Wednesday, May 17, 2006

First Day of Day Care

I scurried home from my Wednesday morning men's Bible study meeting,
hoping that my wife was up (she had her first day of seminar this
morning) and that my daughter was starting to stir (not yet asleep so
that I'd have to roust her up, but not so awake that she was starting
to whine). And in fact, as I opened the front door, I heard Jada
talking to herself and Amy in the shower upstairs.

I burst into Jada's room and excitedly told her that today was indeed
a special day, for she was going to day care for the first time. I
changed her diaper, got her clothes on, and read to her from the Bible
-- our typical morning routine -- with a few minutes to spare, to race
to the kitchen and get her food for day care out of the fridge and
into the big bag Amy had packed the night before.

Amy and I had decided I would drop her off, and she would pick her up
-- Amy dropping her off might be too hard for Jada, after all, her
being a mama's girl. So I threw Jada and the big bag into the
stroller and we were out the door and down the street.

Four blocks later, we arrived at the day care place. It was kind of a
crazy scene -- me schlepping the stroller and bag up the stairs and
through the narrow door, looking for the day care worker we'd met the
week before, being told she was on vacation, finding a place for
Jada's stuff, and finally placing Jada down in the middle of her
classroom. A friendly boy with blond hair came over and gently
touched her shoulder. Jada surveyed the room, saw all the toys and
crafts, and looked over at me with a smile. I kissed her on the
forehead, gave the day care worker Jada's food, and walked out of the
room without looking back.

Fast forward over nine hours later, to 5:30pm. I was still at work –
late, trying to get a task done before I left for home. I called Amy
to see if she'd gotten Jada. She had. "And?" I asked. "Well, when
I got there and asked them how she did, they paused," Amy started. Uh
oh. "Oh no, what happened," I asked uneasily. "They said she only
slept for an hour during nap time."

That's it? That was their big complaint about how Jada did? I was
guessing she'd sleep half that amount, if she could fall asleep at
all, what with a new environment and so many kids and distractions
around (compared to her usual nap environs of complete darkness and
silence in her own crib). "Yeah, it looks like she did really well,
and she had a good time," said Amy.

I was on cloud nine. My little girl had survived her first day of day
care, and not only so but seemed to enjoy herself. She even made a
painting, which I saw when I got home (and which we promptly hung up
on our refrigerator). Life is good.

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