Tomorrow marks my one year anniversary of becoming a working mom. One year ago I stuffed myself into work clothes (ok fine, I'm still stuffing myself into work clothes) and dropped off my precious baby at daycare. I ran out of the daycare center crying and drove off to my brand new job. To say that the past year has been crazy is a gross understatement.
But this post is not about me (for once). This post is about Leo and daycare. I signed up Leo for daycare when I was about five months pregnant. I just wanted to get it over with. I researched all options and picked a daycare center that I loved.
Leo started at nine weeks old. It was heartbreaking for me. I don't think he noticed all that much.
His teachers quickly became his second greatest cheerleaders (besides me and the husband). They cheered him on as he learned to roll over, sit, crawl, and walk. They worked with me through starting solids, teething, and sickness. They were always there with advice and stories of their own experiences.
And boy was there sickness. Despite their best efforts, the daycare center is a germ factory. Leo has suffered through colds, two fevers, two stomach bugs, pink eye, and an alleged ear infection (I still think it was teething and the doctor was wrong). My world fell apart each time he was sick. It was never anything serious. He always recovered quickly. There was much drama over who would miss work, who could take him to the doctor. Looking back now, I laugh at myself for being so dramatic about it. I never thought I would find myself begging for solid poop so he could go back to daycare and I wouldn't have to miss a third day of work. The one plus side is that a sick baby is a snuggly baby.
When Leo was having a rough day, his teachers were always there with extra love, attention, and snuggles.
I laughed to myself when he brought home all his "art projects." I had no idea I would be hanging such things on my fridge so early but I did.
When I dropped him off, I watched a huge smile spread across his chubby cheeks as he saw his teachers. I swear one in particular can make him laugh in a way that I have never seen duplicated.
At a very early age I watched him engage in parallel play and when he hugged a little girl the other day I just about died.
Leo has been in fulltime daycare for a year. He is happy, healthy, and well adjusted. He is cautious about strangers but quick to warm up to friendly faces. Different environments do not faze him. He is curious and active. He can nap through noise and in broad daylight. I frequently vacuum his room while he is asleep and he doesn't even notice it. Dropping him off is still hard, picking him up is still amazing. I miss him like crazy during the day but I am comforted by the fact that he is in such caring and capable hands.
So to all my daycare mommas out there - I know it's hard and I know people will give you the sideeye and yes, your kid is going to get sick, a lot. But daycare can be such a great place, a source of support, and an environment where your child can grow into an amazing little person. My advice is to research your options and pick the center that meets your standards. You can ask all the questions in the world, but once you walk into the center you will just know if it is right for you and your family. Oh, and invest in a good humidifier. Those are a lifesaver.