Friday, May 11, 2007

I Don't Want to Miss a Thing

We made a decision on a daycare for Millie. It is killing me that I have to leave her. In reality, I should shut my big fat pie hole. She'll be 8 months old when I have to leave her in the hands of strangers, about 7.5 months older than thousands of children when they enter daycare. It's a nice place (and for the price it should be...however, having worked daycare myself I know that quality comes with a price and the staff should be well compensated for the super important jobs they have). They encourage a week of transition time where I stay with her for three full days then drop her off for two half days before she starts full time on her own. That, to me, is a good sign. They encourage parents to linger and see what goes on first-hand. I can always grab Millie like a football and sprint from the building, leaving my giant deposit behind, if I get a bad vibe. But I don't think I'll need to. It was clean, the kids seemed happy, even at 5:15 in the evening (which is more than I can say for my own wee one most nights of the week), and the teachers were all adults without teardrop tattoos on their faces.

Let me qualify that statement. I don't have an issue with teenagers watching children, NOR do I have an issue with tattoos. I babysat from the time I was 11 and worked in daycares through high school. I have a tattoo. However, I visited one center where there was no adult to be found and the "staff" consisted of 4 or 5 young women dressed like Bratz dolls, talking on their cell phones, drinking coffee, talking trash about their baby daddies IN FRONT OF ME. And then there were the two teenage boys working there (if you want to call it that) who looked like they just got paroled, one of whom came screwing into the parking lot and proceeded to almost run us over. Almost all the kids were crying or whining and it was only 9:30 in the morning. Not a good sign. Not really the kind of people I want Millie to be exposed to 40 hours a week.

Still, even if I feel like she's in good hands, they aren't MY hands, or my husband's hands, or the hands of the lovely, Godsend of a babysitter Millie was blessed with over the last 5 months. What if she's scared or tired or sad and I'm not there? They won't know that she loves to be cheek-to-cheek when she's sleepy. What if she falls and no one brushes her off and assures her she's fine? They won't know it's not the huge bangs on the noggin that make her cry; it's the ones that happen when she was almost to her climbing destination that make her the most upset. What if she just wants to be loved and no one has a minute to give her a hug? No one will know that her lip smacks are currently serving as her kisses. What if she's her crazy, yelling, jumping, eye-poking self and the teachers refer to her as the "problem child" and her care is reflective of that? No one will know that we have diagnosed her with "active baby syndrome" or "ABS" with all the love and pride in the world. What if she cries all day long and misses her momma? No one will be able to convince her that I'll be there shortly and that I am 60 miles away missing her like crazy. What if no one sings Do Your Ears Hang Low or If You're Happy and You Know It to make her laugh? No one will know that she loves the "If you're happy and you know it blow a kiss" the best and that clapping too sharply freaks her out. What if they know her day schedule better than I do? What if I miss the first step or the first word or the first dry diaper? What if she loves them more than me?

Okay, let me take a moment to compose myself and stop blubbering.

Cognitively, I know everything will be fine. It will help her to stop being squirrely with people other than me. It will get her used to other kids and a bit of chaos so we don't have an all-out melt down every time we have visitors. It will build her socialization skills. I will drop her off in the morning, she will eat, sleep, play and learn, and my husband will get to be the hero in the afternoon and pick her up. Life will go on. But it is killing me.

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