A place where parents either begrudgingly or sometimes enthusiastically drop their offspring into the hopefully caring hands of complete strangers.
If I had the choice to stay home, I would.
I never would have foreseen that as a fresh, wide-eyed college graduate, but now I could easily spend my days nurturing the physical, mental, and emotional development of our Squish.
But alas, I must earn an income to support our shopping habits, and ya know, food and stuff.
We were incredibly stressed in the weeks leading up to her first day of daycare.
Not for the usual reasons like separation anxiety and maternal yearnings, but because she suddenly and completely refused to take a bottle.
She could drink an undergrad under the table at four weeks old, but a month of abstinence from the bottle left her confused and uninterested.
CUE PARENTAL CRISIS.
Buy all the bottles on the shelf at Target.
Furiously research the most natural products.
Scour message boards on the inter webs looking for information, suggestions, advice, anything.
Order expensive bottles from Amazon and expedite the shipping.
Get into fight with spouse using essentially the same arguments but with different words.
Smell the fear on each other.
WHAT IF SHE STARVES AT DAYCARE?
Offer the bottle after every breastfeeding.
Play, cajole, dance with the idea of taking the bottle.
Literally dance trying to get her to take the bottle.
After many unsuccessful attempts, P-Daddy and I formed a plan.
I needed to get the hell out of the house and he and Squish were gonna nip that whole nipple confusion conundrum.
A few practice sessions and some tricky bottle strategery later, P-Daddy had worked his baby magic and the Squish was taking the bottle like a champ.
An enormous sense of relief washed over me and I had no energy left to be anxious about any other daycare related concerns.
She would eat.
I could breathe.
I actually became excited about the idea.
At least, that’s the coping mechanism I chose to embrace.
I would get excited about all the positive impacts day care would have.
You’ll meet so many friends!
You’ll get to play with lots of new toys!
You’ll be loved and taken care of all day long!
I was excited for Squish in the same way that I got excited for myself on the first day of school.
So I laid out her first-day outfit.
Packed her bag.
And spent all night tossing and turning in anticipation.
We woke up bright and early and took sleepy-eyed pictures before heading out the door.
Once we arrived at the daycare, we spent no less than 57 minutes telling the staff all about our Squish.
They waited patiently while we explained that she needs a vacuum to fall asleep, likes to sit upright while awake, and likes to explore different activities in frequent intervals.
They were so kind and understanding.
And with that, we were off!
We wanted to go to the bar, but settled on Starbucks given the time of day.
We sipped our lattes while sitting in uncharacteristic quietness when I got the first picture.
Squish looked exceedingly engaged in her new environment.
By the 7th picture and several reassurances that Squish was not only surviving, but actually thriving in her new setting, it was already time to go scoop her back up.
We were greeted with several friendly faces and then our favorite face of all.
We did it!