And so, with a lot of apprehension, anxiety, and excitement, we made up our mind that little R had to start daycare, given the situation that I started work. The daycare is affliated to my work place and I have a video surveillance access to her class and I can watch my child at any given time. Despite all these luxuries that any top rated daycare can provide, it was a huge step that both little R and us as parents were taking.
Even though I started work almost 6 months ago, in the back of my mind I knew she was happy and well taken care of by her loving grandparents. Trusting a 3rd person with your child is a whole different ball game! We zeroed in on this daycare for a number of reasons and we were on a waiting list for almost 4 months before we were confirmed.
We initially started only 2 days a week, for the first month to help her transition slowly. One of the many nice things about this place is that I could go and sit there for as long as I wanted, as many days as I wanted, until the child is comfortable. That appealed to me.
The first day was fun. Little R and I played together, explored all the new toys in her class, interacted with the teachers together, ate by the little table along with the other toddlers and participated in the circle time (song/dance) together. Little R thought that it was a fun place to be and I was convinced that the care takers took good care of all the children there. After a couple days of break, when we returned to school, only this time I waived goodbye after spending an hour with her, it dawned on her that she had to stay at the daycare AWAY from her parents! And thats when she started bawling, she clung to me, and refused to even go inside. One of the hardest things to do after labor is to drop the child off on that first day of school. Heart wrenching as it is, it is the first step towards letting go. But some part of you becomes stronger when you do it successfully.
The handful of days that she went to the daycare in the first month, both little R and I cried like there was no tomorrow and I debated with myself as to why I was sending such a little child to a daycare when I had the luxury of being with my mom till I was almost 4! It just seemed so unfair for her..
But something changed overnight! The second month onward, we started sending her fulltime, all 5 days a week. And right from day 2 of the second month, there was no more crying. Just like that, a bawling toddler had turned into a happy child. When I waived goodbye, she waived back and said “Amma, see you in the evening”. At that very moment, my little baby had taken the first step towards growing independent! Tears rolling down my face, I waived back without being able to utter a single word back. I gave her a big hug and a kiss and reassured that her Amma will be back soon. On my way out, I did the happy jiggle and everyone around knew that it was the day my child welcomed the daycare.
In a matter of 1 month, little R has learnt how to self feed, sleep by herself when she is sleepy, has opened up to her teachers, has made friends in her class and her linguistic skills have increased exponentially. Thats a LOT of development in 1 month!!!
Now a days, she has even started narrating incidents from her day. Our bedtime stories are all about the made up stories from her daycare. She happily asks for me to narrate her “Payhome Tathe”!
My heart is full 🙂