Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Daycare Dropoff Day #1

Yesterday was Emily's first day being dropped off at daycare.

The way our center works is that once a child is registered, she gets 2 "transition" days before starting full time.  Friday was our first transition day, which meant that Shep and I brought Emily in for a 45 minute visit.  During this time, she got to play with some new toys and meet some new friends while we filled the teachers in on important tidbits about Emily's habits and behaviors and gave them caregiving instructions.  Overall, it was a pretty successful visit, except that we found out the head teacher (and one of the main reasons why we chose this center) was out on vacation until mid-January, and Emily fell and bunked her head on the floor while trying to stand up against one of the jumpers.  :(

Over the weekend I was a wreck about this big change.  What if they didn't watch her closely enough and she fell and hit her head again?  What if she refused to sleep or drink milk at daycare?  We've been unsuccessful at introducing her to a bottle over the past 7 months..... what makes me think that daycare can get this done in a matter of hours?  And sleep.... fuhgettaboutit.  This child despises sleep.  It takes a large part of every day for me to get her to nap for 30-45 minute segments (sometimes taking 20 minutes to get her to fall asleep for each nap!), and I know they don't have that kind of time to spend getting her to nap.  I spent most of Sunday with my stomach in a knot and tears streaming down my face.  My little baby was growing up way too quickly.  To date, I've only spent a grand total of less than 20 hours away from her over her entire life and now she is going to daycare 3 days a week.  Naps and bottles aside, I didn't know how she'd react to being without her Mommy or Daddy in a new environment.

I knew I'd cry if I took her in, which would only upset her; not to mention make me look silly.  So, we decided that Shep would drop her off in the morning, and I'd plan to pick her up 3 hours later.

After all the stressing, it turns out that at least the first day was a lot harder on me than it was on her. Shep called me immediately after dropping her off, and said that she went right to playing with toys and didn't cry at all when he left her.  Well that was a good start!  So I did all I could to distract myself for the 3 hours -- first I got lost in some new mom support forums while I ate some cereal; then I put together a "simple" chili recipe in the crock pot (which took me forever because I both suck at and hate cooking!); and then I treated myself to what was meant to be a super long shower including washing my hair and shaving (gasp!), only to come out and find that what felt like an hour long shower lasted only 15 minutes!  But, the good news is that by the time I blow dried my hair and got dressed, it was time to go pick her up!  The 3 block walk to the center was especially quick; I had a spring in my step due to excitement to go see my little girl!

When I got there I spotted her right away and smiled at her, and she didn't smile back but instead looked a little confused -- perhaps wondering what I was doing there or where I appeared from?  I put out my arms to take her from the day care teacher and for a split second she turned her head away from me to the teacher's shoulder (which she does a lot when I'm holding her and someone else comes over to see her). I guess that means that she was comfortable there, which is a good sign!   But then she quickly smiled and reached for me, and holding her in that minute was the best part of my entire day, and erased all my worries away.  I was just so happy to see her.  Even though the 3 hours went by quickly on the one hand (I didn't get a chance to get the laundry or dishes done that I had hoped to do!), it seemed like forever since I'd held and hugged her.

To my incredible surprise (and Shep's great suspicion), she supposedly even took a 50 minute nap at daycare!  This is actually on the longer side of naps that she takes at home, and I was fully expecting her report to show no naps at all, so it was quite a shock to hear!  The teacher said that she fell asleep in the bouncer/rocking chair (which I can believe since she was up most of the night before and was exhausted for sure) and they transferred her to the crib from there.  She woke up when they laid her down (which is typical for her), so the teacher picked her up and rocked her a little bit in her arms to get her back to sleep.  I don't know how long it took the teacher to get her back to sleep, so she likely didn't sleep that whole 50 minutes, but for the first day it's not bad at all.  My only worry is that the teachers have told me they're not supposed to rock the babies to sleep, so I'm not sure how long they will continue to help her in this way.

They also tried to give her some pumped breast milk, which was very minimally successful. 2.5 oz were missing from the bottle I'd sent, but some of that was on the shirt they changed her out of and sent home with me, so I'm not sure exactly how much she actually drank.   The teacher guesstimated 1-2 oz.  First they tried a bottle, which she wouldn't take. Then the teacher tried spoon-feeding her a little bit.  And then finally they used the sippy cup.  This is the area I'm now most concerned about. Today I am going to leave her there for 4-5 hours, and hopefully that will get her hungry enough to use the bottle or sippy cup.  Unfortunately, my office is too far away for me to go to nurse her during lunch so I really hope she learns the sippy cup or bottle in the next 3 days or I'm going to be a mess next week when I go back to work and have to leave her there for 8 hours without eating.   :(  There are still a few more days this week for those daycare baby whisperers to work their bottle-feeding magic, so I'm not giving up hope just yet.  I will be crossing my fingers and holding my breath that she learns to drink.

In the meanwhile, I'm just so relieved that her first day went as smoothly as it did!  I snapped this photo of Emily on the walk home.  A picture is worth 1000 words, and it looks to me like she had a pretty good first day!

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