the daycare diaries

32 weeks

You’ve started your first full week of daycare, and my heart is a little bit heavy. We had such a great weekend together, the three of us. With the glorious, sweet-smelling weather of nascent spring infusing us with Vitamin D and the longer days allowing us more time to play, it seems like every weekend is intent on outdoing the last. And our little trio is really, really starting to feel like a family; we’ve settled into our routines, and we all seem to know what to expect of each other. You’re interactive and independent, and the difficulties that seemed so insurmountable seven months ago have, for the most part, faded into memories. Life is so sweet.

And then I think about how you’ll spend the  week at daycare, and I’ll spend it cooped up in my office, and I am terribly, terribly sad. Even though rationally, I know that daycare is good for you and work is good for me. I know that I could never be a full-time stay-at-home mom and truly be happy. I know that work time is my adult time; it’s my creative outlet and it is intrinsic to who I am. I actually love my job (if I don’t always love work).

And your daycare is where you’ll grow; it’s so important for you to have that time with your new friends, watching them and learning from them and spending time with people who aren’t Daddy or me or Nonna or Mimi. You’re growing immensely just by adapting to a new environment and doing things differently from the way we do them at home. Ms. Gina, your daycare provider, says you’ve integrated yourself remarkably well for having been with her just three days last week, and even then, you only did one full day, since Daddy picked you up after half a day on Wednesday and I did the same on Friday.

I think my real emotional hangup with daycare is that it feels like it’s marking the beginning of the rest of your life, in which you have to Be Somewhere every day–with routines and schedules and rushing. Here you are, seven months old, being funneled through the system like everyone else. I wish the sweet freedom of having nowhere to be and nothing in particular to do could’ve lasted a little bit longer for you.

The good news is you seem to love daycare. Ms. Gina sends us lots of pictures of you throughout the day, and you are smiling (or sleeping) in every single one of them. The older kids there (you are the only infant, for now) adore you and come running when you get there (says Daddy, who does drop-off) and kind of bounce around us, waiting to say goodbye when you leave. You’ve even already brought home your first arts and crafts project, an Easter bunny made out of paper plates. I took a photo of it to commemorate it.

The other upside is that daycare exhausts you. You could probably easily go down for the night at 5, when we get home. (We wouldn’t dare do this for fear of what might happen on the other side of your full night’s sleep, which would inevitably be at 2 or 3 a.m.) But since you started, you haven’t been giving us any trouble whatsoever about going down for the night, and (fingerscrossedpleasedon’tjinxus) you’ve been sleeping straight through. At least until 5:30. I would do (almost) anything to recoup that half-hour of sleep before the alarm goes off at 6, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers, right?

The downside is our morning schedule, which in turn defines our evening schedule. I have precisely half an hour to get myself washed, dressed, OJed and out of the house once you’ve been fed and I’ve pumped. I have not a spare second in my schedule for something to go off course if I’m to make it to work by 8 a.m. This is so I can finish at the office at 4 p.m. to come pick you up, which is somewhere around 4:45. Getting out of the house by 7:30 requires me to have prepped and packed everything possible the night before, including my clothes, your clothes, my lunch, your food (which often requires chopping, peeling and steaming), pumping equipment, coffee-making supplies, etc. I also have to shower. This leaves very little time, once we’ve put you to bed and eaten dinner, to do anything else (hence, the inconsistent blogging). We’ve even started running the dishwasher nightly (and if you know me, you know that this means desperate times).

But it’s so worth it. I love having the extra time in the late afternoon with you. Yesterday, with temperatures near 80 and that lazy sun warming our skin from low in the sky, I pulled out our new jogging stroller and off we went. You actually squealed with delight when we started moving; you’d never been in a stroller going that fast before. We jogged for the better part of an hour, just around the neighborhood. I felt like a million bucks (less so today); it was the first time in at least 17 months that I’d hit the pavement like that. It must’ve been a sweet ride for you, as you fell fast asleep.

I’m also going to be taking every other Friday off, just to have a full day to spend with you. This won’t last indefinitely, as eventually I’ll use up my leave, but I’ll take advantage of it while I can. I’ll plan something special for us to do on these days–outings to places we can enjoy together. As the weather gets nicer, our options will expand. I can’t wait.

This Week in Guppy Growth

  • You are so close to crawling on all fours (rather than army crawling, which you’ve been doing for what seems like forever). Any day now, I know.
  • You’ve learned how to clap your hands, and you do it so appropriately when you’re particularly happy. You even clap for Daddy and me when we change your diaper.
  • You’ve transitioned to riding in shopping carts (and more often than not, falling asleep in them).
  • During her last full days babysitting you, Nonna took you back to Storyville and to Gymboree for the first time.
  • You eat so many different foods now, I can’t even keep track. This past weekend, you tried Passover matzoh and Easter ham like the good little religious mutt you are.
  • You also went on an Easter egg hunt, met the Easter Bunny (no tears!) and received your first Easter basket from Mimi and Beebee, lucky boy.