Baby’s First Day at Daycare

The first time I tried to start my daughter in childcare, she was two months old. I cried just dropping off the check.

But I’m a freelance writer, and Corporation Me has no paid maternity leave. Before I had her, I’d determined that two months was what I could manage. It sounded like plenty.

When that two-month mark arrived, everything was in place. I’d cranked my workload back up to full speed. Roy was back in daycare full time, with a provider I love and trust, where Vera could join him.

But the reality of two months old snuggled in my arms; helpless, adorable little Vera Loraine with the easy smile and the chubby thighs and the excited screeches. If only someone would pay me to cuddle her full time. I’d be awesome at that job.

I brushed my tears off as typical. Reminded myself that some people don’t even get two months and that this was the trade-off for my incredible job flexibility, which allows me to work from home, come and go as I please, and take most Fridays off with the kiddos. “You won’t feel ready no matter when you do it,” my friend Konnie consoled. She was right.

I forged ahead. The night before her first day, as Clint put Roy to bed, Vera and I bustled about the house getting her packed—diapers, bottles, pacifiers, extra little onesies and sleepers. I laid out her first-day outfit, a cute little blue polka-dot swing shirt and stretchy pants with pink cherries embroidered on the chest. I nursed her to sleep, then sat down to write out her schedule and preferred soothing techniques, as my provider requested.

Again, tears. They wouldn’t stop. I just didn’t want to tell someone else how to comfort my two-month old. I wanted to comfort my two-month old.

When Clint came downstairs and saw me he said, “Don’t bring her in. We’ll figure it out.” He was right. The tears were excessive enough that I had to pay attention. We would figure it out.

With Roy, this would’ve been near impossible. The boy only napped twice a day for 45 minutes at a time, if that. Vera, on the other hand, is a champ napper (thank you, universe), sleeping four hours at a time with hour/hour-and-a-half periods of wakefulness in between. I managed to keep up with my full workload during these prolific naps, plus evenings and weekends, gobbling her up like a crazy woman during her brief awake times.

Flash forward a month and a half. The house is a complete and total wreck from top to bottom. Non-essential paperwork is accumulating, and likely becoming essential. We are making it work, but at the expense of things like these, which can only be ignored for so long. We are making it work, but just barely.

A month and a half is a long time to a baby. Vera still sleeps well, though less. She’s wonderfully alert and grows more interactive each day. She’s got cheeks that don’t stop, and at three and a half months old, she’s filling out six-month clothes quite nicely. She’s healthy, happy and strong, and an absolute pleasure to hang out with.

Last night, when I packed her bag, I didn’t cry. I didn’t when I typed up her schedule, either. I did when I dropped her off, of course. Who wouldn’t, handing over those tiny onesies, eensy diapers and wee yellow sunhat? The directions, the bottle of milk and then the little baby chubby cheekers, smiling that wide, toothless grin?

I cried all the way to the gym, where I logged my first 5K since she was born. Running always helps me.

We’re starting with a half day. I’m focusing on how lucky I am that my job’s flexible enough that I can ease us both in like this.

I’ll probably look at that photo above, taken over last week’s trip up north, a hundred times before I pick her up at noon. It makes me smile.

So how did the first drop-off day go for you?


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  1. by Stefanie

    On May 22, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Bless your heart! I’m glad you are able to have a care provider you love and a job that provides a bit of flexibility to help ease into it! I think it’s so sweet that the bond of mother and child can be so strong that it produces tears – might be hard, but such a beautiful thing to love your babies so much!
    I had the opposite problem – I felt horrible and guilty because I didn’t cry when I dropped Royce off the first day…I was happy to have someone else take care of him and me to have some mom time. However, working full time and only seeing him an hour or so in the day changed my mind quick, and we readjusted so I could be home for a greater portion of time with him, except when I’m in class.
    When we had a care provider we didn’t like, that was when it was hard to drop him off – there were tears then, that’s for sure, even though he was 16 months and perfectly safe.
    Blessings to you during the time of transition – and remember she’s in a wonderful place with wonderful people, and it will help you have some time for you:) (Even if it’s just working and cleaning…)

  2. by Meg

    On May 25, 2012 at 12:31 pm

    My daughter has been in daycare since the end of March (she is now 4.5mos old), and I still cry when I drop her off.
    I, too, work from home as a part -time freelance writer; the rest of my time is spent in an office at my “real” job. On the slow days at home when I don’t have much to do as far as work, the guilt of leaving my kids at daycare overwhelms me. But when I am working and making money for my family, I know I am making the right choice.
    It helps to see my toddler son thriving at daycare; he often doesn’t want to leave at the end of the day. He is learning more than I think I could ever teach him, and his social skills are so much better than those of my stay-at-home friends’ kids.
    Remember that you are doing what’s best for you and your family! Enjoy the evenings with your daughter–quality over quantity (I coincidentally posted about this today on <a href="; title="my blog").
    Good luck!

  3. by Berit Thorkelson

    On May 25, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Stefanie, your journey was so different from mine. Glad you’ve found a nice balance now.

    Meg, just read your similar post… I, too, love how much my son gains from daycare that I could never give him. Quality over quantity is right. I’m very protective of our evening and weekend time. Good luck to you, too!

  4. by Eve

    On May 31, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    I don’t know how I missed this post!!

    I hope the first day went well!

    I had such a hard time with the idea of daycare. For some reason, both my husband and I thought our son would come out as a 1 year-old and my work at home-farmer husband could watch him. Once we realized we were wrong, we were in a panic. We had to find a daycare that took infants, ASAP. I googled daycares with in 5 miles of my office. Magically, the church 4 blocks away from my office was opening a daycare. We went into interview them. We asked about cloth diapers, “sure, no problem.” We asked if I could come in 3-4 times a day to nurse, “sure, not an issue.” We started when Milo was 3 1/2 months. I think having the ability to go feed him so much saved me.

    We are going on 2 years and are amazed at how much he has learned. We are now thinking of cutting back his time at daycare and are reluctant. This little church center has done so much for us.

  5. by Nanny Perth

    On November 30, 2012 at 3:34 am

    Usually parents feel hesitate after leaving their child to child care but they don’t know how much their kid is safe there. Nanny Perth take care of all the children at the very best level from early in the morning to the late night until they sleep.

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