Many moons ago, I wrote down all of my perfectly rational fears about having to put Summer in daycare and….hang on…sorry, I had shove the bottom of my sweater in my mouth to muffle my sobs because people are starting to stare….
…well, the day has come – Scott found a job (hooray!), it starts today (erm), making today Summer’s first day at daycare (boo). Like Goldilocks with her Goldi-husband and Goldi-baby in tow, we visited 3 centers before finding the one that fit just right.
Plain and simple, Center 1 was not it. Center 1 made me want to turn and run screaming all the way home. Center 1 had an outdoor play policy where they freeze the children into little baby icicles by keeping them outside for 2 hours DOWN TO 32 DEGREES, the price was the most expensive at $371/week, the toddler teacher was a cold-hearted bitch, and the icing on the cake was when sweet old Miss C finished up our tour by showing us how the parents and staff get into the building by punching in the last 4 of their social security numbers on the keypad. Ah, but helpful Miss C not only showed us how to punch in her code, she actually said each number out loud as she punched it in. She then turned back to us with a big sweet smile when the door popped open, oblivious to what she had just done. And as Scott, Summer and I all climbed back in the car, I turned to Scott, told him that tomorrow I could be Miss C with Miss C’s secret code, and go steal babies, and I asked if he preferred a boy or a girl.
Not cool, Miss C, not cool.
Center 2 was recommended to me by one of my agents. Center 2 was about 10 mins in the wrong direction from work, though I knew if any place was the right place that I’d be willing to drive to Wisconsin and back if it meant I was comfortable with Summer being there. Center 2 was big! It was colorful! The teachers were super sweet, high energy and seemed genuinely happy to meet Summer which was a huge contrast to the horrible toddler teacher at Center 1. The place had an aquarium, I kid you not, on the ceiling. They had walls and walls of wood puzzles and learning toys, more things than one could play with in a year. They had a castle in the preschool room and a big fenced-in outdoor playground where they don’t make the kids stay outside for 2 hours in the winter. Trust me, I asked. As we walked through the building and journeyed from room to room, we observed the toddlers sitting on the floor learning sign language, and the 2-year-olds sitting nicely around a table counting with the teacher. The 3-year-olds were sitting in a perfect circle reading, and the 4-year-olds were all singing a song together – in Spanish. We met the chef who told us that “today’s menu consists of Thai spaghetti-style noodles with ground chicken in a Thai sauce.” Picture Lumiere, the candlestick in Beauty and the Beast just shy of having the French accent. I’m not gonna lie, the place was impressive and the price showed it coming in at a whopping $328/week. Though way more than we wanted to pay, Center 2 was a contender.
The third place we visited, naturally referred to as Center 3, was 2 blocks from our house in the right direction, on the smaller side compared to the previous 2 places, and recommended by one of Scott’s friends who had had his daughter there for the last 4 years. We were greeted by the owner who was very friendly and happy to answer my millions of questions as they popped in my head. The center was a drastic contrast to the previous place – where Center 2 had colors everywhere and walls of toys and the hum of activity, Center 3 had crisp freshly painted white walls and new floors still in the midst of a superficial remodel. The toddler room was quiet with only 2 kids that day, 4 total throughout the week, which left 1 spot open for Summer as #5 to round out the 5:1 adult to kid ratio mandated by the state if we so chose. Miss M, the toddler teacher that day, was low energy with a calm demeanor and she sat on the floor with the kids reading books and stacking blocks, and I couldn’t help but notice that compared to the other 2 places, Center 3 was SO QUIET, words not often said when referring to multiple kids in the same building. And with my mom happily agreeing to watch Summer 1 day a week, Center 3 sat very pretty at $200/week.
I was torn. So I did what I’ve always done since realizing that she’s been right about every guy, every friend, and pretty much every piece of advice I have and haven’t asked for, I called my mom. I described the 2 places to her that were in the running and she told me exactly what I needed to hear – Summer is only 1, let her be a kid. Once she turns 5 she’ll have plenty of time to sit in a classroom and sing songs in Spanish. She has survived just fine simply knowing how to properly use the sign for “finished”. Let her be a kid, let her play and have fun and enjoy being a kid and choose Center 3.
She’s a smart one, my momma.
Once we made the phone call and secured our spot with a hefty deposit of 1st and last week payment, I decided that it would be best if Scott was the dropper-offer and me the picker-upper because quite honestly, I would probably end up breaking down and bringing Summer to work still stuck to my leg everyday at the first sign of a tear as I turned to walk out. And by tear I mean hers.
No I don’t.
So now that we’re all caught up on how we got here….
This morning at approximately 8:30am, Scott dropped Summer off at daycare and at 8:32am, I called him to find out every detail. As expected and feared, there was some clinging. There were tears. And when he told me that Miss R was the teacher today, the teacher that I haven’t met but have been assured that she is 100 shades of fantastic, and that the crying stopped as soon as Scott was out of sight, I felt a little better. And though I may have had to look up to the sky and fan my eyes with both hands in an overly dramatic fashion to stop the tears from pouring out of them in the middle of the office a few times now, I’m here and I’m hanging on because quite honestly there’s not a whole lot else I can do.
Come on 4:30…come on 4:30….