Wednesday, 17 October 2012

The good and the bad of bringing ZK out

The good:

1) Feed and satisfy ZK's growing curiosity about the world.

2) Expose him to people and varied environments.

3) Show off my cute baby!

4) See the kindness in people who offer me seats on public transport

The bad:

And that's what really prompted this post.

I was very VERY pissed with the woman at the baby spa today. Don't put in infant care so young, will fall ill, better to let grandmother take care a few more months, don't breastfeed in infant care, wean from four months blah blah blah...

I was already polite enough to give short replies in an attempt to end her comments but she kept harping!! What I really wanted to scream say was:

WHAT I DECIDE TO DO WITH MY KID HAS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU! YOU THINK I WILL LET HIM SUFFER MEH? MEH?? MEH??!

Compared to the above, random sales persons and service staff touching ZK's head and talking around me and disrupting my shopping and meals seem rather trivial!

And I must really defend infant care or institutional care in general; this is part of what I worked on for two years some years back.

These days, with both parents working, caring for young children typically fall on grandparents, nannies, maids and childcare centres. Good, reliable nannies and maids are simply hard to find. Good childcare can be expensive. Parents tend to be more comfortable handing their kids over to the grandparents.

But people are getting married and having kids later. This means that grandparents today are older than grandparents of yesteryears. It is one thing to play with grandkids a few hours a week or babysit on an ad hoc manner, and another to take care of them the whole time. Beyond the physical, modern grandparents also have their own life or are still working. I know for sure that I won't want to care for my grandkids full-time - I'll be too old, I may have different parenting approach from the parents, and I want grandparenthood, i.e. play with the grandkids (and return to the parents when they cry hoho!), and not a second parenthood!

More importantly, institutional care offers an educational component and the chance for kids to interact with other kids besides basic care. For me, this alone beats all other forms of non-parental care arrangements. I believe that this sector can only grow in quality and importance given our social trends. The problem is escalating costs associated with better quality, and the question is how to pay for it.

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