First Day of Day Care

Today was EH's first day of day care.  He was only there for two hours, as part of 3 "transition" visits to help both of us get used to it.  I wish I could say that it went well, but sadly, it did not.

The first sign that it might be a rough day was when he started getting fussy around 9:15 and we were expected at the day care at 10 a.m.  I knew he didn't have enough time to take a proper nap in his crib, so I put him in his car seat and he fell asleep fairly quickly with little crying by 9:30 a.m.  He woke up briefly when I first put him in the car, and then again when we got to the day care.  He was wide awake when I left, smiling at me and looking all around.  It broke my heart to leave my little smiling baby, but I knew it had to be done.

I did a little shopping for an hour or so, and then headed back to pick him.  As soon as I got to the top of the stairs that led down to the infant area, I heard a baby crying and I just knew that it was EH.  Then I thought, "No, that's crazy, there are a dozen babies down there, there's no way that it's him crying."

But of course, it was.  I guess a momma knows her little guy's voice. 

The ladies informed me that he eaten just a short while ago and that they had just changed his diaper.  They thought that's why he was crying.  He was in a swing with music playing, screaming his little head off. When I picked him up he was bright red and totally sweaty from all of that crying.  He was inconsolable and just kept screaming.  They said he was a great eater (which I knew) but that he didn't really sleep (I wasn't surprised - he's such a light sleeper.)  He was still screaming at this point so I put him in his car seat, picked up his empty bottle and quickly headed out. 

He fell asleep again briefly on the car ride home but once we got home he was a nightmare.  He was so overtired that he could fall asleep.  As soon as I could get him to doze off he would wake again with a start and pick up on his screaming right where he left off.  This pattern has been going all afternoon and evening.  I fed him, I've rocked him, I sung to him. He cries.  I walk around with him, I give him his pacifier. He cries. 

It breaks my heart, and has left me walking away feeling less than confident in this day care situation.   There are so many babies, and only three caregivers and it just doesn't seem like he's going to get the amount of attention that he is used to.  I understand that this would be the situation at any day care, not just this one.  It just breaks my heart.  After two months of one-on-one attention with his mommy, he's now one in twelve and gets very little attention.  Other than feeding and diapering it seems like they mostly put the newborns in a swing or bouncer.  I don't blame them for doing that - what else can they do? - but that doesn't mean that I'm not sad when I think about it. 

We have two more "transition" days next week and I am now incredibly nervous for those.  My day today was completely ruined by an overtired crying baby and I would hate for our last few days together to be wasted like today was.  It's just so loud there, with all of those babies, and so bright that it's no wonder to me that EH didn't want to sleep.  He's used to our relatively quiet house, and his bedroom where we turn the lights off and close the blinds when it's naptime.  This change has rocked his world so dramatically that he hasn't had a real nap at all today. "Real" naps are at least an hour long... his longest nap today was 30 minutes and there were only two of those. He usually takes at least 2 one hour naps and then a third nap that lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.  Clearly he is incredibly sleep deprived, and it seems to only be compounding on itself.  I have spent my entire day trying to console an unconsolable baby.  Proof is that I started writing this post at 1 p.m. and it's now 7 p.m.

I knew that this was going to be a challenging transition after being home with him for the last few weeks, but I had no idea just how emotionally and physically difficult it was going to be for the both of us.  I am praying that we can get back on our normal schedule tomorrow and that our two days at day care next week go at least marginally better than this one did.


Suzi said...

I'm not sure if you're feeling this, but part of my guilt was always that I imagined the daycare people thinking, "OMG this is the WORST CHILD EVEVER!" But, in actuality, it's just another day at the mill for them. They're used to it.
I don't imagine you're much of a country fan, but, check out Darius Rucker's "It won't be like this for long." ...puts it all in perspective.

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