Monday, 5 January 2009

Day One

Thanks so much for all your wishes for today. It went.....OK. Not really well, not too bad, just OK. Gracie has crashed, she's exhausted, and I'm feeling quite drained too. I didn't sleep so well last night, worrying about how we would cope, if I am a bad mother for putting my baby in the care of others.

I guess it was always going to be a little chaotic, today being the first day that the centre is open following the holidays. So even the kids who have been going there for months or years might be a little hesitant or fragile going back after 2 weeks in a different routine at home.

Grace was very interested in the new environment - she loves looking at other children, and there were of course new toys. I arrived around 830, and by the time I chatted with the carers about her routine and did some paperwork, she was getting cranky and tired. I was never going to just dump her and run, I always planned to spend most of the morning there with her, so I put her down to sleep myself.

Except that she didn't much like the different bed, in a different room, with different light, sounds and smells. So she screamed. For about 40 minutes. I couldn't even rock her to sleep, which is usually a sure-fire trick. If I haven't mentioned it before, Gracie is a champion sleeper, a great self-settler, just wrap her up and away she goes. I could count on one hand the number of times we've been unable to settle her. So it was pretty upsetting that I couldn't soothe her, on today of all days.

I kept thinking "that's it, I'll take her home. Just home to her own bed". I was so close to walking out with her. But we hung in there, and in the end gave up on sleeping (even though she was so tired she was falling asleep between howls! She just wouldn't stay asleep), and fed her instead.

After that she was fine (yes, arguably she was hungry in the first place, but initially she was more tired than hungry. I still get those signals wrong sometimes). I handed her over to the primary carer and she was all smiles and ready to play. I took myself off to the kitchen for a cup of tea to soothe my nerves (parents are encouraged to do this if they feel like it), and after half an hour looked in the window and she was happy and playing.

I checked in at lunch-time and she had just woken from a sleep and finished a bottle, and was ready for lunch.

When I picked her up this afternoon, she had only had an hour's sleep all day, and refused to settle for her afternoon sleep, but had eaten a big lunch, drunk both her bottles of milk and charmed both the carers and other kids. She was sitting in a swing chair surrounded by other children, looking for all the world like she holding court!

So today was OK. I'm sure tomorrow will be better, and next week better again. On the up side, they have agreed to try using her cloth nappies this week. (Normal practice is to supply your own disposables.) That made me very happy!


Bells said...

oh that's a great image - Grace holding court! Love it.

You survived. You both did well.

Question - does PJ get to see her during the day?

Rose Red said...

George, I know it's common in this situation but please please don't feel guilty about putting your kids into childcare. I know I'm not a parent so don't know anything much about how it feels and probably don't have any right to say anything, but I feel really strongly about this - you are a smart person and you deserve your own career. Even if that's not the reason you are going back to work (eg if it's more about finances, or whatever) you have made the decision with care, you have chosen a good centre for your kids, and you have done everything possible to make it work as best you can. Don't beat yourself up with guilt lovey, it's not going to help you or the kids. I'll hop off my very large soapbox right now (sorry and hope you don't mind my little rant). On the upside, glad it went relatively well - if the carers and the other kids like her, that's half the battle. And heck, I don't sleep well in a new bed the first night either, I'm sure she'll adapt in no time.

Donna Lee said...

I'm with rosered. It's one of the hardest parts of being a mom. You do the best you can (and I know you are). The kids will do fine and so will you. I remember going back to work and it was weird for a long time but in the end, it was for the best. I think the kids needed to see someone other than me all day long!

Geek Knitter said...

Aw George, c'mere and let me give you a hug.

You and Grace are both going to be just fine, I know it.

amy said...

Oh George you're killing me. I feel for you. And I know kids are resilient and it sounds like she'll adjust fine, but I can easily put myself in your shoes and I know it would kill me. And of course you've nothing to feel guilty about (as RoseRed and Donna Lee commented), but I also know for me, anyway, guilt goes hand-in-hand with motherhood. So I'll just say, be gentle with yourself, too. Hugs to you and Grace. xo

kms said...

hang in there, you are doing great xx

Lynne said...

Yay team [Georgie, Princess and the childcare staff!] We're all cheering for you.

knitting sprouts said...

you just took me back to that same day 4 years ago - it is so very very hard to do. I had to get people at work not to ask me about it so I wouldn't cry. But theya re amazing aren't they - I don't know a child who didn't do well in good childcare. we have our last day in 3 weeks and I am feeling very sad about that too. So go gently, you are fab.

TinkingBell said...

I am so with you - be kind to yourself, after a short period of adjustment, bot my kids adored childcare (all new toys, all the other children, people who weren't mummy) and loved going. Rosered is right - you have a good centre with nice carers - its hard but you'll all be ok! Happy New Year!
nb - Blogger is getting weirder - the security word today is eckies!

Anonymous said...

It will be okay. One thing that people forget when Mums return to work is that providing for a secure financial future for the whole family is also a valid consideration. Its not just about materialistic concerns. I returned to work in February 2007 and it was no easy decision either. I'm here to say that everything will be alright. These things take time. I've run out of cliches now. Oh, one more: take care :O)