It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Out of sight, out of mind

New Baby Girl toodles about, busy and quiet. She’s keeping her soother firmly plugged in, but she’s calm, even cheerful, actively engaged with the other kids, with the various toys. Not bad. She’s only coming a day a week until after the holidays, when she’ll start full time.

Now, between you and me? A day a week is usually not a good idea. If a parent only wants/needs to work a day or two a week, I usually suggest they send their child to daycare full-time for three or four weeks first, which is how long most children take to make the adjustment fully. Once the child has acclimatized, THEN we can reduce the days.

Because a day a week? From a baby’s perspective? They have to be away from mummy and daddy for a day. That’s unsettling. They have to be with this stranger, and, no matter how nice she is, she is NOT mummy or daddy. They have to be with these other children, and, no matter how interesting they all are, they’re not mummy or daddy, either. No matter how fascinating the toys and the house, they’re not home. But for a day, they deal. And then… hey! They’re back at home! The way it should be! With mummy and daddy and all their toys! They’re back at home for a long, long time, so long that That Other Place is but a distant memory… and then — BAM! They’re back in that weird place again.

At a day or two a week, it takes a lot longer to make the transition to comfort at daycare, because every day at daycare is The First Day, all over again. There is no rhythm, no momentum, just random Not With Mummy/Daddy (aka WTF) days.

But this new baby? She’s doing remarkably well. Yes, she fusses at drop-off, but it’s mild and she’s readily distracted. She accepts cuddling in a sweetly limp and cuddly way, then wriggles down to get on to the next thing.

But at random intervals, she will suddenly start to wail. In mid-stride, she stops, bites hard on the soother, and cries. Walking from one room to the next, in pursuit of the next item on her very full agenda, she stops dead and squawks.

I know what’s up. I see this a lot with newbies. That sudden, seemingly inexplicable outburst of distress? Each and every time it happens, Newbie Girl has passed through the front hall or faced the south of the house. Each and every time, she has caught sight of The Door That Eats Parents.

Exhibit One: Evil Parent-Eating Door, complete with Sad Baby.

Isn’t that just so pathetic? Don’t you just want to scoop that little mite up and make it all better? But here’s the good news! You CAN make it all better!

It’s very simple: Don’t let her see the door. If she sees the door, she remembers that Daddy left through that door two hours ago, and she is distressed. If she doesn’t see the door, she is perfectly content to toodle around, to sort shapes, to make duplo towers, to lie on Grace. (Who is perfectly content to let her.)

How do you stop her from seeing the door, which is, after all, dead centre in the front hall? The front hall, which is clearly visible from the kitchen, which is one way to get from living room to dining room, which has the stair in it, on which one MUST sit every time Mary goes upstairs to pee. (I don’t make her. She just does that (on those occasions when I don’t take her with me to pee a deux.) It’s rather sweet.)

How do you prevent her from seeing the front door, in short, when it’s pretty much unavoidable?


It’s been two hours since that went up, and we haven’t had one outburst of distress since. The dog is bewildered, mind you. She likes to snooze up against the front door, and so I am doing without my canine draft-stopper for now. But it is worth it, people.

One sheet + a staple-gun = Peace on Earth. Or in my living room, at any rate.


November 22, 2010 - Posted by | daycare, Mischief, random and odd


  1. Brilliant!

    Thank you!

    Comment by Sarah | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  2. Brilliant!

    And thank you, too!

    Comment by Jess | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  3. Ha! Good one.

    When my daughter was just about one she would wail if she saw my back. I could leave, no problem! But I couldn’t turn around to do it. I spent a few weeks backing out of the baby room at daycare, smiling and waving, as if retreating from royalty.

    Heh. I can just picture it. Funny little muffins, aren’t they?

    Comment by Robyn | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  4. LOL @ The Door That Eats Parents!

    Comment by Nev | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  5. Me LOL too.

    Comment by Nico | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  6. ROFL!!! That’s amazing!

    Comment by IfByYes | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  7. I love it! A perfect solution. I will have to try this when the need arises. I agree, once a week is not a good idea for the most part and most parents don’t understand that.

    Comment by chantelle | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  8. Worked with a little one who had physical therapy while with me. Whenever she saw the therapist, she’d freak. The therapist put on a hat one day… and all was fine.

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  9. That is hilarious! I never would have thought of such a creative idea! Go, go, gadget staple gun!

    Comment by Ms. Huis Herself | November 22, 2010 | Reply

  10. Brilliant, and it’s a draft blocker,thereby saving on heating oil. I agree about the one day. It makes every day the first day. Will she remain New Baby Girl or will there be a new blog name when you get to know her?

    “It makes every day the first day.” Exactly the problem. Yes, she’ll get a name when I get to know her, but that might not be till mid-February or so.

    Comment by jwg | November 23, 2010 | Reply

  11. Love the plan! You are one of the smartest ladies I know 🙂

    Who is Grace, btw? Is that the doggie?

    Thank you! The dog is Indie. Grace is a very easy-going 20-month-old girl.

    Comment by surya | November 23, 2010 | Reply

  12. […] mummy. Goodbyes are said, and I whisk the children to the far end of the house, far away from the Evil Parent-Eating door. Within a couple of minutes a minute and a half 45 seconds about 20 seconds seconds of the […]

    Pingback by Ring, ring… wrong « It’s Not All Mary Poppins | July 25, 2011 | Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: