Xander experienced his first day of day-care today. He’s stayed at home with my husband many times before, and he’s spent afternoons with my mother while I’ve had three or four hour shifts but today he experienced care given not by blood relatives and was there for a full day. Typically, he took it better than we, the parents, did.
In the morning as we dropped him off we were both down on bended knee, waving and saying nice and clearly: “Bye-bye Xander, mummy and Daddy are going to work now.” But he didn’t care, he was trying to race over to the slide or the plastic ‘Flinstones’ style cars. Even when we walked out of view all he wanted to do was run around and play with the other kids, there was no backward glance to see if we were lingering behind him like we normally would.
My husband and I consoled ourselves with the thought in a few hours when the novelty wore off he would notice our absence and become distraught. We took great pains to let the centre staff know they could contact either or both of us if he was too distressed.
Of course neither of us received a call. Blessedly I was extremely busy at work trying to ensure there would be nothing left for my boss to worry about when he returns from his leave so the day went by quite quickly for my first eight hour work day in a year and a half. I rushed back to the day-care centre as soon as possible, running a little late because (as always) a customer came in with a long and complicated sale mere minutes before closing. Everyone who has ever worked in retail knows exactly what I am talking about. Naughtily I was speeding just a little but by an incredible stroke of luck someone was speeding much worse than I and they caught the attention of the unmarked police car and not me – and of course I was scared straight by my brush with the law and maintained the correct speed limit the rest of the way to the centre.
When I arrived I found my son happily scribbling on some paper with a girl a little older than he. He looked up, looked back down and scribbled a bit more before doing a double take. He wasn’t particularly upset, but he wasn’t bursting with joy at the sight of me either. Normally when cared for at home he is ecstatic at my return so it was a little knife to my heart.
The carers told me he had been generally happy all day – he had trouble sleeping, but he has trouble sleeping even with his father and nanna so that wasn’t a surprise. I’m glad to hear his first day went so well, but can’t help feeling disheartened that he didn’t miss me more. Or maybe he is an evil genius and this is a ploy to have his vengeance for abandoning him…