It’s Not All Mary Poppins

New Baby Aces Daycare

We have a new baby! Our new baby is Rory’s little sister (yay!), because Rory has gone off to preschool (boo!). But really, having NewBaby here is like having Rory still, if Rory were very petite and female. Really. This girl is a Rory clone, except that where Rory often had an anxious look on his wee face the first weeks of care, NewBaby mostly has a quizzical one.

She finds us curious, not alarming. For the most part.

She’s been here a week and a half, and is adjusting very well. There are tears at drop-off, of course. There were not tears the first day. The first day she was curious, interested in what might be around the corner in the living room, and she saw daddy off with nary a hiccup. The second day, with mom dropping her off, was a little harder. A few anxious looks. The third day, harder still. She cried as daddy handed her over.

This is all pretty normal. Many children don’t have an easy first day, of course. Many cry immediately, alarmed at the thought of being separated from mum and day, but a large number of babies do manage the first day or two easily enough. It’s the repetition of experience that teaches them this is just going to keep on happening. What started as an interesting visit is becoming (WTF?!) a way of life. A visit is okay. Fun, even! Forever? Not so much.

And the fourth day (the last day of the week)?

Oh, dear.

She didn’t just whimper, she didn’t even just cry. She shrieked desperate sobs, and clutched at her mama’s hair. She had to be physically disentangled, one finger at a time.

Poor mama.

Not poor baby? No. This baby is having an easy transition. Baby was fine in five minutes. Okay, calm and serious in five minutes. Calm and interested in ten. Smiling in 15 and a full-on belly laugh in 30. Happy-baby singing at intervals throughout the day. There were more solemn moments, during the day, but no more tears, and overall her mood was a range of cheerful, from quiet to giggling. An easy transition.

Mama, now? That poor woman carried the image of her child crying, little hands reaching out to her as she walked away, all day long. That? That is heart-wrenching.

[Update: A comment makes me realize I can’t leave it there! That was mom’s emotional reaction, of course, with which I completely empathize … and so that’s why I made sure to pass along pictures of their little darling smiling, even laughing, interacting with the others, and why, during the two most difficult days, they also got hourly texts!]

We’re now Wednesday of the second week, and the drop-offs, almost always the hardest part of the day for a newbie, have been getting a little better. Already! This morning, though there were tears, there were no shrieks, and there was no desperate clutching. She moved into my arms readily, and buried her face in my neck for comfort. Taking comfort from me with a parent still standing right there? That, my friends, is amazing.

New Baby Girl is doing very, very, very well.

New Baby Girl’s parents are doing all right. Not great, but all right.

This would be a perfect success story were it not for Poppy. You recall Poppy? Poppy, age 2 years, 2 months?

Poppy is not weathering the transition so well.

In fact, I would say that this transition has been far harder on Poppy than on either New Baby or NB’s parents.

And that, we’ll talk about tomorrow.

September 13, 2012 - Posted by | daycare


  1. Poppy is your empathy crier right? And formerly youngest of the brood? Daycare “sibling” jealousy? Glad to hear New Baby is settling well and hopefully her poor parents get to settle soon as well!

    You’ve nailed a couple of the issues bang on. Yup. Empathy crier, former baby (though shared babyness with Daniel). There’s more, though…

    Comment by anabels | September 13, 2012 | Reply

  2. What does it say about my life that I am on tenterhooks waiting for tomorrow’s post now? Poor Poppy.

    I just hope that when Arthur’s baby sister starts next month the transition is as easy. I think it’s going to be hard on my own two kids; Baby G will be jealous because MAMA IS TOUCHING ANOTHER BABY, and Ron will just be annoyed that there is yet one more ankle-biter clamouring for my attention. 😦

    I think that one of the reasons the transition is going as well as it is, apart from her basic character, is that she was at my home, at least as far as the front entry, many times over the last few months, when Rory was dropped off. (Mum and dad split the maternity leave, Rory coming part-time throughout.)

    The upside to being a daycare provider when your children are little: You’re home with your kids! The downside: there are all these other kids your kids have to contend with. Mostly my kids enjoyed the daycare — and steadily more as they got older — but there were those times of resentment, for sure. Nothing’s perfect!

    Comment by Hannah | September 13, 2012 | Reply

  3. Have you thought about sending a photo of a happy baby with “a full on belly laugh” to the mom to help ease her worry? Why have her worry all day? Or a quick text “all is well” ?

    Oh, goodness! I didn’t mention it in the post because I was focussing on Mom’s emotions, not my actions. But not to worry: I am a kind, empathetic, and professional caregiver — mom and dad both have received several pictures and, on the worst couple of days, hourly texts!

    Comment by My Kids Mom | September 13, 2012 | Reply

    • Didn’t want to imply otherwise, but my preschool time was pre-internet time too. I wish I could have given parents that bit of relief via email/text.

      Until this month, I hadn’t considered the instant mini-update possibilities of texting for work, which is silly, given that, having teen- and twenty-something children and a husband who travels a lot for work, I text quite a bit. I’m loving the instant relief that I know I’m providing a worried parent. The technology is wonderful!

      Comment by My Kids Mom | September 13, 2012 | Reply

  4. You have hit the secret to continued enrollment. Just keep providing an occasional opportunity for the parents to have an evening without the kids and more babies will appear. Will you have Rory on the days his preschool is closed?

    Comment by jwgmom | September 14, 2012 | Reply

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