Edie's first full day at daycare went remarkably well. It reinforced my belief that my child is amazing, well adjusted and adaptable. She even napped! I was most worried that she would struggle with napping in a group setting, but apparently the whole process of getting the nap mats out and getting "tucked in" with all the other kids was one of her favorite parts of the day. She had one little blip when she woke up and was confused and cried for a few minutes, but aside from that, she had a great day. But when I brought her back the following week, things changed. I'm wondering now if day 1 was a big adventure that she didn't think she'd need to replicate. When she realized it was going to be a regular thing to be abandoned by Mom every Tuesday and Wednesday, maybe she no likey quite so much.
My stress over this adjustment is multiplied by the fact that Edie is *desperate* for attention from me (and no one but me) after coming home from daycare. There is a lot of "Mom sit on your lap PLEASE! Sit on your lap!" accompanied by wailing and much sadness if I'm not able to accommodate the request immediately. And heaven forbid Jeff try to fulfill her needs for a lap to sit on. Because he is not MOM and did you not hear that it was MOM whose lap she needed to "pweeeze sit on!"
Oddly, she never panics when I drop her off at daycare, but soon after, things generally take a turn for the fragile and she begs to be carried and to sit in Jen's lap for much of the morning. The 3 days of daycare that followed (over the course of 2 weeks) were hard. I was really busy with work and every time I'd drop her off, I'd think, "This is the day!" but then I'd return at 4:45 to pick her up and I could just tell by how excited she was to see me that she'd really missed me. And all this isn't to say that I don't want her to miss me. I suppose it would be a bit sad if I was so easily replaced by a stranger. But it made me feel guilty. And sad for Edie. I even wondered if I'd done her a disservice by not putting her into daycare earlier - all these kids that get plunked into daycare while still infants don't know any better and never have to make the big adjustment I was foisting upon my child now. But then my friend Darrah kindly said to me that if there was anything to NOT feel guilty about, it's that I've spent the last 2 years raising my own child. It's so easy for me to get all up in my head about this sort of thing, that when she said that, it was sort of like, "Oh. Oh yeah, I shouldn't feel bad that I took care of my kid."
All of this has just raised questions for me though. I'm not going to lie - I even toyed with the idea (very briefly) of pulling Edie out and just going back to the SAHM lifestyle. But the truth is, I'm enjoying working some. It's an interesting balance doing halfsies, but we're figuring it out. It was really silly of me to think that it would all just hammer itself out with no adjustments necessary. Edie never has a hard time being dropped off at friends and families' houses, including for overnights, but this is really different and it was unfair of me to expect that she wouldn't need some time to adjust. I hope to write a separate post about how work is going and this new collaborative lifestyle Jeff and I are leading - my whole life I've only ever worked what my friend Heidi calls "jobby jobs" (which Blogger really wants to autocorrect to Hobby Jobs). And now Jeff and I are both largely working from home - hustling for work and making money on a project basis. It's worth it's own post to explore further some thoughts I've had about this stage in our life.
But to wrap up my thoughts, worries and hopes for daycare: My daycare provider has been great. She sent me the sweetest email last Tuesday assuring me that everything is going to be fine. This may just be testament to my current emotional state, but it actually brought a tiny tear to my eye. Which I hastily wiped away because - I have to maintain my Heart of Stone status, right??
Jen reminded me that because Edie is only doing 2 full days per week, this adjustment is just going to take longer (as opposed to one painful week of full-time immersion). She has a few ideas that she plans to implement this week and I have hope that they will work. The day after she sent me that email, Edie went back to Jen's house and my Mom picked her up right before nap time to take her to Bellingham for 3(!) nights at Grandma and Grandpa's house. I was working crazy hours with 2 events last week and Jeff can't afford to take that kind of time off midweek to care for Edie during the day. Thank god for Grandparents! Jen supposedly told my Mom that Edie had a great morning on Wednesday, so I'm really hopeful that we are currently rounding the corner and maybe tomorrow really will be "the day". Cross your fingers for us.