I can't even type those words without wanting to simultaneously breathe into a paper bag. I've done a lot of research on day care centers in our area and we already chose one that's close, convenient and came highly recommended by lots of friends and co-workers. We visited many day cares while I was pregnant and I even visited this particular day care a second time before filling out the necessary paperwork just to be SURE that it's the perfect place for us. And it is, I know it is. But this morning I had to talk to them about starting Sylvia a week earlier than I had originally planned, so instead of calling, I thought she and I could go pay a visit so I could see the place one more time and ask them a million more questions that have come up since she's been born. No biggie, I thought. We'll just go take a peek.
The good news is, it's just like I remembered it. The nursery room for infants is lit with small lamps and has soothing music playing. Each sweet little crib has each sweet little baby's name on it, so she'll have her own little space to sleep and chill out. They have lots of toys which I know she will love. There are swings and bouncy chairs and a huge assortment of other baby-friendly things that we just don't have at home, so I know she will absolutely love it. The young college-aged girl who works in the infant room is very nice and seems more than capable of taking care of many babies. In fact, it was clear that the babies there all love her. Sylvia smiled when she said hello to her, so I know she'll take very good care of my baby. Also, and most importantly, the whole place is...quiet. Every time I've been there I make a point NOT to call ahead, to just "pop in" and talk to them about a few things, and every time I'm always so impressed by how mellow and calm the atmosphere is there. Of course, there's a fussy baby here and there, but I've never heard more than one baby at a time crying and that one crying baby is only crying for a minute before someone comes to soothe it. As a former daycare worker, I know that this is nothing less than a miracle. These people know what they're doing and I know in my heart that it's the right, and best, place for us.
But you guys, that was hours ago, and I'm just now returning to a normal breathing pattern.
I strapped Sylvia in the car when we left, climbed into the front seat, shut the door, and proceeded to hyperventilate. I was looking at her in the rear view mirror and saying things like, "Isn't that place great, honey?" pant, pant, pant..."You're just going to love it there!" pant, pant, pant...heart about to explode..."You'll make so many new friends!" pant, pant, pant...burst into tears. And I didn't even leave her there yet! I don't have to leave her there for another month! Poor Sylvia has a basket case for a mother.
As I drove around running errands, I had to calm myself down. I reminded myself that this is what's best for us both. She'll be around other babies and I get to be around adults again. We picked a wonderful place and I really am excited about going back to work. I have a teacher's schedule, so she doesn't have to be there every day - we get lots of days off, including holidays and, oh yeah, summers. She's really got it pretty easy compared to most babies in day care. It'll be fine. It really will be fine. She'll love it, I'll love it, everyone will adjust accordingly and our family will be A-Okay.
So why do I feel like I need a stiff drink? Perhaps because I know there's just no substitute for a mom.