A little over month ago Ezra started in a Mother's Day Out program on Tuesdays. This was a big step for both him and us, as he had never been taken care of by anyone other than his grandparents and never during the day for any substantial amount of time. But honestly, I was so so excited and ready for this step!
I talked to lots of local parents and shopped around to make sure that we found a good match for all of us. We met with the MDO director, viewed their program, and I completely fell in love. For one, the nursery is very small. Four children and one caregiver sometimes with a helper or two. The woman, Liz, who would be caring for Ezra seemed very calm and sweet and answered all of our questions without hesitation. She has been working in the nursery for almost a decade and clearly has so much baby love it was contagious. The environment seemed intimate and loving and enriching and all that good stuff we were looking for.
There was one available spot on Tuesdays and I couldn't believe our luck at how well it would work into our schedules and how genuinely impressed I was with the program. We decided that it was for us and I immediately got all excited and incredibly nervous. What would I do with 5 baby free hours? Would Ezra be scared? upset? excited? joyed? Would he cry? Would I?
Yeah, I totally did. Walking down those stairs away from my baby for the first time I cried like a baby myself.
And so did he. He has cried every time he has gone and for the last several weeks I have started picking him up after 2 1/2 hours. I know that some of it is his issues with teething, but clearly his separation anxiety is quite strong. His stance while at MDO is to cry and look at the door. Oh, the whole thing just breaks my heart.
I know that I am doing the right thing. Socialization (especially for only children) and learning how to be cared for by someone other than a parent are incredibly important skills. It's also important that I have this little bit of time to catch up on all the many things that fall by the wayside, as well as to have a moment to breathe. My plan was to use this time to clean, catch up on laundry and dishes, run any errands than need attending to, spend some needed one on one time with the hubby, and maybe (just maybe) squeeze in a workout here and there. This was my plan. Well, we all know about plans and babies. Ha!
I so badly want him to love it and to look forward to his time there. I want him to make little friends and have a ball playing and learning in a new environment. I know how overwhelming and scary the whole experience must be for him right now and that is why we have decided to slowly ease him into it. It's really important to me to not rush him or create more anxiety around the situation. A couple of hours every week until he is comfortable and then at his own pace move to the full time.
And that's where we stand right now. Every Tuesday I drop him off at 10 AM, run as many errands and do as much possible housework as the time allows, and pick him up around 12:30 PM. The poor babe is normally a ball of tears and snot when I show up and after a few minutes of my presence and lots of kisses he begins happily bouncing around the room. If only he could do that without me there! After catching up on his morning with Liz we head home. He has yet to nap at MDO so he normally crashes out within minutes of our arrival. Bottle, story, kisses, and bam- hardcore 2 hour nap.
I know that Kellen and I are his security right now. We are really all that he knows, but I am hoping that over the course of the next several months we will be able to help him feel comfortable and confident in another environment. I know that this has the potential to be such a good thing for both him and us and I have received lots of encouragement and support from my mama pals, so we will keep on chugging away, slowly but surely.
And one lovely Tuesday he's going to have a blast!
(That's the plan at least.)