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*




  1. We had to make th choice to send our lil one (7months now) to daycare from the beginining when I returned to work at 3 months. I was so scared. I wanted stay home with her.etc.

    The place where we take her is very “school like” in fact its called “Mini University” (it’s on campus at the univeristy I work at). I was so nervous about it all.

    Now, 4 months later. It’s amazing how excited my 7month old gets when she sees her “friends” in the morning. She even favors one little boy to play next to on the floor. If I have to work, I’m pleased with the care they are providing and for the things she is learning while she is there. It obvious when we are around friends with kids her age how interested she is in them.

    Anyway, my point is. Once you feel comfortable with the place you are taking her…(it takes awhile). Hopefully, the experience will be great. And Nellie will make friends learn all kinds of things we can’t teach them at home about playing with other kids and sharing. Because, I never make Presley share her toys with me at home :-)

    Good luck. Keep us posted on how it’s going.
    Jessica recently posted..Seriously

  2. Nellie’s vocabulary is about to explode. That’s what happened to my boss’s son. He was 2 when he started daycare (which we all refer to as “school”). Within days he was speaking full sentences and he had all sorts of things to talk about. We were all pretty blown away.

    She’ll have a blast!
    Megan B recently posted..I am a MACHINE!

  3. sadly, we didn’t have family or friends as an option to watch mine so she’s a Daycare Baby through and through- been going since she was 9 weeks old! it was SO HARD for me (not really her) and took me about a year to fully accept it all but the thing is that she’s SUCH an amazing little kid and i’m POSITIVE that a lot of it has to do with all the things Nellie’s gonna have to get used to. and she will. and it will be much quicker transition on her than you. 😉 hang in there though. this is a good, good thing.

  4. It will be ok! They learn so much!!!!
    Roses daughter recently posted..My Life

  5. The fact that Nellie was cool with playing with the other kids is already a good sign. Mittens has been in daycare since she was 3 months old so it’s just part of the routine. Be prepared for the onslaught of colds and viruses, though. One of the joys of being around other kids.
    shasta recently posted..You Birthed Me – Please Like Me

  6. Marie Joy says:

    Great post!I realized need to learn. Nellie’s not used to having to share time and attention with that many other children.i felt good when i am with my kids its just a break from my work i love to play with kids and have a good laugh.just my opinion…
    Marie Joy recently posted..Rough Times In My Life

  7. Just because you see her less, doesn’t mean you have to feel like you’re letting her go already. It’s just means that the time she spents with you is that much more special and meaningful. So you can give her your full attention.
    Alice recently posted..Obvious Signs of Too Much Debt

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