And as is frequently the case, all of my worry – the worry about bad things and the worry about the arguably good thing, that she actually enjoyed it there – was for nothing. Over the last year, I have marveled at how perfectly she has struck the balance between happiness at school and contendedness at home. It’s as if Annie understands that school is where she goes during the day to play and learn and be loved on by some really amazing people, and home is where Mama and Daddy are, where she is cozy and comfy and loved on by parents who pretty much think she hung the moon. And in her spot in this place of balance, baby girl has flourished.
David and I took Annie to daycare back in September 2011, viewing it as sort of a necessary evil. Financially, it wasn’t really an option for me to stay home with her. And emotionally, I don’t know that I would have been able to handle it all that well. I needed to work. Needed that part of my life. In order to be the best mama to Annie. So staying home was never really an option we seriously considered. And when we found out days before I went back to work that a spot had actually opened up for Annie in our #1 choice day care, it was a glorious day. So after keeping Annie at our house with my mom for a month while we waited for the space to be fully available, we took Annie to her first day of school pretty much hoping for the best. Hoping she didn’t get hurt. Hoping she didn’t get a reputation as the problem baby. Hoping she was reasonably happy there.
Wow, did we ever underestimate what would happen. What we didn’t think about was how awesome it would be to watch other people love our little girl. How gratifying it would feel to see her smile and wave and blow kisses at her teachers and at the other babies. How comforted I would be by hearing Annie’s sweet voice reply “Yeah!” to my question in the morning of “Do you want to go see Ms. Kim (her teacher)?” A friend of mine had told me that the people who care for your child at day care will become like family, but I didn’t really know how true that would be. I didn’t realize how concerned I would be when one of Annie’s teachers had health problems. I didn’t anticipate that I would feel genuine sadness when two of Annie’s teachers moved on to other things outside her day care (we miss you, Ms. Desarae and Ms. Chrissy!). I didn’t realize how proud I would be of her school and how fortunate I would feel to be a part of it. And, above all, I didn’t realize how reassured I would feel that she was being attended to, being cared for, being loved.
And the other kids? I had no idea how good it would be for Annie to be with other kids. I don’t say this to minimize in any way the value of a baby being able to stay home with her mama – because I recognize tremendous value in that – but, as someone who has watched her child develop physically, mentally, and socially alongside other children, I certainly see great benefit to Annie’s circumstances as well. Yes, she has a runny nose pretty much all the time. Yes, the potential is there for her to get shoved or pushed or bitten by another kid – or to be the shover, pusher, or biter. Yes, having her there means she isn’t with me 24-7. But it also means she learns about sharing with others, she learns about being kind, she learns about being obedient, and she learns that Mama and Daddy will come back for her – always.
I can not tell you how very blessed I feel with where Annie spends her days during the week. When she first went to school, David comforted me by reminding me that Annie’s world was just getting a little bigger by spending time away from home, away from us. And he was so right. I am excited to see how much bigger it continues to get.
And just to illustrate how much she loves it there, and how much fun she gets to have, here are some pictures taken by Annie's teachers. These kinds of pictures are so important to me because they show how happy she is while I'm not there. And unlike what I feared, it gives me great comfort to know that.
|Thank you, Desarae, for all of the fantastic pictures! Serious girls in this one.|
|Watch it there, Romeo. :-)|
|Trouble with a capital T.|
|Sweet girl loves her school. Photo credit: Desarae Anderson|