Safe to say that nothing can fully prepare you for the jarring and incredibly horrific experience of dropping off your child at daycare for the first time. Yesterday, our family was put through the gauntlet and, aside from a few tears and panicky daydreams, we survived. For us, though, there’s so much more to it because it was not only Ellison’s first day at school, but it was mama’s first day back to work as well. Saw the dogs at lunch and they thought that the family just upped and left altogether. Obviously, Jackson didn’t have even the slightest problem with that at all. Here’s how the schedule goes:
0400-0500: Daddy wakes up, tells mama to turn off the monitor that rests practically on her forehead and closes off the bedroom and moves to the kitchen to an already-prepared pot of coffee and tries to sneak in one cup and a few emails before Ellison starts waking up. Early bird gets the worm.
0530-0600: Usually little Ellison begins stirring a bit and I retrieve her for feeding. Then we sit around and listen to Jimmy Cliff and laugh at each other. Really, she thinks I’m funny.
0600: Mama’s first alarm goes off and she sleeps right through it.
0605: Ellison goes into the swing to col’ lamp for a bit. And she col’ lamps. Meanwhile, I continue to do assorted duties in the kitchen. Maybe iron a shirt, eat some breakfast, clean dishes. Ellison sleeps right through it.
0610: Mama’s second alarm goes off and she, again, sleeps right through it.
0615: Pa goes to wake up Ma by turning on the news. I give the option of local (local NBC affiliate), national (CNN) or global (BBC).
0620: Mama is up and running and getting ready for work. I continue to chill with Ellison and am taking her musical exposure to slightly more challenging recordings. We’re working on getting into Eric Dolphy at this point.
0645: Mama’s ready and wanting to spend time with Ellison. The swap occurs and I start getting ready for work. Mama gets Ellison’s luggage ready for school if she hasn’t done so already. It consists of eight diapers, three bottles with corresponding portions of million-dollar formula already broken down into the individual feeding portions, three nibblers (pacifiers), couple of bibs, change of clothes, a blankie.
0720: I’m starting to make a motion to the car and will usually hold the duty of getting Ellison out to daycare. You gotta be early to not get trapped by all that freaking traffic. You miss that window of opportunity to split the Amarillo grid without getting stalled behind not-so nimble two-ton pickups and earthcrushing SUVs, it absolutely crawls.
0725: I’m leaving at this point with Ellison in tow.
0740: Drop off. Do it “like taking off a band aid” as my lovely wife so eloquently put it. That’s how I do anything that’s emotionally excruciating. Just rip that sucker off. Worry about damage later. The longer it takes for you to dump the kid off, the more you think about it. The more you think about it, you hate yourself and think that you’re a bad parent because you haven’t yet found a way to spend every waking hour with your child. You think about why in the hell you didn’t work harder in college to ensure a better job that could support an entire household on one income alone. You think about what Ellison’s gonna think when she wakes up and her parents are there. A million different disaster scenarios go through your head. What if there’s a tornado in December, some freak weather occurrence? What if there’s some sort of carbon monoxide emission that no one detects? It’s stupid. Your brain goes a mile a second. Just hand her over, kiss her on the forehead and leave. You gotta make that cheddah.
0800-0500: Here’s the time that you spend freaking out wondering what your child’s going through. You’re squirmy. The uncertainty gets the best of you and you’ve become completely overwhelmed by not knowing your child’s condition. I was advised by my lovely wife last night to drop in unannounced to see what really goes on there when you’re not around. I told her that I’m doubtful that it’s any different than when you are there. Reputable daycare facilities probably don’t have someone posted by the front door looking for approaching parents like a jiggaman. Like if you’re not there, they’re using your child as a volleyball. Imagine that’s just typical parental anxiety. That one I don’t necessarily share. I trust these people. Call me naive.
0515: Pick up. Best part of the day. Not quite used to having to pick up someone on the way home from work. That’s really different. My after-work life used to be pretty simple. Even after Ellison arrived, I just hopped in my car and came home. On the way out there, I ready up some good music for little Ellison so we can enjoy an nice car ride home.
0530: Arrive back at the house to an anxious mama bear who wants nothing but to hold Ellison for about three hours. Ellison will happily oblige. Rinse and repeat.
It’s a hustle. F’real. Nothing cute about it. My lovely wife asked me last night, “So, you only get about two hours with your baby before you’re getting her ready for bed?” I nod. “That sucks.” As if ultimately surprised by how sad the “working mom” life is. I don’t blame her. It does suck. But it’s an old hat for me now. The only thing I miss out on with this new schedule is lunch with the kiddo. That and knowing that Baby Ellison is with her mother all day. Ultimate plan is to get rich quick so that one of us can stay home with our baby all day. If I come to you asking if you’d like a vacuum demonstration, just entertain me. Smile and nod your head. And please buy a vacuum.
I did go out at lunch yesterday (announced) to check on Baby Ellison and found her sleeping soundly in a crib. The nurserymaster said that she was a little fussy at first, but had a wonderful morning. Ate well. Loved to be held (usually meant she had a little screaming episode…I gather). And slept pretty soundly.
Here goes round two which my lovely wife has assured me will be worse than the first. Not sure how she knows this information.