We have our new morning routine. I get Eva changed and fed while Steph gets ready for work. Steph takes her to daycare, and I pick her up in the afternoon. One day, the routine changed and I had the duty of dropping her off at daycare, and let me tell you it is completely different than picking her up.
Daycare itself isn’t any different. The same, friendly teachers are there, and if anything it’s maybe a little less chaotic. I carry her car seat into the infant room, and there are already a few kids there. The teacher there welcomes Eva and me, and I put the car seat down to unbuckle her. We discuss when she was last changed, and when she’s due for a bottle. I pick up Eva, and give a hug and a kiss. Then comes the hardest part. I hand Eva over to the teacher.
I know the value of daycare. It allows Steph and I to work. It provides socializing opportunites for Eva that she might not otherwise have. The teachers here have known her for just over a week, and already they have a good read on some of her tendancies. They’ve even reaffirmed some of our beliefs, like that she is more comfortable in the noise than in the quiet. They are well trained, competent, friendly, and should be trustworthy to watch our child for a few hours.
They aren’t Mom or Dad. Their attention is spread across multiple children. They care for Eva, and may even love her, but they will never love her like Mom and Dad. They are inferior parent replacements….and I’m handing my beautiful girl off to them. She has no idea that I’m about to abandon her here, and at this age I’m not even sure she’ll miss me. When I hand her off, it feels like I’m a terrible parent for passing off my parental duties just so I can go to work.
Last week Steph’s parents visited. Since they were there, Eva skipped daycare and stayed home. You’d think that was better, but it wasn’t. Sure, Eva had two loving grandparents watching her, with only Quinton as a distraction. She had all the amenities of home, but it was more of the same. I was abadoning her. On top of that, you want to make a good impression with the grandparents, “Look at me, I’m a good parent”, but your first act of the day is to say “Hey, you take her, I’m leaving for eight hours!”
When I pick her up in the afternoon, I’m the hero. I’m the rescuer. Daddy is here to save the day. At least, that’s how it feels. The truth is that Eva is happy at daycare. She’s happy with Grandma and Grandpa. She’s well cared for, and I get to go out and make sure that the cabinets are stocked with formula and snausages.
I’m glad I had to drop her off that morning. I now get to see what Steph goes through every morning. I know it gets easier each time, but she definately deserves kudos for doing this every morning. I need to give her a hug tonight.