So today was the second day I have dropped Em off at daycare without a single issue. No tears. No tugging at my pant legs. No facial meltdowns as I backed up slowly toward the door. No need for Em’s teacher to scoop her up and whisk her off to try and find something to distract her from my departure. It was awesome. I mean sure, I felt that sad pang of “my daughter doesn’t even care about me anymore!” but I was also overjoyed to not be leaving a crying, panic-stricken Em.
It has taken us three and a half months to get to this point. While other new kids seem to adjust to daycare within a week or two, Em’s adjustment has been a(n achingly) slow burn. I attribute her resistance to the fact that we only bring her to daycare two days a week, and to the fact that she has had more sick days than she has had well days this winter, which has resulted in her attending daycare twice in the last three months (ok, slight exaggeration, but that’s what it SEEMS like).
I also am fully aware that Em is a slightly-hypersensitive kid. She gets easily overwhelmed by all the little bodies running around in her classroom, hooting and hollering. Her best days are the days where she can be the first to arrive in class, and can therefore “rule the roost” for a short time before her classmates start trickling in and joining her in the play area.
But overall, Em’s come such a long way since her first days at daycare, when she would spend the entire day crying, holding on to her friend the giraffe, and sucking furiously on her pacifier. Nowadays, Em hardly ever uses her pacifier in class, and seldom needs her giraffe as a daycare companion. She seems to (finally!) genuinely trust her teachers and her friends, and looks like she is actually having a pretty good time.
So wouldn’t you know it, just when the dust is finally settling, new daycare regulations mandate that Em is going to need to switch from her current “waddler” room to a “toddler” room by her 18 month birthday. Which is THREE.. WEEKS.. AWAY. *Gulp*
There are of course very positive aspects of this transition. Em’s “waddler” room is a little young for her, with kids ranging in age from 12 – 18 months. Some of Em’s classmates are still getting their “sea legs,” spending half their time crawling on all fours. On occasion, I’ve caught Em crawling around at home (usually in the evenings following daycare days), and I’ve thought about how great it will be for her to be in a class with bigger kids, where she will be influenced by bigger kid behaviors.
But Em’s new toddler classroom has kids ranging in age from 18 months to 3 years old, which is kind of a WIDE spectrum of developmental stages, no? And according to her current teacher, the room is more crowded (10 kids rather than 8) and “quite active” (I have begun getting used to this mysterious teacher language, and I know that her words mean that the room is full of pretty rambunctious kids). Not to mention that Em will have a whole new group of teachers and teacher aides to get used to and learn to trust.
Is the anxious quiver in my voice translating to this font I’m using?
Tuesday was Em’s first “transition day,” where she spent about 30 minutes in the older classroom. I was so nervous that for Em, entering a room with big monster-truck sized kids running all over the place and unfamiliar teachers would push her right back to where she was when we first began her at daycare. I had visions of her once again clinging on to her giraffe and sucking on her pacifier for dear life, as she sat in a corner with tears streaming down her face. I could hardly bear the thought of putting Em through this whole emotional process of adjusting once again.
But you know what? Em proved me SO wrong. Her teacher told me that she did amazingly well during her visit with the older class, and didn’t seem to get freaked out by all the new people and the new environment. She played, painted, and went to the gym with the “big kids” without a single fuss.
Color me impressed. And relieved. And totally thrilled to see my little girl movin’ on up in the world, without any tears or trauma.