Baby A, if you read this someday, thank you for being such an easy-going, happy, well-adjusted baby! I never imagined our first week apart could go so smoothly. It must be a tough change for you, but you handle it with such grace. We fall in love with you more and more every day.
Monday- Baby A woke up for a feeding at 4am, so we were able to get in some cuddle time and both fell back asleep until 5:15am, when I got up and left her sleeping on the bed. My alarm was set to go off at 5:30, but I was afraid of missing it. I ended up ready with almost 45 minutes to spare, and it was nice to not be rushed. She woke up on her own at 6:15, and we left the house by 6:45. As we drove to daycare, the hardest part for me was not being able to explain to her what was going on. Here she was about to experience a complete break in all she has even known, and I was incapable of giving her a heads up. While I had previously thought it would be so much easier if only she were older, a good friend of mine explained that her son was older, and as a result, able to grip her tightly and say "Mommy, please don't leave me!" Surely this would be tougher, I reminded myself.
I went to see her at 10:30am, dreading what I might see as I walked through the door. Would she be alone in a corner, crying? She was fast asleep, in one of the worker's arms, and I ducked out quickly so that I could go back later and spend time together. I'm thankful that I have a flexible schedule and do not have a set time that I have to take my lunch at. Also, she is very close. I went back just before noon and was able to sneak a look at her before she saw me. She was sitting one-on-one with one of the workers, playing with a bead toy. As soon as she saw me, she started bawling but quickly stopped once I picked her up. As I sat with her, she was still very interested in watching the other children, and leaning with her whole body to play with some of the toys. This was very reassuring. I didn't know what to expect and if she sat there clinging to me the whole time or crying it would have made it that much harder. One of the workers said that she woke up in her crib and sat up, something I have never seen! Also, she was babbling right after waking, which made me feel good, since she does that at home.
Nathan was able to leave work before me, and picked her up. He said that she was not crying, and that the workers said that although there was some crying, her first day was "better than most." They went straight to the doctor so she could be checked for an ear infection (she has been tugging at it, but no infection) and also a booster for her flu shot. I met them there and savored every second with her that night.
On our three mile walk, I carried her in her carrier, feeling the need to be close to her after our day apart. We brought the stroller, but didn't use it. She fell asleep a little over half way, and I kept her in there. She went to bed at her normal time, 8pm. I was worried she would fall asleep too early and I would have less time with her.
When we returned from our walk, I made it a point to put my cell phone away and not pick it up again until she was asleep. I quickly realized that I am on it way too much, because there were several times when I was playing with Baby A that I felt the need to go on it and check something: is it really going to rain tomorrow? How much is a Knott's annual pass? And of course, social media. All pointless when compared to giving her my undivided attention. I have resolved to now check my cell phone at the door every day. Now that our quantity of time together is limited, I want to make sure it is of the highest quality.
Tuesday- I had my alarm set for 5:45, but woke up at 4:45 and was trying unsuccessfully to fall back to sleep when Baby A woke me up at 5:15. I am always so excited to pick her up out of her crib, and she almost hugs back, which I love. She had 6 ounces of formula and almost fell back to sleep on me when my alarm went off. I put her in her pack-n-play in our bedroom while I got in the shower, thinking she would fall asleep. But she was laying there calmly, and smiling at me through the mesh, so I picked her up while I finished getting ready. Nathan took her to daycare because I had to be at work earlier than him. He said that she cried for just a few seconds when he handed her off, but quickly stopped and was fine when he left. That helped me get through until my lunch break, when I visited her.
My heart sank as I walked through the door and saw her sitting, alone, and crying. One worker was feeding a girl, and another was changing a baby. It was a tough thing to walk into and couldn't get to her fast enough. She quickly stopped and we had a good visit. They said she had just woken up from a nap, and I fed her some of her bottle, which she now likes to take while sitting up. She remained curious about the other kids and toys, so I sat with her on the mat while she tried to crawl and reached for things. I didn't have anyone to hand her off to because they were busy with younger babies (remember, the ratio is 4:1), so I kissed her, told her bye and waved to her while I put my shoes back on by the door. She either didn't realize I was leaving, or didn't seem to mind. Either way, leaving was not as difficult as arriving. They also said that she cried less today and seemed to be adjusting. Nathan picked her up and said that she was resting in one of the worker's lap and drinking her bottle. We had a great evening and she went to bed at 8pm.
Wednesday - I woke up again at 4:45, and got out of bed at 5:15. By the time Baby A awoke at 6, I was completely ready, and was able to have a relaxed cuddle session while she had her bottle. Nathan dropped her off at daycare, and I received this text: A was fine today for drop off. She was being held by one of the ladies, watched me wave goodbye and then turned her attention to the other kids.
When I went to visit her at lunch, she was sitting in front of their mirror, looking at herself. She wasn't crying! Until she saw me. We had a lovely visit and she went from sitting to up on her knees, with her thighs vertical and not touching her calves for the first time. It seemed like she wanted to pull herself up and stand, but is not there just yet. I held her and we looked out the window at all of the rain, and listened to the thunder. One of the workers was feeding two of the girls and singing "If You're Happy and You Know it" which delighted Baby A. She was fixated on watching her, and excitedly moved her arms and let out a squeal. She is definitely bonding with them. She was engaged in playing with some soft rings when I kissed her, walked to the door and waved bye. As I put on my shoes she was starting to whimper, but I headed out quickly.
We had another great evening together, walking, playing and snuggling until she fell asleep at 7:45.
Thursday - I woke up at 5:15am again (alarm set for 5:45) and was able to get ready before she woke up at 6am. I am really liking this routine. Even though I am not a morning person, getting up earlier allows me to have almost an hour of undistracted time with her, and not be rushed. Daddy dropped her off again, and said it was easy! She smiled at the other kids as her brought her into the room in her car seat, and was passed off to the worker without a peep. I would love to be the one dropping her off, but that would mean she would be at daycare longer since I have to be at work earlier. When I visited her on my lunch break, she was quietly playing. I scooped her up and gave her 100 kisses, as we walked around the room and looked out the window before sitting back down. I also love laying down and lifting her above me, or throwing her up in the air, just a few inches out of my hands.
They said that it was by far her best day. Not only did she not cry after drop off, but she was belly laughing while visiting with an older child from the next room. They said that Baby A was sitting on one of the worker's laps and reached out her hand to the older girl, who is 16 months. The girl came over and held A's hand, and A started belly laughing! When Nathan picked her up, she was dancing! She looked at him, and kept dancing! This made me so happy.
Unfortunately, she either had too much fun, or the early mornings of the week were catching up with her. She fell asleep at 4:45pm and was pretty much down for the night. I woke her up for our 3 mile walk just before 6pm, but she slept on the walk and after we returned. I woke her to feed around 7:30, put her in her crib and she slept until morning.
Friday - Even though she went to bed early, she was still asleep when I left for work at 7:10am. This made me sad, because I have been enjoying our time together before I leave. She did wake up for a feeding at 4:30am, and went right back to sleep on my chest. I was able to lay with her like that (and fall back asleep myself) until 6am. Nathan dropped her off and said she was great, there was no crying and she was looking at the other kids and smiling.
I visited her at lunch for the fifth day and it was the best! She was quietly playing, and I was able to observe her for a bit before she saw me and then continued to play. They said she did not cry when I left the day before or that morning! And, I found out that she crawled for the very first time! She moved her knees/arms three times! Prior to daycare, I worried that missing a "first" would make me sad, but thankfully it doesn't at all. I'm just really excited to see it for myself and, enjoy the weekend with her!