Thursday, February 14, 2013

How to survive the first day of day care

Your sweet child is starting day care. None of this half day, play date, introduction bullshit. The actual real deal where you leave. For hours. What do you do? How do you cope?

Well, luckily for you I've put together this handy step by step guide on how to get through the day. You're welcome.

It's all about being prepared.
  1. In the week leading up to day care, make sure to mention how much of an awesome time the child had the previous week. Try a sing-song voice, use jazz hands and interpretive dance to convey just how amazing it really is.
  2. Run around like a man/woman possessed at 11:48pm the night before because you have only just remembered you need to label the thirty pairs of shorts and jocks you're sending along with your newly toilet trained toddler.
  3. Act like a clown on crack on the morning of the big day. Happy, happy, joy, joy and all that shit. This is going to be The Best Day Ever!
  4. When you arrive and the kid starts whingeing that they no longer want to go, despite having jumped for joy at the prospect mere moments ago, forge on in. Skip if you must.
  5. Take the obligatory "first day photo". Wonder when your kid got so freakin' big.
  6. Promise you'll be back, promise extra big cuddles, a trip to Disneyland, whatever it takes to make your spawn put away his quivering bottom lip. No matter what, KEEP IT TOGETHER!
  7. Follow the lead of the carer who suggests your child wave over the fence as you drive off. Bolt to the car and burst in to floods of tears. Drive off tooting and waving like a maniac.
  8. Come home and lay on the couch feeling like the worst parent ever despite the fact that this is going to be really good for the boy.
  9. Do ALL THE HOUSEWORK. Make a mess preparing a massive casserole, drop some on the floor and pick it up and eat it - the floor is cleaner than an operating room right now so might as well.
  10. Watch the clock. Wonder how soon is too soon to call and check.
  11. Have a cup of tea. Marvel at how it tastes so different when consumed hot.
  12. Call the day care centre. Fret when it goes to message bank four times. Finally get through and hear that your spawn has been whingeing a little bit for mum but not crying and easily distracted with ALL THE TOYS. On hearing that he is asleep at noon, feel sure that they must have drugged him.
  13. Watch the clock some more. Clean some more. Put music on with swear words just because you can.
  14. Cave in and pick up the kid half an hour earlier than you said you would. Find him sitting with his peers eating afternoon tea.
  15. When he sees you and his lip quivers and he flops in to your arms with an "oh you DID come back" sigh, burst in to tears in front of the staff. They've seen it all before and will just ignore it but the other toddlers might think you're weird though... it's best they learn now anyway.
  16. When your child hands you their first piece of "day care art" feel immensely proud despite the fact that it is just a box with red paint slopped all over it. Proceed to get teary again like the giant sap you are. Then feel a bit weird and wonder how long you actually have to keep it for.
  17. Listen to him describe how he called "Mum! Mum!" as you drove off tooting the horn. Die a little bit inside.
  18. Go home and give your kid an icecream and ask him if he wants to go back to day care next week. When he asks "Will you come back?" cry floods of tears again and promise that you will always, always come back for him no matter what.
I'm promised it gets easier. It better.

Were you a wreck on the first day of day care? Exactly how long do I have to keep the art work for?


  1. My first day care day I was a mess. I promised myself a cheeseburger to cheer me up ( I never usually eat that crap but DAMN THEY ARE DELICIOUS!) I dropped the girl child off at 9. I went to McDonalds. I asked for a cheeseburger. It was still breakfast menu. I cried. The cashier was a little surprised at my horrific over reaction.

  2. Weirdly I wasn't with my first kid, but this time round with baby 2 I have been spending a disproportionate amount of time weeping in the loos at work and catastrophising kindy related incidents like there's no tomorrow.

  3. It truly does. Eventually (within a week, in my case), he'll be shooing you away to go hang with his homies in the day care posse he's been accepted into. Don't worry, the initiation is probably nothing more than a bit of poo sniffing or random object from sandpit licking.

    Then you get more confident, feel less ill about it all, and suddenly discover the wonders of leaving the house to do stuff - anything - sans children. It's bloody brilliant.

    And then when you're not inconveniently up the duff, you discover how you too can be a Lady who Lunches....multiple times a week....FTW!

  4. Oh noes! I would have cried over that too!!

  5. We have had two mornings at childcare, and tomorrow is our first full day too. I cried the first morning, (which was only 2 hours!) but managed to keep it together last week. Have already got knots in my stomach just thinking about tomorrow! The silly thing is my daughter loves it, I barely get a wave goodbye when I leave... I'm definitely the one with attachments issues ;)

  6. you have to keep it forever. Oh and buy a crystal cabinet. That is where you have to store all the crap they lovingly make.

  7. Naww, I think I cried a bit whilst reading that. Glad you got through! You should have seen dad on my first day, Haha!

  8. Ummm... forever is a week, right? I think there's an app for it, actually. Digital copies FTW!

  9. How did the first full day go, Jane? I've never cried leaving Tricky behind before - I went away for 4 days this time last year without him and he often goes out for full days with rellies, but this is the first time he's been left with strangers, so maybe that's why I was emotional? Or, ya know, hormones!

  10. He's always been a shoo-er... and the little turd changed his tune on the day. I have a hair appointment for next week already :D

  11. First day of daycare I drove away crying, then went for some retail therapy and a movie.
    Even worse is when they can recognize 'home time' and you're running late - really late. I copped plenty of guilt inflicting lectures from my (then) 4yo over those days!
    As for the craft swag, admire it for up to a week, then put it 'away' for 'safe keeping', once darling is in bed of course.

  12. SO familiar. Mine went for only mornings and with her second cousins that she spent most of her time with, anyway. But...
    I waited outside the door in (quiet) tears until she stopped crying and hitting the door, begging for it to be opened so she could find Mama. 17 minutes. Seventeen minutes.
    We eventually got it down to five minutes. After a few years.
    Kinder was only five minutes most days.
    Prep... on the third day, she stood at the gate at lunchtime. If she could have figured out which way was home, she was going to go.

    High School isn't so bad. I figure by University, she'll be alright with leaving me.

    I may never be alright about her leaving, though.

  13. She went really well, barely even looked at me when I arrived to pick her up! I'm fairly sure you are allowed to blame anything on hormones when you are pregnant ;)

  14. Digital copies all the way! I made some of the best artwork into fridge magnets -- the gift that keeps on giving. It's the 'box craft' that gets you: the half stuck-together unrecognisable items that you eventually recycle, only to be asked "where's my moon shuttle/butterfly holder, mum?".

  15. "Safe keeping" I like the sound of that :P

  16. Oh wow :( Fingers crossed for uni then!

  17. LOVE IT! I've been looking in to apps that collate it all but I'm a bit stingey so will probably just take a picture :P


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