Today was the second day of daycare transition, meaning I was supposed to bring Timothy at 9:30 am, stay there with him for 15 minutes, leave, and come back for him at 10:30 am – letting him stay there for 45 minutes without me.
Hubby had the brilliant idea to suggest that we can walk there, no reason for him to be late for work – especially since he needs to leave early today to let me catch my evening illustration class. Sounds logical, right?
Well, when I opened the garage door, ready to wheel out – it was pouring rain out there.
Let me tell you: maneuvering an umbrella stroller with one hand (the other hand holding my umbrella) is not an easy task: unlike strollers with one handlebar, it keeps going right, left, right, left, wringing your wrist. By the time I passed about 5 blocks, my wrists were in pain, I was steaming hot with the effort and actually swearing out loud. Which I don’t do often.
I gave up and decided to wait for a streetcar.
So we arrived late: instead of 9:30, we arrived at 9:45 or so; I stayed for 15 minutes and left for 30 minutes – not 45, as planned.
When we arrived, one of the teaching assistants (the Russian one) immediately took Timothy and carried him over to another spot in the room, sat him in her lap and played with him – and other babies. After a while Timothy started crawling around. Then it was 10 am – time for the morning milk. They started gathering all the babies in this cushioned area where they take their milk daily – at which point Timothy saw me putting on my coat and started whimpering. Not really crying – complaining.
The moment I set foot out the door, I started to cry. And then to bawl.
I called hubster – he was nonplussed. “But it’s only for 30 minutes!”
He couldn’t get it. He couldn’t get that I was not crying about leaving Timothy there today for 30 minutes (after all, I had left Timothy before even for longer periods with other people) – it was about… well, about all the days and months and years to come – of him being away from me.
That’s how it goes with babies. First they extract the baby from your belly – and baby’s no longer with you all the time. Then they introduce solids and baby is no longer nursing all day long, attached to your boob 8 times a day. Then they let baby sleep for 12 hours straight, so long that you actually start to miss your baby by the time it’s your bedtime. Then they take your baby to daycare… to kindergarten… to school… to college… to start their own family…
I walked the streets, hiding behind my umbrella, crying. Imagining his warm little body in my hands – someone else will be giving him hugs. His wide smile – someone else will be bringing this smile to his face all day long. His smell. His sticky fingers.
Was I crying because I had to leave him there? Because I was worried how he’ll fare? I don’t think so. I really am pretty sure he’ll be fine (otherwise I probably wouldn’t have been able to leave him there at all). Was I crying because I felt sorry for myself? Perhaps. But most probably I was crying because my baby is longer a baby. He’s getting older. He’s starting to become his own person. He’s starting to become independent. I have to learn to let go.
I came back at 10:30, he was whining. They said he didn’t cry while I was away. He did look around, searching for me – but didn’t cry and only started whining right before I came. Well, he usually takes a nap around that time – so probably he was tired. They said he did really well for the first day. And he wasn’t ecstatic when arrived, when he saw me. He was happy, but not in a “where have you been I’ve been missing you” way.
I am proud of him. He did well.
I didn’t do well at all. Even now, as I write this, tears keep coming to my eyes and I have to swallow my emotions down.
It’s hard. Really, really hard. I hope it does get better.