Strangers Have My Baby
No. Not the in-laws. My daughter is at daycare. That’s where she goes every morning. We go to work. She goes to daycare.
Most of my paycheck follows her. It goes from work to daycare.
It’s strange leaving her with people whose names I barely know. But it’s a good daycare and was difficult to get into. We put our name on the list when we were three months pregnant. Getting into daycare is like winning the lottery, both in terms of odds and exuberance. It’s not like the lottery in that you don’t get a windfall; the daycare does.
To guarantee yourself a spot at a good daycare for your child, my advice would be to put your name on the list when you’re biologically able to have children. So when you hit puberty. That’ll probably give you a 50-50 chance.
Once we were in, dropping our daughter off at daycare was easy. She didn’t cry. She didn’t fuss. We didn’t know it would be that easy. That was on the first day.
On the second day she protested. She cried. She fussed. She wailed. She extended her arm and reached for us like she was hanging from a cliff edge begging for us to pull her up. We told her we’d see her after work and kissed her goodbye. It was one of the most difficult things to do as a parent.
As we walked through the school we could hear her wails echoing through the halls as we left her. It was heart-wrenching. You keep telling yourself that it’s okay, that she’ll learn to adjust, that you’re being a good parent, that you’re helping her socialize. But all your body wants to do is rush back and scoop her out of the arms of strangers. This feeling persisted for a month until one day she simply waved goodbye and went to play. No fuss. No tears.
Daycare seemed to accelerate her development and her disease accumulation. All those babies. All that saliva. Daycare is a breeding ground for disease, an incubator for poxes and viruses. Every second week we’d receive a call from daycare that she had a fever or a virus that the CDC has yet to catalogue.
Thanks to call display, receiving a call from daycare sends you into an immediate panic. Your first thoughts are terrible things like, “Oh no, she’s sick” or, “They’ve lost her” or, “There must be a feral tiger loose in the school.” Luckily the daycare workers have called parents before and understand how we think. The calls immediately begin with, “This isn’t an emergency call.”
Though, the calls are never really good. They’ve yet to call to relay some cute story or to mention how many Cheerios our daughter ate for morning snack. The calls usually mean you need to leave work to come pick her up, or that they’ve noticed a scratch on her arm and were inquiring as to its origin. The latter was our first call and the origin was an overzealous pug.
While at work, I often wonder what she’s doing at daycare. Thankfully daily written reports are provided. The reports indicate what she’s had to eat, her naps, her bowel movements, and there’s the occasional reference to diaper content consistency and the application of cream. These reports give me a vague and poorly-spelled insight into her day. Here’s a few random excerpts from the daily reports:
- She enjoyed the big ice!
- She was looking at her friend who was playing in a sand box. Then came up to him and pointed him.
- She was interested in the boat of balls. Her feet may be brown/black from feet painting!
We’ve yet to be late. It’s difficult to stay in the office when you know what’s waiting. Walking into the daycare and seeing your daughter rush towards you with arms wide open is a great end to the day — and worth most of that paycheck.