The title should be “Mommy’s first day care”, because I am apparently the one who has separation anxiety.
I have a lot of meetings next week, which finally forced me to fill out the paperwork and send Søren to try out daycare for the first time…for 15 minutes. I decided to train myself, er…him, at the drop-in day care at our gym. They told me I could have a free 15 minutes trial, and I could even spend the entire 15 minutes watching him on the CCTV screen in their office if I really was that neurotic and paranoid and over controlling (note: I’m reading in between the lines here because the staff was fabulously helpful and nice. But if I had been an employee in that day care center that is exactly what I would have been thinking).
As I reluctantly handed my only son over to a smiling stranger, a round-faced little girl began screaming as if someone had just pulled off her toenails. Then another baby started. The staff could tell that this was making me nervous. I looked at Søren and my eyes burned with tears, my stomach tied into a knot, aching with anxiety. He just watched the screaming little girl with curiosity, and it reminded me that he had only ever been around other children a handful of times, and I needed to let him go. I walked out and sat in the gym’s cafe with my laptop and a pile of work to do.
Fifteen minutes later I rushed back and stood in front of a grainy video of the baby nursery. A grandmotherly woman was walking around, holding Søren in the crook of her arm. His little arms waved and his pudgy legs kicked with excitement. Returning to my laptop, I finished the PowerPoint presentation that I had been trying to complete for the last week. I checked my email, scheduled some meetings, and ordered a smoothie.
It occurred to me that if I wanted to I could actually exercise. I could have lunch with a friend without having to eat with my right hand while holding a bottle in Søren’s mouth with my left. I could actually get several hours of uninterrupted work done and carry a train of thought for longer than 5 minutes. I could go home and take a nap.
Søren and another little girl were playing together when I returned (and by “playing” I mean they were both drooling near each other on the same play mat). He wasn’t traumatized. His diaper had just been changed and he was tired out and napped on the drive home. Serendipity.