Lily's 1st day @ daycare

 Little Lily went off to daycare school today. That's what we're calling it. Mostly because of a Small Potatoes episode called I Love School that she has been watching lately. I can't say it wasn't heart ache. I can't say it wasn't weird and that guilt didn't creep in. I can't say she didn't love it, so I guess I won't say that I didn't. But it.was.hard.

Our day started at 8am, the waking hour of our kids as of late. Thank you winter darkness. As soon as I heard them chattering I woke and realized that today was the day. Pang. My heart. I also felt really rushed which didn't help my emotions. Since we have to pay for a full day no matter how many hours Lily stays there (and since we decided 1pm would be her pick-up time), I wanted Lily at school by 9am at the latest. Brad was enlisted to help this morning. We both knew I would need it. Heart-wise. Hands-wise. Thankful for his flexible schedule, and the fact that he will be working well into the night because of the time he took this morning to help.

I was rushing about trying to get her clothed and both of the kids fed. Oli didn't need to get dressed immediately, but since I was changing his diaper, might as well. No huge tasks, but everything is more stressful when there's a timer, and nothing is easy on your baby's first day away.

Brad went down first to ask a few questions that we'd forgotten to ask sooner. What time (if any) were they planning to go outside? If it was after 1pm, we wouldn't pack her snow suit. Should we bring Lily's potty? What is their policy, since she's not 100% potty trained (doesn't use a toilet)? Did I mention the daycare is literally next door? So ideal, right? Thank you, Jesus.

Brad came back with the details. I was feeling lighter already - they would definitely be enjoying the warmer (-1) weather and going outside and they had many potties as most of the kids were at Lily's stage of potty training. Ah. She wouldn't be alone and she was going out to play, too. Since the daycare is mainly French (and a bit Spanish, just for good measure!), Brad had to go ask these things since I was too afraid to use my French and misunderstand something.

So we sent her off. All morning I was - for lack of a better word - weird. I couldn't commit to anything for long, I was frazzled, I was emotional, I was protective, I was fearful. For the first time ever I understood why home schooling appeals to so many. I didn't want to let her go! Hadn't I been excited for this moment? Wasn't I looking forward to the one-on-one time with Oli? Wasn't this to be great for her socially, linguistically, and physically? Most of that flew out the window as she flew out the door.

When Brad came home from dropping her off he confirmed my fears and said it was really hard to leave her. She didn't want to leave him and he had to stay and play with her a while to get her comfortable. But worst of all, he told me the three other kids who were there at that point all seemed much younger than Lily. Granted he isn't a great judge of children's ages and they were all in high chairs (turns out they also feed the kids breakfast! Good to know!), but we were still very concerned. See, the main reason she is even in daycare is for playmates her age. She has Oli at home - we don't need to be paying for her to hang out with other babies!

Panicked, we called around to other daycares in the area and asked how old their children were and if they had openings. We found one that wasn't super close but that seemed wonderful. It cost $5 more per day and I'd have to take the bus to drop her off (instead of walking next door) but it was next to the YMCA, so I could take Oli swimming before we picked up Lily. This option wasn't ideal but I wanted to know that if Brad's suspicions were true that we had an out.

Oli and I decided to go for a sled/walk (City moms, you NEED a sled for winter months! best purchase ever!). We had a wonderful time, just us two. We went all over the neighbourhood and stopped for a muffin (and a latte for me) at a local cafe. I was amazed at the work out pulling him on the sled was and came home feeling exhausted but invigorated. Also, it was almost 1pm - time to get Lily!!!!!!!

Brad insisted on coming with me to get her since he was working from home anyway. I think it was hard on his daddy heart leaving her this morning. When we arrived, Lily ran to the door smiling (not crying) and our hearts both got a lot lighter. Norma, her care giver greeted us and was very warm and clearly doted on Lily. The other kids had just gone down for a nap - nap time is 1pm, which is why we chose to pick her up at that time - so Lily had the place to herself and was quite at home. There were tons of toys and activities that we don't have at home (a large play house, ride-on toys, etc) and Lily loved being there. Best of all, when we asked Norma about the ages of the other kids, she said they were all 2.5 and 3 years old! Brad!!! Silly hubs. I couldn't be happier that he was wrong ;)

In the end, she didn't want to leave. She kept saying "Nora" for Norma and got very excited when I told her that she was going back to school again tomorrow. We decided to start with two days per week and will add a third day if it suits all of us. Her days are 9am-1pm, though some kids there arrive at 8am and don't leave until 6pm. I figured doing the two days back-to-back would be best for her so there was no re-adjustment for her second day, and also to avoid Mondays and Fridays since we often have long weekend visitors or are out of town those days. Plus Brad's day off is Monday and I host a play group on Thursdays, so Tuesday and Wednesday seemed best.

So far, so good. Today was really hard, but upon picking her up all of my worries were gone. I'm actually excited about her second day! I know she is, which helps.


  1. that is fantastic Em!! I think it helps a lot that she is obviously happy there and enjoying herself, that is the MAIN thing!

    We used to live above a daycare! It was hilarious! I loved hearing the chatter of the kiddies outside my window all day.

    Oh and I think sleds are a must for suburban mommas too! We're getting one this week. We have a park literally next door, but they don't plough the snow there. It's just fun I think for them to be pulled around in it! Where did you buy yours/how much was it?

  2. Anonymous9.1.13

    Hi Emily:

    This is so encouraging! Lily is such a sociable little girl that I am not surprised that she LOVES going to school! It is so nice to read such an honest post about how you felt throughout the day, as I know that I would have felt the exact same way. I had a hard time dropping Sophie at the sunday school of our new church the first couple of times and she is only in there for an hour and half! The funny thing is that it is actually harder to get her to leave sunday school than to drop her off because she loves it so much! I think that it is great for kids to have a few hours away from mom once in a while and would love to get Sophie into a part-time daycare setting soon as well. Thanks for sharing!

    Miss you guys!