Today was your first day of childcare. I was nervous, nervous, nervous Nellie. For no specific big reason. But for many small reasons. Happy and sad at the same time. I thought I was good with it all (mostly) until I left the centre. And realised that this is the first time I’ve ever left you in the care of total strangers. Yes, I’ve left you lots of times before. But never with someone who isn’t family, or good friends, who I trust and know well enough to be able to understand how they’ll look after you.
And I cried. Yes, I cried. Thankfully work was a bit busy this morning so I had something to take my mind off it. And your Aunt3 (G) came with me when I dropped you off, so I had someone to give a big hug to as I cried. Real tears, for a few minutes.
Yes, yes, I did all the right things before hand. Your Aunt R1 looks after you two days a week at the moment so that I can work, but she isn’t sure what she is going to do later in the year, and I am working, so we need a little certainty that you have someone to look after you. So we knew this was coming at some stage… So we did some research and enrolled you a few months ago. But the centre isn’t our first pick – it’s not the one your cousins and other close friends go to because although we got a spot there last year, another one hasn’t ever come up (despite the fact I put your name on the enrolment list the day after I found out I was pregnant – yes, in-demand and good childcare centres really are hard to get into in Australia’s current baby boom). So it’s our second best option, one that others I know send their kids to and think is good. You and I (and your dad a couple of times) went there about 5 times before you started, checking it out and seeing what the staff are like and the general atmosphere and the way the kids interact with the staff and the activities and the philosophy in practice. And all those important things. But today was still hard. For me. And I think a bit tough on you.
I’m still really stressed about the whole thing, tonight, even though I tried to relax. I think one of the hardest things was that the centre only just opened to babies this week (previously they started at min. of 15 months). So basically every child in the room you’re in (max of 8 to 2 carers) is new to the centre and childcare. And the centre isn’t used to babies. And though both the carers have worked with babies before, I think it has been a little while. So as you can imagine, I think it will be a bit of mayhem for at least a few weeks while everyone and everything adjusts. Not the ideal environment to try to get you used to it all in, so it just added to my stress a little.
It went OK today. Not great, but OK. I dropped you off at about 9:00am and stayed until about 9:30 settling you into the room, playing a game with you and another boy and S, one of your carers. Then I said goodbye and left. You were almost ready for your morning nap, so I was hoping you’d have a little play then go to sleep.
I phoned a few hours later and you’d just woken up. So I left you a bit longer as I wanted you to have some play time. I went to get you around 2, and stayed for 1/2 an hour, reading books and giving you some food. I wanted you to be comfortable in the room and know I was comfortable there too, so you don’t just feel it is a space where your mum never is, rather feel that it is a space that we can hang out in and have fun too. ….
Anyway, it was all ok, a few minor things about not quite adjusting stuff to your routine, not realising that you feed yourself (so you were kinda really hungry when you got home as I imagine you refused mushy baby vegetables/food from a spoon which is I think what they tried to feed you at lunch), and not settling you for sleep the way we do (consequently your were crying in your cot with someone comforting you when I arrived to pick you up). Yes, these things bothered me, cause we did go through all this with the staff last week and we left a detailed list of routine, stages of development, eating habits etc.. But I didn’t say / do anything apart from talk to the staff about the feeding (as I was there for the afternoon snack) as I think I just need to let it all settle for a few days and just observe. It’s a big learning curve for all and it’s obvious that the staff care and are committed and trying hard – I think 8 new under 13 month kids in a room would test anyone.
So. You were exhausted as your morning nap wasn’t great and I expect the change shocked you quite a bit, so we had a nice play and some book reading when we got home. And you went very quietly and happily to bed tonight.
Now I just need to unwind somehow, and get ready to do it all again on Friday.
I love you. my big childcare boy.