Yesterday afternoon Jacob and I went to spend some time at day care. It was an interesting experience. Not having gone through day care myself (I'm not sure I knew anyone that did when I was a kid, actually), I wasn't entirely sure what to expect. I mean, we got an initial impression of day care when we did our tours, but we didn't really spend any significant time anywhere to see how things worked on a day to day basis. As a whole, I came out feeling equally happy and sad about sending Jacob there on Monday.
Miss Sandy, the infant room "teacher", is really nice. She's a grandmother, so she absolutely loves babies, and was tickled to have a little baby like Jacob coming in. The other three babies in the room look like they're somewhere between 4-6 months. All three were adorable, smiling, playing, and rolling around. One was a little Italian girl with an impressively long name (and we thought Jacob would always have that claim), one was an adorable little Asian girl, and the other was a little boy with terribly problematic acid reflux, a throaty cry, and a killer smile. While we were there, the babies were fed, changed, and put down for naps. In between, they played...which pretty much means they sat on the floor supported by Boppy pillows and picked up toys. I will say my biggest reservation about any day care is the sharing of toys. Everyone knows that babies explore with their mouths, and I can see a long winter of colds and ear infections coming right up. Ugh.
Soothing music played in the background. Everything was very well organized, from the diaper storage to bottle storage to everything being written down in log books. They have a no shoes policy in the room, and everything seemed very clean. The babies seemed very content and everyone just seemed to love them like crazy...to the point that one of the preschool teachers comes in on her lunch to play with and feed the babies.
I have no doubt that Jacob will have a good time there and will be well taken care of. I didn't see any red flags while we were there, so that's good. Originally I figured that taking my six-week old baby (now seven, since I took my extra week of vacation) to day care would be heart-breaking. As I neared the end of my time off, I started to think it would be more of a relief. I've come to the realization that I may not be full time stay-at-home mom material. If given the chance, I'm sure I could do it, but I would definitely need to put a major effort into finding things to do, groups to join, etc. I could definitely do it part time, though. Anyway...after weeks of being home alone with Jacob, I was thinking day care would be a bit of a relief, getting me back to some variety and making my evenings at home with him that much better. In addition, I figured that any stimuli that I wasn't giving him here, he'd get there, which will make him a more well-rounded baby. However...the longer I was there, the more I realized how much I'd miss him, how much it would kill me to miss his smiles and not be there for him when he cried. I've always cringed at the thought of someone else spending more time with him than me, in some cases practically raising him. An hour in the morning and a couple hours in the evening just doesn't seem like enough, does it? And considering his penchant for just wanting to eat all evening now, I'm not really getting the best version of him then. Oh, and did I mention that his second go-around at formula made him extra gassy and I'm worried about that becoming a major problem? It's not fun to see him in pain, so now I don't know what to do about the feeding situation.
I'm trying not to think about it all too deeply, because the truth is sobering. I'm just trying to stay on the surface, where I know that this has to happen, that I'm still his mother, and that it'll be a good thing for him to learn and interact in a different way. But in the meantime, I'm going to hug him a little more, keep him close in his carrier a bunch, and try to savor every last minute of today, my last weekday home with him. We have a fun weekend ahead of us, but I think I'm going to be a little haunted by the craziness that awaits on Monday morning--getting up early, getting both of us ready, and getting out the door by 8:30 or earlier. At least I've already got his bag of stuff ready to go (minus the daily bottle supply), and have labeled all of his (clean) clothes and most of his bottles. I may drop most of it off today if things work out. And most importantly, I've already emailed myself one of Jacob's smiley pictures to put as my wallpaper at work. I'm hoping it'll make me smile, but I'm hoping it doesn't make me miss him that much more. Only time will tell...