It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Tears, truncated

tearsNissa, bless her sunny, social little self, is having one of the easier transitions to daycare. Still, she is a year old, and really? Given the choice, she’d much rather stay with mummy or daddy all day long, thanksomuch.

She arrives calm enough, but when the Big Handover happens… she cries. Of course. I told the parents when we interviewed that this would happen. It is 99.99% standard for the first couple of weeks.

I also advised the parents to keep the transfer upbeat and brief. We can chat, exchange whatever info needs to be passed along, while Nissa nestles in daddy’s arms. (It’s usually daddy in the mornings.) When that’s been done, when all necessary logistical stuff has been communicated, parent is to say a happy goodbye. And leave. Forthwith.

And yes, that means that most days the parent leaves to the sound of his baby wailing. It lasts less than two minutes most days. No, I’m wrong. Most days it lasts less than 40 seconds.

But once the tears start, the parent needs to leave right away, because… and here’s why I really encourage the parents to make the handover brief… one the tears start they won’t stop until the parent goes away.

The parent wants to stay until their baby is calm. I want them to go, so that their baby will be calm. The parent’s response is 100% understandable. Unfortunately for parental peace of mind, it’s also 90% pointless. With very few exceptions, the longer you linger, the longer they cry.

Nissa makes the switch from dad’s arms to mine. Nissa starts to cry.

“Bye, honey! Have a nice day with all your friends!” And he’s gone.





(And, thanks to a sensible and efficient daddy, in another two weeks, they won’t be happening at all. Ah-ha!)

April 20, 2009 - Posted by | daycare, Nissa, parenting | , , ,


  1. I know! I pick up one of mine as he lives close by and he cries as he is being strapped in the pushchair, cries as we walk down the path with mum waving and stops dead the moment she closes the door, she knows and listens and we think its so funny, he also cries when we come back as if he’s been crying the whole time! When in fact I cant think of a time when he has cried when he has been at my house or out with me!

    Little monkeys, aren’t they? Well, they would be if they were consciously trying to make their parents feel badly. Mostly (mostly!) they’re not, though it is quite sincere at that precise moment. The parents just need to know that is IS just a “moment”, usually, all appearances to the contrary.

    Comment by jenny | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. Squiffany cried this morning when I dropped her off at nursery school. I was a good granny, I gave her a hug and kiss and walked without looking back. It was just it being the first time back after a fortnight at home for the holiday, nothing more.

    Oh, what a good granny! I’m sure all the staff love you to bits. (I mean to tell you this every time I see that name: I love “Squiffany”. I’d be hard pressed not to call her that in real life. (Or perhaps you do?))

    Comment by Z | April 21, 2009 | Reply

  3. and daddy (if he is anything like me) hides outside the front room window until he hears Nissa giggle, and soon knows that it is only a few minutes of tears.

    unless Nissa is like Mstr A – he cried non-stop for four hours the first time I left him!!!!! 😦 and it didn’t get an awful lot better for a long while….. But nobody is like Mstr A:)

    I once told a daddy to do that — wait just on the other side of the door, where he could hear but not be seen. His response? “I’ve been had!” And yes, he had.

    “Nobody is like Mstr A.” I think you’re right there. That boy is one of a kind!

    Comment by Juggling mother | April 22, 2009 | Reply

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