I took my baby to daycare today for the first time. I've been back to work for a few weeks but we were on a waiting list for the daycare so she's been going to an in-home woman for the waiting period. The first time I dropped her off there I didn't shed a tear. This morning I cried from the moment I put PB in the arms of the impersonal 'teacher' at the daycare to the moment I finished my commute to work (about a 30 minute drive).
The place itself is great. Great atmosphere, an appropriate number of happy babies rolling around the floor, crawling through clean and safe padded tunnels, not a crying baby to be heard. But handing her off to a place that has rules so strict (she can't sit in a swing for more than 15 minutes at a time, no car seats can be left on the premises, her bottles need to be completely prepared and labeled and taken home overnight, you have to put BOOTIES over your shoes if you want to walk past the entrance of the room, you have to report to them how many diapers AND how many wipes you're dropping off for her, I could go on and on...) makes the whole thing seem uncomfortable. She'll be fine...me? not so much. At least with everything else, I feel completely fine with her being there. Other than the fact that she probably won't nap for the first week or two (she's used to comfy warm car seats or swings to sleep in...they have a crib with a thin mattress, no sheet over it, and that's the only place she's aloud to sleep).
So this whole experience had me thinking on my way to work this morning. Some of the hardest things I've ever had to do have involved two little people younger than four. I'm 31 years old and the top five most heart wrenching, emotionally and physically exhausting, seemingly impossible things I've have to handle have involved one or both of my daughters.
This is number one on my list of most difficult things I've ever been through. Seriously. Above labor for both kids (because I wasn't alone during labor...I didn't have to handle it by myself):
1. Cleaning vomit off my 3 year old daughter at an airport, two hours before the five hour flight to Arizona, while being sick myself and having to use all my will to keep myself from throwing up...then doing it all again in a coach passenger seat twice during the flight. Poor little girl.
2. Finding out our younger daughter might have Cystic Fibrosis (she doesn't, but her newborn screening was abnormal for it, so for about 4 hours we were terrified she might really have it).
3. Steve's grandmother's passing.
4. Labor with my older daughter.
5. Labor with my second daughter.
6. Taking my older daughter to daycare the first day (and the build up).
7. Taking my second daughter to daycare today.
That puts it into perspective. It's the 7th hardest thing I've had to face in my life up to this point.
8. Flying to Spain at age 20 to study abroad.
So not even in the same realm of difficult as the top seven on this list.
9. Sicknesses the older daughter has had (stomach flus, strep throat, etc.).
10. Sicknesses I've had (same as daughter).
I'll stop here. They just get more and more pointless after that. I'm very lucky to say these are the hardest things I've lived through to this point. I'm also an idiot for listing them (like I'm just asking for the worst kind of jinx). I just wanted to point out how extremely difficult it is to be a parent. How much of my heart it takes to do the things they need. For someone who is already a little too emotional, it's like a roller coaster on a daily basis (especially my 3 year old...I can go from thinking she's the most amazing and adorable little girl one minute to yelling at her and putting her in her room the next. She pushes our buttons and tests her limits constantly now that she has to compete for attention).
This definitely isn't a new concept. I guess I'm just having one of those days where I need to get these thoughts out of my head in order to function normally.
I really hope my little girl is okay during the day. I'd call, but I'm afraid they'd yell at me and say it's against the rules to check on our kids. Dicks.