The Daycare Effect

It was worth it. Even the rolling around on the floor with Ebola leaking out out of my face, clutching my stomach in agony part. Trixie loves daycare now, and the whole household is as well as we have been in several months.

I haven’t been sick the entire time. At the end of last week, things were looking much better. By Friday, I felt like eating again. By Saturday, I declared myself well. But apparently the virus was only incubating, growing stronger. On Sunday I caught it all over again, and it put me out of commission for a good 3 days. I can honestly say I’ve never been so sick in my whole life as I have the last month and a half.

Trixie, on the other hand, spent one day vomiting and basically recovered. She was cranky for a couple of days afterwards, but it’s impossible to tell whether that was because she was a recovering sicko or just stressed from the new daycare environment (or some combination of the two.) Matter of fact, there were so many adverse events during the weeks following Trixie’s entry to daycare — from vomiting to separation anxiety to a morning nap relapse — that it’s hard to get a handle on how out of whack life has been around here. Here’s a short summary to help explain the daycare* transition:

[GIF IMAGE]: Chart depicting Frequency of Adverse Events During the Transition to Daycare

*Trixie is in part-time daycare (mornings) Monday-Friday. She started at 18 months.

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21 Responses to The Daycare Effect

  1. grass says:

    glad to see that trixie is doing better and adjusting!

  2. pony in kigoma says:

    Hmm… Not seeing the .gif in Safari… Nor IE for Mac…

  3. benmac says:

    I’m on a Mac also, but everything looks ok. At this point I don’t know what the problem could be. If anyone else is having image problems, please leave a comment or email me, and I’ll try to get to the bottom of it. thanks-

  4. pony in kigoma says:

    Privoxy is over-enthusiastically trying to protect me from ads – like “ad”verse… Apologies!

  5. haeshu says:

    so no morning naps in week four. is that being chalked up to anxiety and sickness? glad your household is recovering. ours just got hit…croup, snot, ear infections, flu, i could go on and on…

  6. BD says:

    A good read on “stomach flu” causes can be had at

    Noroviruses (like the ones you hear about on the cruise ships) are, as you’ve unfortunately found out, highly contagious.

    Bleach is your friend.

    A few specific quotes from the page:

    “Persons working in day-care centers or nursing homes should pay special attention to children or residents who have norovirus illness. This virus is very contagious and can spread rapidly throughout such environments.”

    “Noroviruses are very contagious and can spread easily from person to person. Both stool and vomit are infectious. Particular care should be taken with young children in diapers who may have diarrhea.”

    “People infected with norovirus are contagious from the moment they begin feeling ill to at least 3 days after recovery. Some people may be contagious for as long as 2 weeks after recovery. Therefore, it is particularly important for people to use good handwashing and other hygienic practices after they have recently recovered from norovirus illness.”

  7. bex says:

    Actually, I think the morning nap is not a good thing. Trixie has moved to one nap a day, and if she takes a morning nap at daycare, the rest of her schedule is messed up for the day, sleep-wise (and if she’s anything like my son, food- and mood-wise, too).

  8. Moxie says:

    so Trixie threw up on Tues. in week one, Thurs. in week two, and got full fledged sick on Tues of week three? That is a lot of barfing! (unless I am not reading it correctly).

    I am so glad that you and Trixie have recovered!
    And so glad she is loving daycare! that must be a relief!

  9. hannah says:

    Week 4 is looking so good that it took my dumb ass 10 minutes to figure out that the lack of X’s was not that you’d forgotten to fill this week in (my first thought) but that it was basically an X-free week. That’s great! But now that things are going better maybe we need a chart that shows the positives, a glass half-full chart rather than the glass-half-empty current model. Also, regarding your sickness, I must apologize to you b/c I initially suspected it was all fake – just a ruse to get time to code w/o having to post stories while also getting sympathy -pretty low of you, I thought. But now I’m convinced you were really sick, but don’t think it was BIDS, as this whole area we live in seems to be affected by the plague. Glad you’re feeling better and that I don’t have to worry about you faking it anymore.

  10. benmac says:

    Moxie: Oh yes. Trixie threw up 8 times Tuesday in the third week. It was bad.

    hannah: I’ll see about putting up a chart detailing the “positives”, but things will have to get pretty positive for that to happen 🙂

  11. becky says:

    Ben – This chart is very well laid out. I like the updated version that shows the intensity of the anxiety. Congratulations on making a successful transition to part-time daycare!

    I can’t speak for everyone else, but I’d love to hear about Trixie’s activities at daycare. Does she have a little best friend yet? What is her favorite part of the morning?

  12. Christy says:

    I agree with Becky that it is helpful to see the intensity of the separation anxiety on the chart. But what exactly was “Stressed” and can that also be measured my intensity?

  13. Christy says:

    That was supposed to be “measured by intensity” or something like that – I really need to learn to preview.

  14. justin says:

    ben, just curious, being a non-parent: separation anxiety? what does that consist of?

  15. Leslie says:

    I love your charts and such — how do you think up these things? 😉

    Glad to see that the Xs are declining! Good for you both! And how did Jenn manage to be “X” free?

  16. Jack says:

    We also have Triple-X Tuesdays down at the bar, where a bottle of Dos Equis and a shot of Courvoisier XO costs five bucks. Glad to know Trixie is keeping things in the same spirit.

    (I saw your article in the New York Times and was waiting to comment on something I knew about — this is the first time I could work drinking into the conversation.)

  17. Hsin says:

    Daycares, I hear, are a hotbed for nasty bugs. My niece was sick every month her first year at nursery. Subsequent to that, she was as healthy as a horse – I suppose it takes time to build up the immunity. Hope the nasty grastric flu doesn’t reappear!

  18. benmac says:

    becky: Thanks. I think there will something about what she does in daycare before too long.

    Christy: ‘Stressed’ meant general, lingering fussiness and unhappiness.

    justin: Clinically speaking, separation anxiety is when a toddler goes ape-shit when you try to deposit them with anyone else, whether it be grandparents, close friends or that complete stranger at the park.

    Leslie: Maybe it’s because Jenn already spends all day in a hospital. She might be the real source of all the disease in the household.

    BD: It really seems unfair to get this sick without being able to play shuffleboard.

    Jack: I think it was the Courvoisier that finally helped Trixie shrug off the separation anxiety.

    Hsin: When I was a little kid, our horses were always terribly sick.

  19. Jack says:

    Benmac is like a highly-trained sharpshooter, or maybe a master bowler. He waits quietly in his lair, then comes out with a joke to cleanly deal with each of us in our turn. Why is this guy sitting in his house all day? He should be guest-hosting Johnny Carson.

  20. Tod says:

    I have been following your web site for over a year and it is a great site. During the time before BB(Before Boy), I never got sick. I worked from my home office and didn’t get sick for 5 years. I put my son in daycare (yes, we gave up trying to work from home and care for him) and now my son Jeff and I have been sick ever since. Trixie has actually had a better attendance record than Jeff. Why should I pay for daycare when he is home getting well? Good question. Everyone keeps telling me that it will be the best in the long run. That is my new saying. It will be better in the long run.

  21. Dave says:

    Good god, I totally sympathize. My son has been in daycare partime since he was 4 months old (he’s almost 7 months old now), and other than a constant runny nose he’s been just fine. On the other hand, I have been sick 8 times this winter, with everything from the green-apple two step to a nagging cough. I’m thinking of changing the boy’s name to Vector.