Monday, October 20, 2008

What me? Worry?

When now 16 month old Danny was born, Susanne was able to stay home with him for about the first 7 months and I, of course, did not have a care in the world about his safety and well being.

After 7 months though we knew we’d have to come up with some other option, as Su headed back to work and we totally hit the jackpot when it worked out for Danny to be cared for by our dear friend Jenni. Jenni and her husband Nelson took the same birthing class as we did, and had their first child a few weeks after Danny came along. I cannot possibly express how comforting it has been to know that Danny is with Jenni during the day. She’s awesome with him—nurturing, caring, capable and oh so loving. He has thrived with Jenni and his little playmate Oscar.

So now comes the tricky part. Jenni and Nelson will have their second child in early December. We are delighted for them but of course this means transition. We’ll be starting Danny in a day care center near Su’s job at the beginning of November so Jenni can head into that final month of pregnancy without the added responsibility of an extra toddler every day. We like to think that he’ll eventually go back there but who knows what the future holds? Will it really be manageable to take him back once the reality of life with a newborn in the picture comes to pass? I guess only time will tell.

And how do I feel about all this? Anxious and nervous.

We have visited the place he’ll go and it seems just fine. We actually learned about it from a woman who has her child there, and she and her partner seem very pleased by the care their little one has received. So why do I worry?

At Jenni’s Danny’s been able to stay in his own rhythm. When he’s tired he naps. When he’s playful he plays. He’s got a routine. Everything is comforting and familiar to him.

Now that will change. At the day care center, the children his age take naps on cots in the early afternoon. No morning nap. I don’t know why this saddens me to think that he might be pushed to stay involved in activities if he is really tired. Hopefully he will think everything is great fun and acclimate to his new schedule quickly. But I don’t know.

But I know that for me a huge part of all this is the perfect trust that we have in Jenni. Without a doubt she loves Danny and cares for him from a very loving place. How can the caregivers at this center in any way emulate that? It’s not possible. There he’ll be just another child I think. I just want to sit outside the windows of the place for the first week and watch everything. How he’s treated. How he responds. How he’s really cared for. But that’s not really realistic.

The rest of Danny’s life will be filled with adventures and new schools and new friends. I myself have always loved those kinds of things. I’m the one who ran off and joined the Peace Corps for gosh sakes. Talk about risk and change. And even long before that, I went to a new school every year when I was a kid because the boundaries kept changing for our street. So by the time we hit Jr. High, all the kids who had been at the same school their entire six years were scared and timid. Not me. I already knew everyone. See, I like that kind of stuff. So why am I afraid for Danny to deal with new things?

I wish he were old enough that he could tell us in words about his day, but he’s not quite there yet. So we’ll have to see what we can learn from him without words.

And as I think about my transition concerns I find myself thinking of Jenni’s sweet little boy Oscar. Think about it? His best friend Danny will suddenly not come over any more. So he’ll play, but it won’t be the same. Then in December a new little baby will arrive and his world will turn a bit upside down I’m sure. And you know what? I'm guessing Oscar’s gonna adjust just fine.

Kids. They are more resiliant than I sometimes give them credit for. I'll have to keep that front and center in my mind as Danny starts at this new day care center. -Monica


Stimey said...

Good luck! I'm sure he'll do fine, although you can't beat being taken care of by a best buddy's mom. And one as cool as Jenni seems, at that.

Jenni said...

Can you believe I almost blogged about this very topic today but just couldn't make it sound right?

The truth is, I too worry about Danny going to a new place. What if they make him wear his shoes all day? He hates that. What if they don't notice his dirty diaper for ten minutes? You know how quickly his little bottom gets red. And I can't even tell you how much I'm going to miss seeing the boys smile and crow at each other after they are reunited after each nap. It breaks my heart to think of it.

My guess is that Danny (and Oscar for that matter) will adjust more easily and quickly than we do. But we are going to miss him so much around here, and we are just as hopeful that he will return as you are!

Momma Mikki said...

From one daycare mom to a couple of new ones, the transition isn't as difficult as it appears. Whether it is because they are overwhelmed with it all and forget to be scared, or because the other kids are an easy buffer, it really does work out pretty quickly.

And Danny will never be just one of the pack. Some kids have a special knack for reaching out and touching caregivers. Danny is one of those kids.

The biggest transition, as you pointed out, is for you and Su...and it's a hard one. The reality is that daycare DOES change your child. Sometimes in really good ways and other times no so much. But, with everything, it evens out.

Just watch out...for the first few months, your little guy is gonna pick up every virus that comes through. And they ALL come through.

We're here to support and help in any way we can. We're old hats at the childcare routine...if you ever need any advice, let us know!

Love you, guys!

otrey3 said...

Pep and Su,

Good luck with this! It makes me nervous, too, and I'm not going through it. I'm sure it will all work out in the end. Still. Sigh.

By the way, I thought Harry was the only kid who wouldn't wear his shoes. He likes his new(er) Stridrites, though, and at least doesn't scream when he has to wear them. If he has to wear shoes all day, maybe you could buy a new pair together?

Good luck!