Today was Gavin's first day at daycare. He survived. He not only survived, he actually seemed to have a nice time there. Not that I ever doubted he would. I just had this motherly guilt - this feeling that I should not leave him with people he doesn't know in a place he isn't familiar with. This fear that he would feel sad and abandoned and would think I had deserted him. I couldn't bear to have him think that. The mere mention of him feeling sad brings me to tears. Oh, how am I ever going to raise him if I cry every time I think of him feeling sad, scared, or lonely??? I will be a wreck for the rest of his long life. When he is 25 and his first girlfriend breaks his heart, I will be bawling. And no, he will not have a girlfriend until he is at least 25! He will not drive until he is 22 and he will not even taste a beer until he is 30. : ) Oh, and he can't ride the schoolbus because he might get beat up because he will be one of the nice kids. And he can't go to school because I can't protect him there. Oh my... this is going to be tough. I am going to start working on that magic bubble right now so that I can put him in it by the time he is walking and be sure he is safe and sound and protected from all things mean, scary, and harmful. Okay?
Back to today... so, I quickly realized that he didn't mind being left with someone he didn't know in a place he didn't recognize. Of course, he knew his Mom & Dad weren't there, but he didn't seem to care all that much. He was content when we left him there and he was content when we picked him up. Jo said he had a short 1/2 hour nap in the morning, but woke up when the older kids came back in after playing outside and the dog barked. He ate well and after eating, he happily laid on the floor checking out his surroundings while the other kids were in the kitchen for lunch. In the afternoon he had a good, long nap and she actually had to wake him up after three hours because he was still sound asleep! I think he is going to be just fine there. He is the youngest one there, but there are lots of toddlers there to teach him the things he needs to know to survive. You know... how to tattle, how to pull hair, how to sneak in a nudge or pinch as you walk past another child, how to get your way, how to avoid telling the truth without actually lying. I actually witnessed this there the other day. What I heard was "He (not Gavin) bumped his head on the book", but what I saw translated to, "I hit him with the book." So, yes, he did bump his head on the book, technically. And that little person telling Jo what happened didn't actually lie. Oh Gavin, you have much to learn. Perhaps we can also work in a few examples of sharing, being kind, and helping others out. In the two times I have been to Jo's "Young Country Friends" daycare so far while there were kids there, I have met the following toddlers: Courtney (3), Lara (1?), Jacob (2), Anja (2), and Reuben (2?). I'm not sure how old Lara is, but she wasn't walking yet. Reuben seemed to be a little older than two, but not yet three, and I know that Jacob just turned two last weekend. Oh my. What is wonderful about these 5 kids under the age of three? They all seemed just smitten with Gavin and they seemed to play very nicely together. They were kind, gentle kids, except for the little hitter, but that one will hopefully outgrow this hitting stage before Gavin catches on. When Cliff told Courtney and Anja that he was going to put Gavin in his carseat, Anja politely said in her sweet little two-year old voice, "Actually it's called a baby carrier". Seriously! And when we had Gavin in his "baby carrier" and we had our coats on and were walking out the door, they all ran to the door and in unison, said "Bye Gavin!"
Yes, he was fine. He had a good day. He will learn and grow at daycare and will have experiences that we can't offer him at home. He will play with other kids, he will play with different toys than we have at home, his little brain will be challenged, he will do puzzles and play games. He will eventually go sledding on these sunny (but cold) winter days when Mom & Dad are at work like the kids did today. He will play outside in the summer. He will eat healthy and mostly organic. He will be cared for. He will grow and he will learn. ...He will also build up his immune system, surrounded by all those other kids sharing toys and kisses and snot!
And, he will be snuggled all the more every evening, because Mom and Dad miss him so much all day.
Tomorrow, his cousin Dana will watch him for a few hours in the morning and then Grandma Sellner and Great Aunt Helen will spend the rest of the day with him. What a lucky kiddo! So many people to love him. So many people to play with. Say a little prayer that Wednesday at daycare goes as well as today went.