39 weeks in the Big world!

Dear Tristan,

last Saturday you were 9 months old! You spent in the outside world exactly the same amount of time you spent in my belly… Which makes you officially a big baby now. And which makes me already nostalgic. Of what, I’m not even sure. So far, you’ve become every day a little more awesome, so there is nothing to be nostalgic for… yet. I guess I’m nostalgic because I know that time is going by too fast and, eventually, you won’t be a baby anymore. I dread the time of tantrums and school, when everything we taught you will be something to go against and defy, I can hardly imagine how I’ll feel when you’ll be mad at means say something awful which you won’t even mean, but still, it’ll hurt. Then, I’ll be nostalgic. For now, I try to enjoy every moment of you.

March was an important month. On March 7th, you officially started day care. And I wanted to write back then. I felt so bad and cried so many times that I really wanted to write something for you to read to make you understand that we didn’t really have a choice. Like you’ll even care, or remember. Oh boy. Day care was hard. On you as much as on me. The babysitter couldn’t come anymore and all the others are just too expensive, so after long research Dad found a great place for you to go to. It’s in Parkland, which it’s like the Hamptons of this area, when people are nice and rich and behave and the houses are big with acres and acres of lands, and horses hang out in their park-size yards.

The feeling, when we went to see it, was good. Compared to the other ones we checked, it was a winner. Still, many things weren’t the way I wanted them, but I had to give in. We just didn’t have any other option.

We had just got on a great schedule that was working great fo all of us, and you were content and healthy. You would wake up at 7.30, nurse, go for a nice long walk, have a morning nap around 9.30, have a snack. Have lunch with us at 1pm, playtime, then afternoon nap around 2pm and you were waking up at 3.30-4pm. Then you would stay awake all afternoon, dinner at 7, bath time, nurse, bed time. That was working wonderfully.

We went together to the day care for an hour or so 3 days the week before, and you were a little scared, and didn’t want to leave me at all. I thought it was so noisy! Even the teachers were talking so loud. The songs, the animation videos, everything was so loud!! You are not used to that. How would you be able to sleep? Lunch time is at 11am, which is ridiculous, we just got you to eat at 1pm, with us, like a family! Now we have to change everything again?!? Nap time is from 12 to 2pm… that’s when you are more awake! How are we going to manage that?! These, and other thousands questions were harassing me.

On March 7th, I asked Dad to bring you, because I knew i couldn’t manage to leave you there. He said you were fine, and I came to pick you up at 1.30pm. It was a horrible horrible morning. The cameras weren’t working and the teacher who was supposed to text me was home sick, so for hours I had no idea how you were doing. I finally gave up and called the office and they said you were ok. I came to pick you up and you barely looked at me. On Wednesday, I dropped you off and picked you up at 3pm. That day, you cried from 6pm to 5.20am of the next morning. We didn’t know what got into you but you were unconsolable. I was so upset with the teachers, and the day care, the camera were still not working well, and when they did I saw you too often in the swing, where they put you to make you sleep at 12.30, even when you had a morning nap. So that you would wake up at 2pm, and by the time you got home you were exhausted and wouldn’t even eat and were too tired even to fall asleep. We spent the whole night carrying you and there was no way of putting you down without waking you up and start screaming again. You wanted to be held, and rocked, which is something you haven’t wanted in a very long time. The next morning, on Thursday, I dropped you off and Dad came to pick you up at 4.30pm. And when I got home, at 6pm, and saw you, for the first time you didn’t look cute. Your eyes were red from crying and tiredness, your nose was all covered with dry mucus and you were kind of stinky. And you weren’t smiling. Nothing we did made you smile. You, the baby that just few days before was cracking up with laughter, weren’t smiling. That really really made me feel horrible, a horrible mother. I wasn’t able to make my baby happy.

On Friday, they said you did a little better. And during the weekend, slowly you went back to a few smiles… Meanwhile you were recovering from the cough and cold you got. From Monday, it started to be a little easier. During that second week, you started to get used to the new routine, and to adjust to the new people, the other kids, the schedule, the trip in the car. You weren’t crying in the car on the way there anymore, and at the end of the week you were okay. You smiled at me from the rug where you were playing with teacher Elizabeth, we got used to the new sleeping pattern: if you woke up at 2pm, you would crash in the car on the way back home and that nap would keep you going until dinner and bed time. So we went back to normal. By Friday of the second week, I felt positive and that this would work out.

The 3rd week started, and you were doing great at the day care! The teachers also got to know you better, and were happy to see you in the morning, and you were smiling seeing them. You were more rested when I got home and happy. Even when you were sick, you didn’t skip a day and in less then 2 weeks you adjusted. I was so proud!! They told us you were the most popular kid in the class, that all the other babies wanted to touch your super blond hair, and during the time outside the older kids from the other classes all wanted to go see “the baby boy with the blue eyes”… I felt as proud as a peacock. You were a lovable, flexible and popular baby!

So, at the end of the story, I decided that we made a good choice. It was one of the hardest things I had to do, but we managed, and you did great. I was reconsidering the two options babysitter vs day care, and I changed my mind. Maybe it’s to make me feel better, but I’d rather send you to a day care, then hire somebody to stay with you all day. I thought.. what can a babysitter offer you? Nothing more than what I could –should– give you as a mother. And, no matter what Dad says, it would be totally normal if I was afraid you’d get confused and call her Mamma. It happened to me before (to be called mamma by kids I was looking after), and as flattered as that made me feel, I was horrified thinking about how a mother would feel about that. Not good. And even if I want you loved and well cared for, I also want to give you an opportunity, to meet different people, to make friends, to spend time with other babies, to understand the concept of sharing and playing together. I want you to become flexible and be able to adapt and learn. So, all considered, less than 2 weeks adjustment time was worth it. I am happy with our choice and this is mostly thank to you. You made it so easy… you are such a wonderful little boy.

Love,

Mom

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