The "I'm not going to daycare today" dance is what officially pulled the plug.
Why is it that by the time I sit down to have my coffee at 9 AM, I feel like I've run a half marathon (even though I've never run a half marathon, but I have an active imagination, so humour me...)?
In some ways it seemed so much easier when I was working full-time out of the home. Yes, I had a child. Yes, I was running the household, buying groceries, making dinner for the family, the main caregiver at home, picking and cleaning up after him all the time. Still I managed to get us out of the house and be at the office and sitting at my desk with coffee in hand by 8:30 AM every morning.
But I had a schedule. And I also had daycare on my side. Daycare was something that the boy was used to, as it had become part of his life from the age of 2. Before that he had his grandparents, but there came a time when fraternizing with the local Chinese seniors association was just not stimulating enough for the boy -- even my parents agreed with me there. Luckily for us he thrived at the daycare. His teachers were great, and he made a lot of friends there.
When I got pregnant with the girlie, I just automatically signed her up on the waitlist for the same daycare. I didn't even know she was a girl yet; had no name other than Baby x. I wasn't sure what our plans were at that point as I was pretty sure I would stay home with her beyond one year. I figured that by 2 years of age, I might be picking up a project here and there, even if I wasn't in a full-time gig.
The 2 year mark came and went. By this point the boy was also used to me driving him to and from school everyday. Picking up work? Hah!! Impossible.
I still had that spot on the waitlist though.
Fast forward to last fall ... at 2.5 it was time for her to be with kids her own age. Sans mommy. Because I had been so forward thinking almost 3 years before (what happened to that organized woman???!!!) we had a full array of options for the girl. Nursery program every morning or whatever days I wanted; a full time spot; a part- time spot; alternate days .... pick my poison.
We went with three times a week. The girlie LOVED it. So I picked up some work, which while was fantastic for my self-confidence and pocket book, brought on the BELCHING COUGH that I thought would never leave. The stress of work with tight timelines while still managing a toddler at home and a school-ager who still needed to be picked up from school at 3:30 pm everyday almost wiped me out.
I thought that having kindergarten in the picture would allow me to handle work again. However, a two hour window every morning is barely enough to get e:mails checked and answered. The work was becoming daunting. Daycare for the girlie, for two days a week after her morning class, seemed the perfect solution.
But perfect for whom? Ever since I signed her up mid-September, she's been anxious every night, quizzing me about whether she'll have daycare the next day. Asking me a dozen times a day, and then bawling her eyes out if I confirm that she will. Crying again the next morning as she boards the bus (and it drives away with her little face pressed against the window, tears streaming down her sweet cheeks); and crying when she's being picked up by the daycare teachers for lunch. On days that she has no daycare, she's just thrilled when I pick her up. She just throws herself into my arms with excitement, as if she hasn't seen me for days.
I'm sure it's been too much for her, the adjustment to kindergarten, all the learnings from school, taking the bus ... she's been a real trooper. The daycare put her over the edge. It's a lot of change to absorb in a few short months. She is, after all, still only three.
And still my baby. So as of tomorrow she'll be daycare free.
I'll just have to buckle down and adjust my own schedule accordingly. Working later into the night and weekends, being more efficient with my time.
But I know it'll be worth it. This mommy and girlie time, it will disappear before I know it. I just need to keep this blink in suspended animation just that little while longer.