Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Letting Go

We passed a major milestone here, peeps. The Papoose had her first day of "school" on Monday. I keep calling it that - school - and the Husband keeps correcting me. Rightfully so. First day of day care is what she really had. Her first (and second) day without either of her parents all day long.

We'd been looking at different day care centers around here for a while now. We got to a point a few months ago where the Papoose suddenly blossomed socially. She was bored at home with me. The constant refrains of "Go? Go away?" while grabbing her stroller or diaper bag or my keys definitely got the message across. As did diving from shopping carts when she'd see kids in the stores. Or the way she'd run into crowds of children at play areas without a backward glance. The kid was 100% ready for day care. That we knew.

We also knew that I was not ready to return to work yet, so we were looking for something for only two or three days per week. I tell ya, there was one place that we went to visit...we didn't even get out of the car. We didn't even stop the car, actually. Porta-potties across the street, no grass in the just wasn't for us.

We quickly discovered that churches have the best day care centers around here, and we signed the Papoose up for one less than a mile away. There are only six kids in her "class," all 18-24 months old. She has her own cubby and hook, she sits in a little chair at the little table for lunch and snacks, and she sleeps on her own little cot.

She SLEEPS on that thing! I was so sure she wouldn't. How would she ever settle down with so many kids around? I think I underestimated how well peer pressure works. Or how well they wore her out.

I won't lie, the first morning I had to drop her off, there were tears. She was fine at first. They were outside playing on their playground, so I went out there with her, but she seemed to right away know that something was up. They settled her on a swing and I went inside to talk to her teacher, but we were watching her through the window and she eventually wandered over to a corner and was sobbing by herself, and I could see she was calling for me. So I went back out, but she just got more hysterical and when I felt myself breaking down, too, I knew I just had to make a clean break. I told her I loved her and that she would have fun and that I would pick her up that afternoon, and just left, feeling like an idiot for crying.

I headed directly for Ouiser's house. She let me cry and gave me coffee and put me back together. And even her daughter, S, who is NOT a cuddler, seemed to know I needed her help. Ouiser told her, "Can you give Aunt Feathernester a hug? She's sad today," and that child let me hold her and squeeze her and kiss her and cry on her and tell her over and over how much I loved her. Oh yeah, I was pathetic. And S had the patience of Job.

Whatever god is out there was helping me out that day because when I went back to pick my Papoose up at the end of the day, I spied on her through the window in the door for a minute before going in. She was 100% content, playing with a doll, talking to the teacher and to another little girl. I opened the door and she was just on the other side. She backed up to get out of the way and saw my feet first. I saw her face light up as her eyes traveled up and she recognized me and gave me this huge, happy, "Hello!"

Ouiser had to drop her off at "school" the next day for me because I was at a professional conference. The report I got was that there were no tears, no fuss. So we know she's happy there, as we knew she would be.

We're just doing two days per week for now and I am SOOO looking forward to the chance to get some things done. Maybe there will even be more than one post every 10 days or so...


Sarah Berry said...

I'm so happy to get the preschool update - I've been wondering! I'm so happy for you both that it's going to work out so well!

die Frau said...

Oh, mommy! Glad it went well, with just a few tears on both ends. And I'm not surprised at all that you were smart enough to actually leave, unlike the parents who drag it out, making it MUCH worse for the kid in the end (and the daycare staff).

I'm sure it will all go fine!