With two days of day care under our belts, I think I am safe to say things are fine. Even good. Even really good.
We were braced for a tough, tough transition for Ingrid and some disequilibrium may still be ahead, but so far it is absolutely, eerily 180 degrees different from the first week she was at Chaotic Bilingual Day Care. We have done a bit more preparation for it this time. (The teacher came to play with her at our house. Twice. And made her a book about what her day would be like there. Are these people completely on top of things or what?) And, who knows, maybe being three months further into life with little sister made the transition somewhat easier. But mostly I feel ultra-vindicated about the decision to take her out of CBDC, and super lucky to have found this place.
She came home from her first day as cheery and resilient and happy-seeming as I've seen her any time in the past several months, if a little wired. She volunteered all kinds of details about her day. She went to bed (and down for naps and bed every day following) just fine and slept all night. (First week at CBDC? She woke up screaming six times a night.)
She seems to have learned the phrase, I'm doing my best, and she uses it frequently, in a positive, chirpy little voice.
It sounds like there were sad moments in the day, and we've talked a lot about how it makes sense to feel sad and lonely there sometimes, because it's a big thing to be someplace new all day without Mama, but that she can feel proud of herself for doing something so big, too, and excited about all the new friends and things to do.
The place is just great and I'll have to write more later about what's terrific about it. But let me just compare the art projects she brought home. First day at CBDC: paper with outline of flowers pre-printed on it, colored in with green and blue water colors. Crunchier Than Thou Home Day Care: birthday hat made of rectangular construction paper rolled up and secured with clumsily torn masking tape. Guess which one inspired more hilarious stuffed animal birthday parties?
Iris's situation is a bit more complicated: She is at CBDC in the baby room. It is hard to be unreservedly thrilled with a place where Ingrid had such a rough time, and if we'd found an acceptable alternative before I started work I think we'd have taken it. But we didn't, despite lots and lots of looking, and I honestly think this is going to be fine. A big day care center with 12 babies and three or four caregivers is not my top choice for any baby, but then neither is a home day care with one caregiver and ten giant pre-schoolers trying to poke her eyes out. And she is an adaptable one and interested in activity rather than put off by it, and for two days a week I think this is going to work. Plus, maybe she'll become the first in her family to learn to roll her Rs.
She slept well, apparently, and drank decently from a bottle, which I was afraid she wouldn't do.
And me? Eight hours in the office was like medicine. Wow. Eight hours of thinking whole thoughts straight through and not being touched by anyone. By the end of the day I missed my girls, and I relished the feeling of missing them, of going to pick them up and genuinely being glad to be with them again.
They both came home smelling like other women: Iris like perfume, some clean soap, and orange cleaner, and Ingrid like lentils and carrots and tea.
We have three infected ears in this house and have just spent two and a half hours at the urgent care and pharmacy and I have to pump before bed. (They go through a ton of milk to get three ounces into her a few times a day. Yeesh.) So I can't be any more analytical and useful than this. I just want to write down that, although my days are not without their stretches of deep grumpiness, things are better.