Daycare- The 3rd Time IS NOT a Charm...

So as most of you know, I have put Ollie in a Mommy's day out daycare program two days a week! (If this is news to you, then start here on the post, I Left My Baby With Strangers. It Was For The Best...) As you may also know, I cannot shut up about how awesome it has been for both Ollie and I.  I get time to do my thing, while he plays with kids and does his thing... WHOO HOO!!! I love it... too bad on day three Ollie decided it was not so awesome anymore, and was over it. And by 'over it,' I mean WICKED meltdown...    

And that would be what my kid thinks of daycare.
I was warned from the very beginning that even though Ollie was loving daycare on day one and then again on day two, all of that could completely change by day three. In fact, history showed day three to be the regular melt down day for most kids starting daycare. I just smiled while the director was saying this, but internally thinking, "Yeah right. Have you seen how happy my kid is here? He loves this daycare shit! We are going to be just fine..."  

My friends, I am a mother of a 2-year-old toddler. You would think by now I would know to listen to the more experienced mother/childcare professional/anyone with sense when talking about children...  Nope. Still not there yet...

SURPRISE!!  She was right.  Ollie lost his toddler mind on the third day. 


The morning of the meltdown I took him to 'school', talking it up the whole way.  I was doing my best to get him as stoked about him going as I was. By the time we got there he was excited to get out of the car and go in! I walked him back to his class, took off his coat and kissed him good bye. When I stood up to leave he held on to me like never before; Pulling at me to pick him up, screaming and crying... it was AWFUL! The teacher helped to peel him off me, while she instructed me to tell him I would be back, give him one more kiss and say bye bye. I did as I was told, and as I turned to walk away from my screaming child, I felt like the worst parent in the world. Every part of me was dying inside. I Wanted to turn around and grab my child and run.  Did I say Awful?  I meant what ever is one hundred times worse than awful.  

I stood in the hall listening to my son scream, my heart break, and the director promising me that this was for the best, and that in two minutes he would be fine. I nodded, blinked, tried to believe her...

I know in my heart that Ollie going to this play/learning group twice a week for a few hours is so good for him. The program offers stimulation this I cannot. From the interaction with the other kids, to the arts and crafts, to the toys and massive indoor play room complete with slides and cars to drive around... Ollie needs this stimulation. Not to mention, after two years of being a 100% full-time stay-at-home-mom, I need this time too.

After five minutes of him screaming and crying I could not take it anymore! The director and I agreed that I should take him home, before he was completely traumatized. We also agreed that maybe a little more might be going on... like an illness or something. I admitted Ollie had a bad sleep the night before, and was tired... I was grasping for a reason other than he just plain all of the sudden hated being there.  

Bottom line. We left. But not before I promised that this was not our last time there, and that we would be back for the next session in two days.

It was so sad walking away from his bare cubby...
I have to admit, I was disappointed that it went so horribly, and was worried that we really may not be back, or at least not to stay...

When the morning rolled around for our next 'Day Out', I had low expectations. I was encouraged that he had a great sleep, and was in good spirits, but still, he could flip at anytime.  As we pulled up to the church he was excited and happy. We got out of the car, walked inside and immediately he got down to got to his classroom yelling, "choo choo!" I followed him in, took off his coat and kissed him good bye. Again, he started clinging, screaming and yelling, "NO Mommy!"


Again they peeled him off of me, and I left... Again I stood in the hall dying inside.  Except, after two minutes he had calmed down.  He was still saying mommy, but not hysterically.  The director came out into the hall and told me to go ahead and go, and that she would call me if he lost his mind. We also agreed that I would come back in an hour to get him so he could learn to trust both them to be OK people, and me to come back for him. I left, feeling like a horrible mother, all while reminding myself how good the interaction was for him.  

When the hour was up, I went back for him and was told all went well.  He danced and sang during music time and painted me a picture during craft time!  Amazing what they accomplished in an hour. But then again, they are dealing with the attention span of a two-year-old. a.k.a. the attention span of a blowfly.

I cannot begin to tell you how happy I was that he made it through. I was so proud of him for calming down and participating in the activities. I know in my heart that this day out program is wonderful for both of us, however, getting Ollie to believe that is going to be a little harder than I thought. Ahhh the joys of parenting... 

FYI:  The director told me that is most always the third trip to daycare when the kid loses it.  The excitement of the new toys and kids to play with has worn off, and the understanding that mom/dad will leave them there has set in. She also said it could take a few weeks for the child to adjust. The best you can do is be encouraging and upbeat about the whole process. It's also important that you  trust the people you are leaving your child with are going to do everything they can to make your child comfortable and happy while you are away. 

Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer and blogger. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more on April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

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