It’s Not All Mary Poppins

Settling In

Aaaaaand it’s fall!

The kids on the street all trundle off with their girnomous backpacks, managing to be pack mules, play street hockey, hold shrieked conversations with friends mere centimetres from their faces, and somehow make their way schoolward, simultaneously. Quite something. My own university students are back to classes. They (bless their young-adult hearts) go quietly.

The daycare tots are back, all day, every day. Routine is back. Aaaaaahhhh…

There are lots of things to love about summer. I love my time off. I love that the kids come and go, so my days are often lighter. I love the ease of getting out the door. Shoes and sunhats on five kids? Ten minutes, tops! Snow gear on five kids? More than ten. Way more. (And then, of course, some whiner always gets cold in five minutes and want to come in. When that whiner is me, I tell her to suck it up.) And oh, the freedom of daily meandering outings! My world expands exponentially in the summer!

Summer is great, but I love the fall. Just as I loved the variability of summer, I love the return to routine in the fall.

This fall, I have:
Grace and Jazz, both three. Rory has gone on to preschool. We miss him.
Daniel and Poppy, both two. Daniel is now coming only two days a week, as he now has a baby sister at home and mom’s on mat. leave. If all goes according to plan, I’ll have Daniel and his baby sister full-time next fall.
New Baby, who turned a year old last week.

Two three’s, two two’s, and a one. PERFECT! I love it when there’s a range of ages. I avoid age-clumps when I can. Though it’s simpler to have a bunch of kids all at pretty much the same stage, it makes for a sudden, dramatic drop in income when they ALL LEAVE AT ONCE. Yes, I know it’s coming and I have lots of time to find replacements, but I still find it nerve-wracking.

New Baby is Rory’s little sister, and oh MY, she’s a cutie! A featherweight pixie of a child, tiny, fine-boned, with enormous cinnamon eyes and orange-turning-auburn hair. Where her big brother often looked anxious, Newbie looks quizzical.

And shy? Separation anxiety? Clinging misery?


Yesterday, her first full day, she cried for perhaps four minutes. I carried her about on my hip — given that she weighs approximately as much as a smallish bag of feathers, this is no hardship — and from that vantage point she calmly considered the seething masses below. Within 20 minutes I was able to sit on the floor with her, then slip her to the floor beside me, and then … then she crawled off. Just like that!

This, my friends, is amazing. We’ll see if it continues. Some children arrive with barely a flutter, then have their big WTF moment two or three weeks in, when it dawns on them that this is permanent. You can see the growing realization: “Wait now. I’m here again?? This just … keeps happening.” It is not a welcome idea, and it is then, three weeks in, that the resistance suddenly makes a full and dramatic appearance. It takes about the same amount of time to fade away (three-ish weeks), it just starts later.

I won’t be making any happy assumptions before the month is out, is what I’m saying. If she’s still chirpy by Thanksgiving (our Thanksgiving, in mid-October), then I’ll breathe my sigh of relief at an easy transition.

And in a week or three, I’ll be thinking about names for her.


September 5, 2012 - Posted by | daycare


  1. It makes my heart sing when Google Readers alerts me to a new post from you Mary!

    New Baby sounds delightful. Fingers crossed for her staying that way.


    Comment by Ali | September 5, 2012 | Reply

  2. Your naming rituals are almost Native American– waiting to learn the personality and let the name find the child. I’m looking forward to hearing more about her. I’ll tentatively think of her as Chirpy.

    Heh. I like that. “Waiting to learn the personality.” That’s exactly what I do on the blog. I like your probationary name. I tend to give them name names rather than pet names for their permanent blog name, but I like it. 😀

    Comment by My Kids Mom | September 5, 2012 | Reply

  3. So glad your new little one seems good so far! Hope that continues! I’m the opposite in that I started three brothers, totally new to day care. I wish I had your patience because I’m already thinking about filling their spots…

    Oh, I’m not so very patient. I just know that this will pass. I know it’s temporary. I mean, everyone knows that in theory, but I’ve been through this so very many times, I think it takes less patience because I know it in my bones.

    Additionally? Three siblings suggests a range of ages, and at least some will be full-on toddlers, I’m guessing. I’ll let you in on a secret: I really don’t enjoy starting kids at the age of two or three. They have patterns and expectations that are much harder to shape than if you get a child at 18 months or younger. The adjustment period is longer, and, given that if they start at three I might have them less than a year, they may never gel in as well as a child who started with me at 12 or 14 months. Newbie toddlers are THE HARDEST.

    Also, also? Siblings come with built-in patterns. Sometimes that works in your favour, when one helps the other settle in, or they both provide security to each other. And sometimes, when they feed each other’s anxieties, or have bad patterns of squabbling or whining, it doesn’t. At all.

    Comment by Kate | September 5, 2012 | Reply

  4. You’re back! Thank goodness…

    Comment by Margaret Paschal | September 5, 2012 | Reply

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