My daughter made it through her first week at daycare, and I think she might have handled it better than I did. As my family piled in the car Monday morning to drop Reese off, I grappled with a sense of dread. I had known this day was coming, and I’d tried my best to prepare for it. But as I dressed her, fed her and strapped her into her car seat, I fought back tears.
The tears won the battle when we made it to Reese’s classroom at the daycare. The other children were eating breakfast, so we sat Reese down at the table and gave her some apricot pieces and prunes. She immediately picked up the food, put it in front of the little boy sitting beside her and frowned at my husband and me. As we inched toward the door, she began to cry. I went back to comfort her a few times and probably needed some comforting myself because I could no longer blink back the tears at that point.
Eventually, Reese’s teacher picked her up and started to show her some of the toys in the play area. While she was distracted, I made a break for it, but my husband lingered. From the hallway, I hissed at him to hurry up and follow me before Reese could look back. Somehow, though, it seemed mean to duck out when her head was turned.
After a teary 20-minute farewell, we made it to the daycare parking lot. Neither of us felt much like talking, though. It probably would have upset me more if we’d dissected the whole experience. We both headed off to work.
When I called Reese’s daycare at lunchtime that day, I was told she was adjusting fine. She ate plenty at lunch and played with her classmates, but refused to nap. I figured that would happen since Reese usually skips naps when she’s in a new environment.
When I arrived home that evening, I couldn’t wait to scoop Reese up and hug her, but I found her sound asleep in her crib. My husband said she had been napping since he’d picked her up from daycare. Apparently, her first day really wiped her out.
Each day since then has been easier, which is a relief. However, I still find myself wondering countless times a day what Reese is up to, whether she’s eating well, napping when she should, playing nicely with her classmates and, most of all, I wonder if she misses me. I think she does, but not half as much as I miss her.