This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
So MJ and I just dropped Will off at daycare for the first time.
Look, I know this is supposed to be an emotional day. As a parent I’m supposed to get teary-eyed as I walk out the door, weepy at the thought of leaving my son with non-family members for the first time in his life. And then I’m supposed to cry in my car for 10 minutes, try to peek through the windows of the daycare facility without being seen and proceed to call 20 times the first day to make sure he’s OK. I’ve heard all those stories, but that just isn’t the case.
Honestly, aside from the additional expense, I’m fine with him being at daycare.
There were no tears, no long goodbyes and no regrets on my part when I dropped him off today. Granted, my wife might feel a little different as I know she was sad leading up to this morning. But I know my son. He is happy, strong and independent. As long as there are no old people around, he will entertain himself all day long and be perfectly content. When we handed him off to Yvonne and Kelly he was all smiles, flirting away as usual.
Maybe I’d feel different if he was a fussy baby. If he was too attached to either myself or MJ, cried all the time, was a fussy eater, etc. But he’s none of those things. And while that may be a simple case of us lucking out with a good baby, I think it might also have to do with how we’ve raised him in these brief 5 months. Case in point, we took him out of the house on trips and walks at 3 days old, despite rude comments from people telling us we had him out of the house too early. We made a point not to be those parents who lock themselves away in their house and never do anything or go anywhere. And we also were adamant about acclimating Will to household noises like the dishwasher, the washer and dryer, the TV, dogs barking, etc. I’ve seen parents who keep the house deadly quiet when the baby is sleeping. No one is allowed to make any noise. We never wanted to be like that because then the baby will only sleep in silence. That’s why Will can pretty much sleep through anything now and he’s very rarely rattled by loud noises. Hell, he’s even been to a professional baseball game already and aside from crapping right through his onsie, he did great.
So with all due respect to the parents who tie themselves in knots over sending their kids to daycare…I just don’t get it. But I’d be willing to bet the parents who go a little nuts concerning daycare, are also the same parents who are still letting their babies sleep in the same bed with them. That just really irks me. I can picture them, about 18 years from now, desperately clinging to their kids as they leave for college, crying and wailing like a banshee for them to stay.
It’s times like these I’m thankful for how my parents raised me. They always let me sleep over friends’ houses, sent me to overnight camps and gave me a lot of independence. Granted when I went to college it was only 3 hours away from them, but I can honestly say I was never homesick. Not for one minute. Same thing with my brother who chose to go school in Virginia. And that’s the way I want Will to be: independent, confident and well-adjusted.
So far I think we’re off to a good start.