Jan 17, 2014

I Left My Baby With Strangers. It Was For The Best...

Ok. So they weren't really strangers, but an hour earlier they were...

A few days ago a friend called to let me know she had just finished checking out a 'Parent's Day Out' (PDO) program at a church very near to where I live. She said she loved it for her two-year-old daughter, and had a feeling I would love it for Ollie too. This was beyond epic coming from her because she has over ten years of experience caring for children; From private nannying, to Autism care counseling, to dealing with juvenile delinquents in a state mandated facility. This chick knows the child care business in and out.

She. Had. My. Attention.

She went on to tell me that she spent two hours drilling the the director, quizzing the teachers in each room, and inspecting the facility's toys and play areas. The place came up clean. She had no complaints. By the time I hung up with her I was super excited to check it out. Plus, I was more than ready to take Ollie to a daycare for a couple of days a week. Well, at least that's what I had been telling myself the past month...

24 hours!  That's service.
Wait...
Isn't that a kidnapper van?

On the morning we were scheduled to go check out the preschool, Ollie had another terrible night of sleep, or lack there of. He was up at 2am and every hour or so until he finally got up as 5am. Needless to say, I was not well rested and super annoyed. I was so tired that I was ready to drop his ass off with Gypsies to get some sleep.

The entire morning I talked up the PDO program to Ollie.  I kept telling him how he was going to play with friends, and run around and climb on new toys, and how it was going to be so much fun!!<Insert one thousand exclamation points>

As I walked him into the church I felt good.  This was the right thing to do!  Ollie is almost two years old, so it's time for Learning...

1. Socialization
2. Organized play
3. That if you take shit off of kids/people, they will take it back and yell in your face-- Unlike mommy who makes crap threats and gives a hundred word explanation why that is bad.
4. If you hit people they will hit you back.--Unlike mommy who makes crap threats and gives a hundred word explanation why that is bad.  Yes, there is a pattern here...
5. Organized learning of numbers and colors-- not mommy with cheap flash cards singsonging Reddddd...YEllllloooooow...
and last... something so important...
6. Mommy can go out alone!  <Insert One Zillion exclamation points.>

Once we made it into the daycare/preschool area, I found my friend talking to the director.  Both gave Ollie and I warm wonderful smiles. I was really feeling so good about this!  The director and I exchanged pleasantries and then Ollie and I were shown around.  Still feeling so good...

Last we were shown into the room that Ollie would be in, "The Twos." She introduced us to the two teachers and three littles already hard at play. The director closed the door gate behind her leaving me standing in the middle of the room... holding Ollie as tight as I could.  The teacher looked at me, then Ollie, and asked if he wanted to go see the train table.  I looked at her and said, "Do parents normally start crying at this point? Because I think I am about to." (No shit you all, I said that. Out Loud.)

Shit.

I lost my courage.

Ollie looked at the train table and begged to be put down.  The teacher showed me to a teeny tiny seat and offered it to me.  I wanted to ask her is she was blind, because no way was my ass fitting in it, but in lieu of fainting, I took it and sat down... somehow...

Over the next five minutes I asked questions and tried to keep my shit together.  Once Ollie had settled down they encouraged me to go join my friend on the bench outside of the preschool rooms so Ollie and I could see how we felt about being a part.  I dutifully peeled my ass out of the plastic Barbie chair, told Ollie I would be right back and asked for a kiss.  He obliged and turned on his heels to go back to the train table... WTF?  What about mommy???

I let myself out of the gate and found my way to the bench... well, I took a picture of me leaving him, and him not caring...



After 10 minutes... nothing.  Not even a,  "Where's mommy?"  When I peeked my head around the corner I found him pushing a truck around the floor, happy as I left him.

Ok. This is a good thing... This is a very good thing... So, then why do I want to cry?

The director recommended I go get a cup of coffee or run an errand or two for an hour or so, then come back for Ollie. Since I did not bring a diaper bag, snack or lunch, I was limited on time anyway.  You all... I didn't bring that kid jack shit to left somewhere for a few hours. DUH!  I honestly did not even think to bring anything!  I guess as much as I thought I wanted to leave him with gypsies, I was not as prepared to as I thought!

Again, knowing it was the right thing to do for both of us, I left. I left my son with strangers.  I left him with three women I had known for an hour.  I left him in a room with kids I did not know.  I left my son.

It felt good.  It felt really good.  I have mentally preparing for this for a while now. I knew this would be so good for him, and myself.  The socialisation, the structure, the space to run, the learning... The class puts an emphasis on learning numbers, colors and the alphabet in a playful way.  I was just so impressed with it all. This was a going to be a Godsend...

I took this photo as I walking out.
My Little's first coat hook.
Awww.  I think I may cry!
Once in the car, I waited for the tears, but they didn't come. Still, I didn't leave. I didn't know where to go, or what to do. I was fully overwhelmed by what was happening.  I was so torn between how good it was for him, and for me, and that actual act of leaving, trusting these strangers to care for my son. wow.  Eventually, I left.  I drove around, got a coffee... and could not wait to go back for my boy. I missed him so much.

Once back, I found him happily playing.  When he saw me he gave me the biggest smile ever, my hearted melted. #Motherhood #Bliss He looked at the teacher, pointed at me and yelled, 'My Mommy!' Oh my God you all... SO AMAZING!  He ran to the gate, I let myself in and squeezed that little boy so hard... I was ready for Mommy's Day Out to Be over.

If you are a stay-at-home-parent, I absolutely cannot recommend a PDO enough!  I admit, it was hard for me at first, but I am so glad I did it. The benefits of this program have been amazing so far. I cannot wait until next week.  I already have a two page list of things I have put off that I need to do during my next Mommy's Day Out.  But then again, I may just drop him off, and come home and take a big fat nap...

**For those of you who do not know, a PDO-Parents/Mommy day out program differs from day care in that is not full time, or even more than once a week if you want.  They range from one-hour to full day. Daycare is normally full-time, pay upfront and if your kid doesn't turn up, sorry about your luck and money. PDO is more flexible. Mine is $22 a day Monday and Wednesdays, from 9:30-1:30 with the option to pay $5 extra to drop-off/pick-up one hour earlier/later.


7 comments:

Alissa said...

Yay!!!! Good for you momma for making some you time. A what a great way for Ollie to get some interaction with other kiddos. Isn't it the best though when you come back and their eyes light up and they run over to you and say "Momma!". James loves daycare he has so much fun but the absolute best part of my day is picking him up and seeing how excited he is te see me. Funny though isn't it... when you get free time... and then you don't know what to do with yourself. It's starting to happen to me more and more now that Micah is less needy. Once both boys go to bed I seriously don't know what to do with myself. Some nights I sit there and just contemplate... and then the night is over and I haven't done anything!

MumsMusingMind said...

Couldn't. Stop. Laughing. I feel the same way even though I feel like I should be used to it since I've been working for the past year. At fist she cried which made me secretly feel good inside (She was with my mother in law so I felt ok leaving her like that knowing she'd be ok in 10 minutes.) But when I leave her with my girlfriend, it's like she doesn't even care that I'm leaving. Agreed, every parent needs a day/time off. But I somehow always feel guilty when I don't actually have a reason to ask someone to watch her. Glad you got to have some me time and share your experience!

April FirstTimeMom said...

So I am not alone on this? I do the same thing, the minute I am kid free I am confused? What the hell is that????

April FirstTimeMom said...

Thanks! Me time is so important. I just hope next time I get it, I foo something good with it!

AussieMummy said...

Omg I'm moving to the US... $22?!!! There is nothing that cheap here. Even casual care is a minimum $10.50 per hour. So jealous, enjoy your free time mumma!

Layes Landing said...

I just loved this post! I too am that mother crying when she drops off a near-2 year old! I get no sympathy from friends who have had theirs in daycare since 6 weeks of age. So of course I really enjoyed reading about your experience! Now get your friend to tell me what I am supposed to be checking out before I choose a program!

Unknown said...

I had no issues (really) with PDO, but now that I registered Boo for preschool, I find that I am dreading it, lol. I cried at the sign up meeting. Of course Boo thought I was nuts.

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