Wild Thing

Yesterday as I walked through the doors of Nellie’s daycare, I was not prepared for the fact that my curly-headed tot had been replaced. I entered her classroom and much to my surprise, my spunky little girl had morphed into something completely different. It was not my Nellie who ran over to me as I walked through the door. I was instead greeted by a wild, blue, furry monster! This toddling mass of blue fuzz was so adorable,  I couldn’t resist and ended up taking her home. I mean, really.. How could I have said no?

 

 

You can go ahead and carve it on my tombstone:
Natalie G.
Killed by Cute.

 

 

Adventures in Daycare: Day One.

Yesterday was Nellie’s first day of “school”. We’re calling it school to kind of get her used to the term and the concept, and her daycare does a lot of teaching so it just seems appropriate to call it school.

I had planned on getting here there by 8:00 so she could eat breakfast, but when 7:45 A.M. rolled around and my little boo was still sleeping, I figured that breakfast at school was a bust. I ended up waking her up around 7:50, getting her dressed, feeding her and off we went.

She was shy at first and didn’t want me to put her down. She clung to me like a little monkey until I brought her by the toys when she squirmed and declared, “Down. Down!” I put her down and let her play with a little toy keyboard they had while I chatted with one of her “teachers”. I told her I was going to put Fox back in her diaper bag and she started whining and ran over to me, throwing her arms around my legs.

Uh oh.

I took her with me to put Fox away, to sign her in for the day and then hung around her for a few more minutes while she played. Each time I mentioned that I was going to have to leave, she started to whimper and hug my legs. Before long, I really did have to go so I scooped her up and hugged her. She buried her face in my neck and wrapped her arms around me as tight as she could. Feeling like my heart was breaking, I gently pried her off me and smiled brightly at her. I told her how much fun she was going to have today, that Mama would be back later and handed her over to one of her teachers. She started to cry hard with big fat tears running down her cheeks. Every Mama instinct in me cried out, “GIVE HER BACK! GIVE MY BABY BACK!” I was tempted to grab her and run out the door and never look back, assuring her that Mama would never ever leave her again. Hope you like rooming with your Mama at college, Nellie.

I didn’t do any of those things. I smiled at Nellie and said bye bye, and forced myself out the door. As I walked away I heard her cries and my heart broke just a bit more.

I held out until around lunchtime before I called school and asked how she was doing. The woman who answered checked, and assured me that she had been doing really well and had been playing all day. I felt better, but Nellie had yet to encounter her first naptime her new environment.

When I went to pick her up, I walked into her room and she had her back to me. “Nellie,” I said to her. She didn’t turn. “Neeeeellliiieee,” I repeated, smiling. She turned to face me. A huge smile broke out on her beautiful little face and she ran to me. I grabbed up my baby girl and hugged her tight.
“MAMA.” she declared, pointing at me.
“Mama,” I agreed with a smile and a kiss.
I collected her daily report and talked with her teacher briefly. Nellie played hard, ate a little lunch and only napped thirty minutes. Not a terrible day considering it was her first, but hopefully today she will nap longer. I know it’ll take some getting used to, napping in this new place.

So both Nellie and Mama survived the first day of “school”. Let’s hope that today will be easier on us both.

Nellie’s first day of “school”. Pardon the quality; cell phone picture.

As a matter of fact, if you’d like to see some way better pictures of Nellie plus her adorable and awesome friend “Ee-um” (and also read an awesome blog), check out Michelle’s amazingly sweet post about her summer watching Nellie here.

To Daycare We Go

We’ve been lucky in that since I returned to work last May, Nellie’s caretakers have been either family or close friends. In the beginning, we alternated between my mother in law and Josh (he worked 12 hour shifts and had days off in the middle of the week). That worked out well until Josh’s Nana got sick, and my MIL had to drop out as caretaker for a while.

Then Josh lost his job, and pretty quickly got another one but this time it was a Monday through Friday, 7 to 3:30 gig. Which left us with my mother in law, who could only watch her about two days a week. Luckily, my friend Michelle stepped in and agreed to watch Nellie three days a week. I was excited for Nellie to have someone with such great experience with kids watching her, plus she’d have the added bonus of a playmate in Michelle’s son Liam.

Things worked out pretty well despite the fact that I wasn’t getting a lot of hours in at work. As tends to happen when you rely on people and not facilities to care for your children, I had to miss days of work for sickness, doctor’s appointments, prior engagements, etc and as a result my paychecks were light. We put Nellie on a few daycare waiting lists and the other day, one called and told us there was an opening. I excitedly set up an appointment for the very next day (I was off work anyway) and Nellie and I headed down in the morning to check the place out.

I stayed with Nellie for a while in her classroom until it was time to fill out paperwork. She played with the other kids while I signed the necessary forms a hundred and eighty times, ate lunch with the kids and then we headed home for a nap. As I watched her interact with the other children I realized that she has a lot to learn. Nellie’s not used to having to share time and attention with that many other children, and she’s also not used to a day so structured. She’s going to have to learn to share her toys, to let others play with her, and to interact with other children. She’s going to have to learn to sit still when she’s eating (a habit we have not enforced at home; we let her roam when she eats) and is going to need to cooperate when it’s time to wash hands, sit for a drink, lay down for a nap.

I’m excited but I’m nervous. Not for her safety but for the transition. It’s a big change not only for her but for myself and Josh as well. I’m entrusting her to people I don’t know for the first time. Not only that, but the atmosphere of this daycare is very school-like, so enrolling her here feels suspiciously like her first steps toward preschool, kindergarten, etc. Which makes me all sorts of teary-eyed when I think about it. Right now it’s just labeled sippy cups, diapers and blankies to worry about but before I know it it’ll be pencils, backpacks and crayons.

Just another part of the constant process of letting go that begins with that cord being cut, I guess. *sniff*