In our house, Luis does drop-off and I do pick-up; it’s what has worked for us since I went back to work when Maya was three months old. And as recently as a month or two ago, the rare mom-does-daycare drop-off resulted in tears, all-out clinginess and shrill shrieks for mama. It took all I had not to cry myself when this happened. I knew a minute after I left she’d be fine, but still … tough stuff.
Yet it was always worth it because I knew at pick-up time, she’d come RACING into my arms thrilled to see me, or rush over crying and burrow herself into my shoulders — a position I’m fairly certain I could never get sick of.
Well, this week, with Luis in Germany for work, I was dreading doing drop-off and pick-up. In addition to it being time consuming, it’s also emotional — for both of us! But while it definitely makes for an extra-harried morning (and makes me miss Luis more than ever — as well as his two hands on deck to help me out!), it hasn’t really been that bad.
In fact, she’s done awesome. After we check in at school, she smiles and waves and says “Hi” to whoever we pass, walks herself into her classroom, marches in like she owns the place, finds her [older] friends who are saying “Hi Maya!” (or goes to a teacher’s open arms) and turns to me and says [insert tear] “Bye-bye, Mama” in the sweetest, breathiest, softest little voice you can imagine. It’s beautiful. She gives me a kiss and we’re off. No tears, no drama. No nothin’!
Ah … but at the end of the day now, when you’d think she’d be elated to see me (haha!), she HIDES when she sees me coming! She gets this wild grin on her face — the double dimples in full swing — and then seeks shelter in the play house, behind a bookshelf, in a chair … anywhere but my longing arms that miss her sooo much all day. Sometimes I literally have to chase her around the room before a knowing teacher scoops her up and puts her in my arms.
I know it’s all age-appropriate behavior and completely normal. She’s growing up, asserting her independence, and telling me — in her own little word-less way — “I’m OK here, Mommy. I like it here. I have fun here. I’m fine.”
But it still stings a little. I’m not gonna lie — I miss those days of clinginess to some extent. I love feeling needed, wanted. Who doesn’t?!
But I’ve gotten that opportunity at bed-time this week. She’s been putty in my arms, conking out before I can even rock her and not jolting awake when I put her gently in her crib.
Nights like these, I just hold her a little longer, whisper “I love you soooo much,” and squeeze her little body a little tighter. I know she won’t be this small and snuggly forever, and there will come a time when she’s a sassy tot or teen …
But for now? She’s the epitome of joy. Pure joy. And at 19 months old [yesterday!] she’s growing up before our eyes.
Where’s the time-stopper?!