Day 2 of gradual entry into daycare was rough. Here’s how the rest of the week went:
After a tearful day 2, I had a little chat with a friend who had already gone through the process. She gave me some advice, “Don’t doddle. Make goodbyes short and sweet. Just like ripping off a bandaid.” I did just this at drop off on day 3. I handed my daughter over to the teacher, said, “goodbye, I love you” and walked away. She started crying immediately, but I kept on walking. Unlike day 2, I was free to leave the facilities since they already had all our completed paperwork. The plan was for my daughter to be there alone for 3.5 hours.
I actually got a lot done during those hours away from my daughter. I didn’t want to stray too far from the daycare, so I went to the mall, not just to wander around aimlessly for I had missions to complete. Shopping trips these days now involve looking for stuff for baby or other people’s babies. The first mission was to find non-slip shoes for daycare. Why is it so hard to find shoes for babies? And why do they need them anyway if they don’t walk? The second mission was to find a gift for a kid’s birthday party we’re attending this weekend. And the last mission was to find new work clothes. But why do I need new work clothes anyway? Is it so bad to wear the same clothes if you still fit them and there’s nothing wrong with them? But I digress. Aside from the last mission, the trip to the mall was a success. Shoes and pjs for baby check. Present for kid’s party check. I even had time to get some grocery shopping done and made some phone calls and lunch dates with my supervisor and work colleagues.
I called the daycare about an hour and a half after I left her. They said that she was crying on and off and didn’t eat much at breakfast (maybe due to discomfort from bowel movements). When I called she was napping. Apparently, she went down easily. I guess my sleep training helped. When I returned, the kids were being served lunch. I could hear my daughter crying and complaining as I walked toward the classroom. She was in a highchair, not wanting to eat anymore having already eaten quite a bit, according to the teacher. When she saw me, she cried and immediately wanted out of the highchair to be in my arms. The teacher assured me that the crying was normal and that she’d seen worse. Apparently they’d previously had a child that cried non-stop for 6 months. Yikes! After a few tears and cuddles, my daughter was herself again, smiling and waving goodbye to everyone.
As I left the daycare, a few things crossed my mind:
- I thought how much trust you have to put into complete strangers when you leave your child with them. Did she really just cry on and off or did she cry the entire time? Did she really eat? I guess I just have to take their word for it.
- Did I not do enough to prep her for this transition? Is she naturally more clingy or did I make her that way? Did I not take her out enough to socialize with other people and babies? Was mother goose, story time and swimming once a week not enough?
- I hope that she will never forget that….
My husband dropped baby off on his way to work so that I wouldn’t have to drive back and forth 4 times. She was to be there from 9am to 2:30pm. Since my husband dropped her off, I didn’t have to rush to get ready and was able to squeeze in some cuddles in bed with baby before they left. With my morning free, I was able to spend some quality time with my fur baby. 🙂
When I called to check in, they said she again cried on and off after daddy dropped her off, but she enjoyed the cream of wheat breakfast and had a long morning nap. She did much better in the afternoon after eating a bit of lasagna for lunch and drinking some milk. She was actually playing quietly on her own they said. Even after hearing this, I was anxious. My tummy was uneasy like I was about to poop my pants. This was the feeling I got before I left the house to go pick her up. What would I find?
I was 30 minutes early. To my shock, when I walked into the building, it was quiet. As I walked toward her classroom, I was not greeted with sounds of her cries. Could there be light at the end of the tunnel? She was, as they said, playing on the ground by herself. She was fine. Fine, until she saw me. The moment she saw me, she started to cry. She wanted me. She cried and screamed hysterically on the car ride all the way home. I forgot to bring snacks to make the ride more enjoyable. She normally doesn’t like being strapped in and me not being next to her after a long day apart made the ride even worse. Not even my tone deaf singing was able to calm her down. She just wanted to be held.
Day 5 of gradual entry was to be the longest. She was to be there from 9am to 4pm. She was not happy to get into the car seat in the morning. Did she know where we were going? Unlike yesterday, singing helped. I cycled between wheels on the bus, twinkle twinkle little star, itsy bitsy spider, slippery fish and you are my sunshine over and over again.
Before I left her in the classroom, I saw that sad little girl from day 1. She was upset again, so I smiled, said hi and asked her how she was doing. She said quietly, “miss daddy”. 🙁
Once again, baby cried when I said goodbye and walked away. Funny enough as she was crying, she was also waving bye bye to me at the same time. Silly girl. I guess that’s an improvement.
I waited until after lunch to call to check up on her. Boy did the time pass slowly. Every time I looked at the clock, only 30 minutes had passed. It is so weird being home without her. So quiet. I had to keep myself busy cleaning and getting ready for my return to work. I packed up some baby things we no longer needed (breast pump, clothes and toys she’s outgrown) and did some re-organizing of my closet.
When I called, they told me that she was crying on and off more today than the other day. She had an hour nap in the morning and didn’t eat much lunch (none of the kids did apparently because lunch was egg sandwich). She wasn’t even happy to play in the sandbox, which she usually likes to do. Why was she extra upset today? Was it because I had dropped her off instead of dad? Like the day before, she was much better in the afternoon. She had some one on one time with the teacher while the other kids were napping and they had a pretend tea party. When I picked her up, she had just woken up from a long afternoon nap. I guess it’s a good thing that she comfortable enough to able to sleep there.
So, that’s was the last day of gradual entry. The week was full of ups and downs. Baby still cries on and off while there by herself. It’s not like she never cries at home. So why am I so hung up on the fact that she cries on and off at daycare? I guess it will take some time for her to adjust. Hopefully, not 6 months.
Ready or not, I go back to work next week and she will be doing full days in daycare. Wish us luck!