Realization dawns as the end nears

standard August 20, 2010 5 responses

We’ve been talking about the end of daycare for months now. C has always known that when she started school she’d stop going. She’s always known, but she’s never really understood.

How could she? Every weekday for the last five years I’ve dropped her off at daycare and picked her up nine hours later. When she learned to speak she started referring to the place as home, and it was, to all extents and purposes it has been her second home for that entire time. Her daycare providers have been her extended family, people who have loved her intensely as she’s gone through her infancy, her toddlerhood, her preschool years.  Her daycare friends have been like siblings. They’ve grown up together, day after day.

And now she has to go somewhere new. Somewhere completely foreign. Somewhere without her surrogate siblings. Somewhere without all those loving arms that have known her forever. 

Yes, really, forever. Or at least ever since she was 12 weeks old.

I’ve tried to stifle my own anxieties and mounting sadness about all this. Starting Kindergarten is stressful enough without having to also ponder the disappearance of an entire support system. But next week her closest daycare friends start Kindergarten and so this week there has been a lot of talk at daycare about how it’s all coming to an end.

They even had cupcakes. As if frosting could make the separation easier.

And yet, until tonight, C has been chipper about everything. I made an offhanded remark about how I’m putting them to bed a bit earlier so they can start waking up a bit earlier to prepare for when we’ll be getting up for school. As comments go it was pretty innocuous. I was closing the shutters and I missed her initial expression.

“Then I won’t go to Kathleen’s house any more?” She asked in a really quiet voice. I looked over. Her eyes were filling with tears and her lower lip had started to quiver. It didn’t take long for her tears to spill over and her face to contort into a sad grimace. Only the ringing doorbell stopped my own tears in their tracks.

By the time I got back to their room the moment had passed. She was curled around her lovey, half asleep. I bent down to kiss her and hug her tightly.

“You’ll go back. I promise. You’ll go for vacations and to visit. It’s not really over.” I don’t know who I was trying to comfort more. Me or her.

From one home to the next

standard March 26, 2010 2 responses

Four years ago I stood in front of the door to the daycare we had carefully selected, infant in arms, unable to go in. It killed me to go in and drop off my baby. Not that I really had the choice then. I had to work. I had to send her. But I hated having to let her go.

I had absolute faith in the people I was leaving her with. I knew in my gut they were good people, the right people. What I didn’t trust was that she would still know I was her mom.

If she spent over eight hours a day with other people who loved her and kissed her and fed her and changed her, how would she know I was her mommy? And if I didn’t care for her all day, all the time, how would I be a mommy?

That thought tortured me.

Here was this tiny baby I hadn’t been able to breastfeed and here I was handing her off to someone else to care for her all day long. I wept at the thought that I’d miss all her major milestones.

I was right. The first week she was at daycare she rolled over for the first time.

I was wrong about the rest. She never once stopped thinking I was her mommy. Her face never stopped lighting up when she saw me. And she never stopped reaching for me when she was sick, tired, sad, or even just looking for a hug. As for me, clearly I was no less her mommy because I wasn’t with her all day.

When Little L was born it never crossed my mind that she wouldn’t go to daycare. Even when I decided to work for myself we never considered pulling her out. Daycare was their second home. It was where their friends gathered every day for eight hours of fun and games. Both of my daughters have thrived in this other home. They’ve learned things I could never teach them. They’ve become resilient, caring, funny little people thanks to the care and love they have received there.

In the fall C will go to Kindergarten. She won’t be going to daycare any more. I won’t be taking her to this warm cozy other home every day. And I’m sad about that. Sad that this part of her life is over. I’m hopeful that the school we have so carefully selected for her will serve as yet another home, but it will be different and once again it’s killing me.

I survived. Kinda. I think.

standard January 3, 2009 1 response

The kids have been home with me all week because daycare was closed. Not that they wouldn’t have been home anyway if it had been open, what with the proliferation of snotty, coughy germs around here and everything. I had originally planned a ton of playdates to keep us busy and entertained, but what with said germs we ended up mainly hanging out with just ourselves.

I slept in lay semi-comatose in the early morning while they played in their rooms. We played games, we read books, we did some shopping, went to the mall, and squabbled, squabbled, squabbles, and, oh yeah, squabbled some more.

My usually well behaved girls who get along like a house on fire got into each other’s faces like never before. Hair was pulled, arms were bitten, legs were kicked, and much, much screeching occurred. Mommy’s temper was sorely tried and she may, or may not have lost it a few times. Maybe. Not saying.

Luckily there was also lots and lots of cuddling, hugging, and loving, which is why all three of us are still alive, even if only two of us have almost kicked their germs to the curb. This mama seems to still be as sick as she was last week, with a voice that seems to be heading back for the hills for another stay. And, you know, I’m not saying that the fact that I’m losing my voice and the fact that I was with the kids all week are related, but I am going to say that a) it’s a good thing that it’s the weekend and b) it’s a great thing that daycare is going to be open Monday.

It’s a good thing they’re cute.
Original It’s my life… post.