other mothers/kids and he was fine with being away from us if he was in someone else's house, it was just the big group setting he did not like. Between ages 4 and 5 he went from two to three days a week to preschool and when he started school, he settled in and made good friends right from the start. He didn't suffer in any way from lack of child care, in fact I think he (and we) gained immeasurably. I remember the pressure to put him into preschool to 'socialise' him and I'm very glad we were able to resist that.

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  6. Thank you all for your lovely comments. Childcare, or not, is such a loaded issue these days. And I totally agree with Sooz about trusting our instincts on what's best for the child, the family and about what's right for now. My instinct (even before I read any of the books)has been to keep her out of institutional care till at least three. My family has been right behind our decisions. It's just out there in the wider world that the pressure is starting to build. Not that we're likely to have to give in to it unless something dramatic happens. We'll see how we go.

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  7. Different things for different children. My daughter went to the local council-run daycare 1 day a week for 1 year (2 1/2-3 1/2), so I could spend more time with my baby boy. She thrived on it, as we didn't know anyone with children back then, and she's a very social animal, and I was happy leaving her (guilty, but happy, if that makes sense).
    The boy has had no formal childcare, and I've held him back from 3 yo kinder, so he will start school at 6 years. I could never leave him with strangers and he'd HATE it too.
    Love the cherries too. My in-laws just gave me a box of apricots from their orchard. So ugly-looking but sweet and juicy. Divine.

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  8. Childcare...totally heated in many circles, not easy to choose.
    It seems you are doing the very best by following your own gut and your beab's lead!
    Bravo.

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