In fall 1992, I had two problems to address: finding a second job and enrolling Vlad and Anna into daycare. I’ve already mentioned it briefly in previous posts, but I will elaborate more here. The daycare situation was really weird. Since the very early days of the USSR, it was proclaimed that women are liberated from the house slavery
and can in enslaved at work. During 1920-30, women were encouraged to bring their babies to daycare at a very early age. Technically speaking the “nurseries” which would take children starting from 3 months of age existed even at my time. But you would be considered a horrible mother if you would send your child to a nursery. Since women were allowed to stay home until a child reaches the age of 18 months, the groups which would take smaller children have been closing right and left.
I found one nursery which still had a group for toddlers from 12 to 24 months, just one for the whole Gavan, the part of the city where we lived. This nursery was partially subsidized by one of the largest shipbuilding plants in the town, so I guess that was the reason.
All the nurseries were part of the educational system, and thereby the cost for parents was close to nothing. I can’t imagine what I would do otherwise. To get in, however, you had to collect medical release forms not only from your pediatrician but also from a dozen specialists. Do not ask me why. There was also a waiting list, but not horribly long, I came to talk to their director a couple of months in advance, and we agreed on the start date. My pediatrician was shocked when I told her that I am enrolling Vlad and Anna into daycare. She was telling me how careless I was and how my kids will be sick all the time. I chose to ignore it.
This nursery was a truly unique place. There were 14 or 16 children in the group, which was a tiny number by that time standards, and there was only one teacher, Antie Galya. She was opening at 7 AM and closing at 4:30 PM, but nobody complained about reduced hours. The kids loved her, didn’t cry for parents in the morning, and didn’t want to go home until Antie Galya would switch the lights off and announce: a nursery is closed for today! Somehow she would find the time to do some developmental activities with the older kids, clean the room and the bathroom, toilet-train the smaller kids and even get all of them dressed and playing outside when the weather was nice.
Yes, Vlad and Anna were sick from time to time, but not that often. Yes, the hours were reduced. And, unfortunately, this daycare was closed by January, and we had to find some other place. But having this nursery and Antie Galya was real luck and a real blessing. I was able to start looking for a second job, the one which would pay my bills, not just guaranteeing a pension.
My historical posts are being published in random order. Please refer to the page Hettie’s timeline to find where exactly each post belongs, and what was before and after.