This week Emma started at her new daycare. So, last week we had a few trial runs. I brought her to visit twice so she could get to know the teachers. And the other kids. And start to become familiar with the routines.
It sort of worked.
We first visited on Tuesday of last week. Arriving just before snack time. EXCELLENT. I could tell that Emma was deeply appreciative of my timing.** And ready to participate. As long as she could have at least three of her limbs wound around my torso. FORGET about getting her to sit in the little miniature chair at the little miniature table with her little miniature classmates. “NO! MOMMY.” She got a plate full of fruit anyway. I swear she looked smug.
Emma is shy. About some things. She noticed that one little boy didn’t finish his banana. (AMATEUR.) And decided it should be hers.
Emma (pointing to leftover banana): Mommy. ‘nana. MORE.
Me: No, Emma, that banana isn’t for you.
Emma (who would have rolled her eyes if she had known it was the appropriate way to express her emotion): MOMMY. MORE ‘NANA. EMMA!!!
We somehow got past the banana issue. And moved on. To about 20 seconds of free play. Apparently snack time segues right into circle time. I didn’t realize this. And instead, helped Emma find some toys to play with.
And that’s when it happened. Emma discovered the bin full of . . . “BABIES!!!” She squealed with delight. Cue cheesy orchestral music. Emma had found her bliss. Not only was there a bin full of babies, it also contained an assortment of baby blankets. Emma. Was. Thrilled. What’s that, darling? You’re thinking about how wonderful it is that Mommy and Daddy found this daycare for you? I mean it’s not like EVERY daycare has baby dolls! TRUST ME. (No, you do not need to fact check this with your toddler friends on Facebook.)
A few minutes later, the teachers were calling everyone to circle time.
Did I mention that Emma is going to a Spanish immersion daycare?
Emma froze. She had about three babies in her arms, all dripping with baby blankets. There was no way she was going to abandon her post. NOT. WITHOUT. THE. BABIES.
Teacher: Ay-ma. [Spanish word, Spanish word, Spanish word, Spanish word.]
Have I mentioned that I don’t speak any Spanish?
Emma finally relented and agreed to join the group for circle time. On the condition that she could bring at least one of the babies.
I think we can see who’s going to be in charge.
Circle time involved a medley of Spanish songs that I gather had something to do with: the weather, who was at school that day, and (maaaybe) aviation. Or birds. (I. Have. No. Clue.) Truthfully, the only Spanish words I understood in between “Hola, Emma” and “Adios, Emma” were “muy loco”. A teacher said this on the playground. (I’m pretty sure she was right.) Emma didn’t seem to mind. Once she was outside, she was happy as a clam. Until our second visit. When (at the daycare director’s suggestion), I mentioned that I would leave her to play for a short while and then come back.
OH, HELLS NO, MOMMY. CLEARLY YOU DO NOT KNOW HOW THIS IS GOING TO WORK. You wanna, leave? FINE. But you’re going to have to take me with you. Because I have now bound myself to you AT THE MOLECULAR LEVEL. Go ahead. Try to pull away. Just don’t be surprised if I’m still ATTACHED TO SOME OF YOUR VITAL ORGANS. I think we understand each other. Si?
As Emma’s real first day approached, I was very confident. That I was probably going to need to home school her. Through college. But, we might as well give it a shot. Right? By “we’, of course I mean my husband Dan. (I value my internal organs.) Dan did the first day drop off. Sort of. Emma was used to getting in the car with me in the morning to bring Jacob to camp. And didn’t want this routine disrupted. So she rode in my car to daycare. Dan drove up in his. And then took her inside. Where he spent the next hour. But, when he finally said goodbye, Emma actually did pretty well. Some tears. But they didn’t last too long. Same for days two, three and four. PHEW.
Buen trabajo, Emma!
**Emma has requested that I not assume that she experiences gratitude toward her parents. EVER. Or at least not until she is well beyond the toddler years.