This is quite a week of anniversaries of milestones in my life - two years ago today, Jane started at daycare. I know to some people, this would be no big whoop, but that was truly one of the most traumatic days of my life. I looked back at what I was writing two years ago on this blog, and here are some excerpts:
Everyone tries to make me feel better about these things - obviously babies don't have real schedules anyway, and of course other babies spit up a lot and have reflux and weird sleeping habits - I just don't want her going in being the strange baby that no one wants to take care of because she has issues.
Daycare starts this week. I am heading there after her nap this morning to drop off all of her stuff and to go over their procedures. I have bought new clothes for myself that actually fit right. I have filled out a million forms. We are as ready as we can be, at least with all of the stuff. But inside, I feel like my heart is breaking.
I have all sorts of questions. Will she know that I'm her mom when I pick her up at the end of the day? Will she take her first steps and say her first words at daycare? What will I miss? Will she change during the day, so when I pick her up eight hours later, she's not the same? Is this OK? Will she be OK? Will I be OK?
I gotta tell ya, this kills me to read, because it brings me right back. God, it was so hard for me to go back to work. And I am a person who had not a single doubt that I would go back to work. But, wow, once you have that kid, it beats the hell out of anything you ever expected parenthood to be. And bringing her to daycare just ripped me to shreds.
I wish I could talk to this person who was so scared, and tell her that, yes, everything - daycare, Jane, me - would be OK. That Jane would not only be OK, but would thrive at daycare, and her teachers would love her so much they would cry when she left their rooms. I wish this person would know how much she would become attached to Jane's teachers as well, women who have Jane's surrogate mothers during the work day.
This new mom should also know that I ended up deciding that her firsts ONLY happened at home. It didn't count if it happened at daycare. It only counted if I was there, preferably with a camera in hand.
This new mom should know her baby NEVER forgets who her mom is, and will plow down a row of kids just to get to her at the end of the school day.
Daycare is NOT all roses and loveliness. Jane gets sick. A LOT. This is not a shock to anyone who has read this blog even super-casually. She has also gotten bit at daycare, a couple of times. I have had other issues as well, not the least of which is the enormous check I write out each month. She had a terrible time transitioning into her new room earlier this fall, and it was so heartbreaking to hear her screaming for me as I left the building each morning. There were about three weeks this fall that, whenever I dropped her off, I sat crying in the parking lot, wondering what the hell I was doing with my life and to my family, and had to compose myself before I drove off.
BUT. I know she's getting so much out of it now. I see her language and social skills developing in a way I know I can attribute to all this time she spends with these other children. As an only child, I think it's super-important for her to have this time with a diverse group of kids and caretakers.
So yes, two years later, I can say everything is OK.