Friday, February 27, 2009

Trying to Leave out the Melodrama

Today is Finn's last day at his daycare, the place that has been caring for him since December 18, 2006. He was 8 weeks, 3 days old when I first dropped him off. Here is a picture taken that day:

There were surprisingly few tears that day on my part, I should note. I'm not good at public displays of emotion, and I was a little too anxious about pulling off the whole "work professional/mom/try to see my baby as much as possible" balance thing to worry much about tears. I arrived at work with mascara relatively intact.

We've been very happy with Finn's school about 95% of the time. The expectation that any childcare is absolutely perfect for your child is unrealistic, so I think we've been pretty darn lucky. And so I fear there may be significantly more tears from me today (the raging pregnancy hormones pretty much guarantee it). After all, what are the odds that we'll be just as lucky a second time?

This also means an end to my commute with Finn. I'll be making the 30 minute drive each way by myself from now on, as the new daycare is near home. No more constant chattering that identifies EVERY type of vehicle we pass, or demands that no, we're not driving, we're RACING! Oh, I shudder for the day he learns to drive, drat that movie Cars.

I have lots of good memories of our drives - Finn babbling and singing away as a baby; concentrating so hard on his car seat toy that he fell asleep with an arm in the air, reaching for it; more recently calling out "Mommy, I love you" from the backseat over and over again. Lots of bad memories, too, of course, like all the times I frantically reached back to feel for his pacifier and shove it in his mouth; the debates on whether I should just pull off the highway and breastfeed him because oh my God, THE SCREAMING, it was heart-rending; the endless rounds of Raffi on the radio.

It means an hour less time with Finn each day, which has become more like quality time and less like torture (for both of us) with each month he's gotten older. So, needless to say, I have mixed emotions.

And then there is the issue of the new school. Will Finn like it? Will he like his teachers? Will he make new friends? Will he feel comfortable and accepted? I know the answer to all those questions, at this age, is yes of course, but I also know that it will take some time. And my heart aches a bit for the confusion that Finn's going to feel over the next couple of weeks.

As we pulled off the highway today, REM's "It's the End of the World As We Know It" came on the radio. And I'm so not that melodramatic, I promise. This isn't college where one tends to imagine every depressing song was written truly, deeply about your own sad state of affairs, and songs have such MEANING. But I couldn't help thinking that Finn might think, just a little bit, come Monday, that his world is ending. At the very least, changing to something rather unrecognizable. It twisted that knife made of Mommy guilt, just a little bit.

So if you have a nice, warm, fuzzy story about how your young child changed schools/daycares/nannies and quickly adjusted, please share. It will cheer me up.

On an entirely different note, I set up a little online baby pool for friends and family to guess when Finn's brother or sister is going to be born, as well as the other pertinent stats (gender, weight, length, etc). Check out the box on the righthand sidebar for a link, and place your own guess if you'd like. While there will be no cash winnings for the closest guess, I can at least guarantee bragging rights and an announcement of the winner on this blog. So, at least to the 8 or so people that read this, you will be famous!


  1. Great post. God, Finn was so tiny. Although you're giving up your drive with him you'll have 3 months of seeing him a bit more when you're home with the baby. And now you can listen to NPR or something and not be in a complete baby-bubble. Oh, wait. That's me. Finn will be great and now M can also get some time with him in the AM too.

  2. No more Finn piping up from the background while we chat on the phone while commuting in the morning? Sniff. At least you will have control of your radio back. Now you may not want to talk to ME in the morning so you can listen to NPR or music and zone out...

  3. One of my closest friends here moved her son from in-home nanny (with mom working from home) to group day care right when he turned 2. It was about a week transition! That's it! By the weekend, he was talking about his new friends, the new toys, new food.

    I think these little ones are much more resilient than we give them credit for. And I do think kids in group care are used to being around new people, new kids, etc as things change. My boys have already had quite a few transitions - infant room to 1s room to 2s room and each time, we have a couple of weeks transition and then they are ok.

    Good luck! I think big transitions are harder on the parents than they are on the kids!

  4. Don't worry, he will be fine! Like anything, it will take some adjustment, but he will settle in. We switched Josh's school just before he turned 3. We told him he was switching from a "baby school" to a "big boy school" and he seemed to accept that. The first couple of weeks he was a little nervous at drop-off time, but soon he loved his new friends and his new teacher so much that it was no issue whatsoever. I hope your transition goes just as smoothly!

    Oh, and enjoy your quiet commute!