Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The scary transition to daycare

One of the big changes we've been dealing with because of our move has been the transition to daycare for the Pepper. We had planned to get her into daycare in Los Angeles ages ago, but we were at the mercy of a long wait list. This ended up being wonderful in a lot of ways because it meant she had more time with our wonderful nanny. And I'm grateful we found a way to make that happen for as long as we did. But it also meant the Drew had to do more childcare during the day than was ideal and we consequently didn't have as much time as a family together. Plus, especially over the last few months we've all felt that the little one could use a little more stimulation. So we were excited to have her start daycare once we made the move. We did research and selected a great daycare with farm animals and a garden and wonderful outdoor space. It seemed to be a nurturing and exciting place and we felt good about it. Until we actually had to send our daughter there.

We knew we wanted to make it as smooth of a transition for her as possible. She's such an open and trusting little girl we didn't want to scare her to the point where she would loose any of that. Luckily our nanny came up with us for a few days and actually went to the daycare with her for the first day and then slowly spent less and less time there. I think this really helped the Pepper get comfortable with the environment and the new schedule. By the end of the week were were so happy because it had gone better than expected! The nanny didn't have to spend any time there at all the last day and there was no crying or anything. It felt like a huge success. And a lot of it I credit to the primary daycare worker Ms. Barbara. The Pepper connected with her instantly and was even talking about her in the evenings. She seemed excited to see her new friends in the morning. We were feeling relieved.

One thing that surprised me was how I emotionally felt about the change. I wasn't expecting to feel so sensitive about it. But the first day that my husband went to drop her off she grabbed her lunchbox and her sunglasses, blew me a kiss, and confidently walked out the front door. Oh my goodness. My baby was gone. She didn't need us anymore. She was a big girl now. Such a milestone. So proud of her but man I feel the loss of the end of the baby era. And I miss having her around during the day. But, the only constant as a parent is change and I'm starting to get used to the new routine.

We felt so good after the first week but the second week was a bit harder. They warned us that kids have a honeymoon period where the newness is enough to keep them engaged and excited. But the second or third week they realize that this is the new routine and they may have some feelings about that. I think that definitely happened last week. She was feeling more clingy and sensitive than usual. She would cry when her dad dropped her off at daycare in the morning. He was attentive to it and often stayed with her for a bit to help her make the transition, and he always hid and watched from afar for a a bit after he "left" to make sure she was ok after he left. She apparently always stopped crying after a couple minutes which tells me she was just trying to tell us she didn't want daddy to go and that she was actually ok and wasn't really scared or anything. And when I picked her up in the afternoons she seemed happy to see me but not upset and it seemed like she'd had a great day. Even though we know things were ok and that she was doing well, it was hard to see her upset last week and struggling with the transition. Not the easiest week. We definitely had moments of doubt.

We are now on the third week and it's night and day to last week. Yesterday was her first day back after the weekend and she was ready to go in the morning. She was talking about Ms. Barbara after breakfast. She was pointing at the door. She was ready. And my husband dropped her off with no tears or whining. Today was much the same. So I'm hoping we're over the hump. Daycare is a good thing for her I think. She is very social, she likes stimulation, she enjoys engagement, and she gets all that at her daycare. And thank goodness for Ms. Barbara. Thank goodness.

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1 comment:

  1. So glad you found a good spot for you daughter! Thanks for your comment on my HuffPost article today! I really appreciate it.