In 15 minutes I will pack a sleeping Charles into his carseat and take him to daycare for the first time. Will he be okay? Will he cry when he realizes that I'm not there? Will I cry? He is very used to being passed around to "strangers," and I have never kept anyone from holding him, not since the day he was born (hey, I hold him A LOT at home, you all can have your time with the squishy little guy, I'm not selfish). And still, five hours is a looooong time.
The daycare is great, the staff are wonderful, and the women in the infant room have both been there for 2 years, giving me faith that Charles will be able to attach to one or both of them, rather than having a revolving-door of caretakers. And yet. I still wonder if I am doing the right thing.
The other side, of course, is that I want him to experience life, to not be attached to my hip for years, to love trying new things without fear. This is a first step, and it will make the transition to school and overnights with grandparents that much easier in the future. He might learn to be a bit more self-reliant (although he is already showing quite a bit of this, beginning to put himself to sleep in his crib all alone, spending time playing while I vacuum 0r dust, and more). He will probably have a lot of fun playing with new toys. And, he is fascinated by other children, so he'll get a chance to be around them. I anticipate some colds in the next few weeks, but it is good to challenge his immune system, and I have never been one who believes in sheltering a child from germs. As Tony says, the kids who never get sick are the ones who eat dirt. The kids who are always sick are the ones whose moms wipe their hands with antibacterial wipes all the time.
Anyhow, what will I do with my five hours? Besides worry about my baby, I mean... Well, first I will get my hair cut (long overdue) and then I will go to work at Goodwinds, where I will frantically do as much as possible on the marketing before taking a 15-minute break to pump breastmilk and then head off to my other job at the Chamber until 4:45, at which point I will head back to the daycare to pick up Charles. It's a constant go-go-go around here.
In a couple of months, maybe sooner, I will add Wednesday afternoons to our daycare schedule (currently only Tuesday and Thursday) so I can do even more work. Businesses don't run themselves, you know.
I'll let you all know how the first day of daycare goes. Until then, wish me luck.
Gratuitous photo of Charles using Tony's ears as handlebars: