Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Apron Strings and Other Things
This is a bit of a bittersweet post. Hmm, maybe bitter is a little too harsh sounding. More of a semi-sweet post. Heck if this post was a chocolate bar, it'd be a Whittaker's 70% Ghanaian cocoa bar.
Apologies for the clumsy metaphor. What I mean is this: the last two days have seen me vacillating between emotional extremes. On one end, it's fear, anxiety, guilt, doubt, and these gut-wrenching regular twitches where my heart used to be; on the other, it's pride, liberation, love, and the great, overwhelming desire to WRAP MY ARMS AROUND something, preferably my child.
Yes, Jordy started childcare this week.
I thought I had psychologically prepared myself by reading a plethora of online articles from various mum and bub sites and working mum forums. I read the fantastic chapter on working mums in Kate Figes' Life After Birth. I was mentally prepared for the swirls of emotions they all said you'd feel. But alas I have learnt that the cerebral is no match for the visceral.
In plainer English, my brain thought I was ready and would be okay with my firstborn going to daycare for seven hours a day, but my insides rebelled and I suddenly found myself on day two after dropping him off, sitting in a car wash and crying. All this before 9.30am! The stuff they don't tell you about motherhood! (By the way, the car is clean and sparkly, so that's one good thing eh?)
Jordy's first day at Carpe Diem Kidz (yes, unfortunate spelling I know, but they have a petting zoo and tree house so there!) started at 8.3o and ended at noon. His second day started at 8.30 and ended at 2.45pm! My intention is to pick him up around 3pm everyday, once I go back to work.
He did pretty well on both days, considering it was his first time being cared for by strangers after hanging out with me as his main caregiver these past 17 months! He started each morning cheerfully enough, clambering to get to the dining area to see what was being served for (second) breakfast - omelette yesterday, cereal this morning - then walking around the garden and looking at things. Both days he didn't cry when I said goodbye and walked away. But both days, I saw him look for me after I'd gone (I spied at him from afar of course) and then, when he was unable to find me, would start crying.
The teachers had to carry him for much of the first two days. Strange considering he normally hates to be carried.
D said a very insightful thing, that Jordy had been so secure previously, and that's why he was so independent and would walk and run all over the place and not ever asked to be carried. So he is probably craving the cuddling now that he is in an unfamiliar situation, and is not feeling all that secure. Do you hear my heart breaking yet?
Ah. But everything I've read has also led me to believe that it will be worse before it gets better. I'm expecting disrupted sleep at night, increase in tantrums, and perhaps, even weight loss if he doesn't eat as well in the next few weeks. I'm preparing myself but the realities are just so tough to face!
Anyway, don't get me wrong. It's not all doom and gloom. It's just that the challenges are so out there, so obvious, that I've had to address them first.
What I'm getting to is what I think will be the longer term benefits. The amazing toys and resources they have at the centre. The well-trained teachers who seem genuinely caring and compassionate. The presence of a dedicated Mandarin teacher (yay!), and of course, the fact that as Jordy is broadening his horizons and his world just a little, I'll be able to get back to the workforce! So I'm taking a long term view on things.
I'm going to keep this short as Outrageous Fortune beckons on DVD. But it's only the end of day two, and I'm already getting a little inkling of what lies ahead. I see in Jordy's future... a pile of school reports, much like the one below...
Isn't it fantastic? The teacher will prepare one every week to explain what the week's activities have been centred on, as well as what is to come.
And the very best thing? You turn over the report, and you get this!
Almost as good as being there? Perhaps not, but it certainly allows an overly-imaginative parent like me to keep a few images in my head.
These early childhood teachers do an amazing job. I salute them, as I do the wonderful kids who inspire them (I hope!).