Had a new experience today; taking Cooper to another place and leaving him there with strangers.
Not really something you can mentally prepare for.All in all, the first day of daycare came and went with very little to report. Chris and I both went to see him off, and apart from labeling his bottles and stocking his cubby with diapers, there wasn’t a whole lot to do apart from handing him over and leaving. He was so interested in the new environment I don’t even know that he could tell we’d left.
Still, it felt odd. I didn’t really know what to expect, so it’s hard to gauge it against anything. Weird pretty much sums it up. ‘Here’s our baby,’ went the exchange in my head. ‘He is very helpless and occasionally stupid. Sometimes his butt explodes. Please feed him and clean him and keep him alive.’
Mind you, this has nothing to do with the daycare itself. We like the facility, the women in the infant room seem very caring and capable, and there’s plenty for the little ones to keep busy with. And Cooper gets quality time with his peers, which I expect he loves. Us old fogeys are probably way too boring for him.
No, it’s mostly just the idea of the thing.
I know it’s what everyone does. I know it’s what people have done for more than a century. It still just feels unusual.
It will grow on us, I have no doubt. We’ll get used to it and in a couple of months we’ll wonder how we managed to do without it (technically, we managed to do without it because we had serious grandparent help over the last several weeks. Thank you to all the grands, once again and always). But still.
I realize it’s a convenience and a huge first-world-problem to be angst-y about being able to have someone else provide professional care for your child, but there you have it.
At some point this afternoon I thought it was the longest I’d been away from the kid since he was born, but then I remembered the day I was out of town from about 7am til 9pm, which beat today by several hours. But even that wasn’t the same, because it was me leaving, him staying home. This was him leaving, me staying at home. Very much not the same.
The silly thing is, I fully realize that this is total small potatoes in terms of separation events. It’s the first tiny let-go moment in a long procession of letting-go moments, up until he’s fully independent and he’s going to go whether we like it or not. As emotions go, it’s pretty miniscule in the grand scheme of things.
But today? Today it felt big.