Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I have this picture on my desk at work.  Actually, Boyfriend does as well-for some reason we both love this picture.  When I'm talking on the phone with a difficult customer, I look over at her cute, grumpy face and it makes me smile, and you know what they say-customers can hear a smile over the phone.

I took this picture on the her first day of daycare.  At that point in her life, with few exceptions-she was able to wake up every morning naturally.  I never had to wake her up in the morning before I left for work, I was always able to just kiss her sweet lips goodbye in the morning.  Our beloved Nanny took over when I left for work, but she was always sleeping peacefully as I made the drive into work.

That morning, I woke her up and she sat up so confused.  I put on her Miss Piggy tshirt and she just sat on the bed confused as to why I woke her up from her peaceful slumber.  I gathered our belongings slowly that morning, knowing that she (and I) would have such an emotionally charged day ahead. I took this picture of her, she immediately turned her head as to say, "No pictures please" and lifted her arms for me to hold her.

I held her closely, breathing in her sweaty, sleepy scent.  I hugged her heavy body to mine and rocked her for a few moments before putting her in her carseat.  Boyfriend and I were incredibly lucky to find an in home daycare less than two miles from our home, and as I drove over I started to feel physically ill-my heart hurt so badly because I knew she was going to be devastated and scared when I left her with not only a complete stranger, but also other children.  Up until that day, she hadn't really played with other kids and always had 100% attention from the adults in the room.

As we walked up our daycare provider's perfectly manicured lawn I could feel Baby starting to get curious and clingy.  The door was opened for us and we walked in, Baby immediately figured out something was about to happen she did not like and started crying.  I gave her the biggest hug I could, kissed her tears away and told her, "Momma loves you very much".  I then ripped her arms away from my neck and placed her into the arms of another woman and walked away as my child was screaming for me.

I got into my car and immediately burst into tears.  I felt so guilty, angry, but mostly just my heart hurt because in that moment I realized that my daughter learned that her momma won't always make her feel safe.  I stopped to get gas on the way to work, still sobbing and had people staring at me.  The thing is-logically, and even emotionally I knew she was fine.  I had the knowledge from my years in childcare that this wasn't going to cause any negative repercussions, in fact-being in daycare was going to be good for her.

During the day, our provider sent me pictures to show me, that in fact she really was doing well.  I saw pictures of her not only sitting next to the kids-but playing with them as well! When I walked in from work that night, she seemed ok-just clingy as I expected.  I thought to myself, "This will be ok."  Then the next morning was much harder than the first.

At this time, despite the fact that she was over the age of two, Baby still was only saying 7-8 words and never stringing two together.   She just didn't really have a reason to, just like all parents we had figured out what it was she needed without verbal communication.  Our morning started much like the day before, but as I was making the walk up to the front door, Baby started whimpering and cried, "I scared".

At that moment, I decided my child was a genius.  Not only could she articulate her feelings-she knew exactly how to pack a punch to her mother's gut.  She started crying heavily before we could even get to the door, I just hugged her tight and walked away.  I didn't cry that morning but my heart was heavy with sadness and guilt.

Over the next few weeks, she went from whining at drop off to literally jumping out of my arms so that she could go play with her friends.  My guilt lessened and I started to enjoy the benefits of her being in daycare.  She was learning new words by the day and in her babble I could hear her say a friend's name often.  Once we knew she loved being at daycare-Boyfriend and I even took advantage of going to a childfree lunch and movie on an unexpected day off together.

Baby has been in daycare for almost a year now and even though the first few days were rough, we couldn't be happier with our choice.  She has made friends, is starting to catch up in her language skills, and learns things we know that she could only be taught while at daycare.  I love asking her when I get home from work and asking her what she did today and she will tell me about what she and her friend did that day.  On the rare occasion I get to pick her up, I love to watch her go to each kid and give them a hug goodbye before she can leave.

Some days it is hard for me that I'm not home more often.  It makes me sad that I can't be there to witness everything.  It makes me feel guilty when I hear her doing something new-counting, singing a song or drawing shapes knowing that neither of her parents taught her that.  Most days though, I am just so thankful.  I'm thankful that we found someone whose passion is children and loves having them with her all day.  I'm thankful for my own mother who fills in when we need her because Baby is running a fever or we can't get off work in time to pick her up. 

One day I will win the lottery, and I won't have to work.  Until then-every day at work as I glance at her pouty lip and glaring eyes I smile knowing that I am going home to kiss that look right off her face. 


  1. I love that picture! How funny it is that the pouty faces are the onces that often make us smile the most :)


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