How Things Have Changed

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April 2009

Camera cuts to a black SUV pulling into a driveway of cute little Cape house with a manicured lawn and large, fenced-in backyard. Dad turns off the car and looks nervously at his son strapped into the carseat. The boy looks around, slightly confused, because he’s never been here before. Dad gets out of the car, walks around to the side and opens the door to take out his son. They walk up to the door of the house. A cheerful woman answers, smiling brightly, arms outstretched to hug her newest addition to the day care clan.

The boy retreats immediately and hides behind his dad. Peering through his father’s legs, he dubiously checks out the woman and his surroundings. He’s unsure of what’s happening. Dad picks up the boy and gives him a big kiss and a long hug. Then he hands him over to the woman.

The boy cries hysterically and desperately reaches for his dad, who is slowly backing out the door to get to work. Dad tells the boy he loves him and not to worry. As dad walks back to his car he listens to the wails and moans of his baby boy. He turns one last time to see his son, pressed up against the screen door, yelling “Dadadadadada!” in an attempt to get Dad to stay.

August 2009

Camera cuts to a black SUV pulling into the same driveway at a high rate of speed. Dad glances at his child in the backseat who is excitedly screaming to be let out of his car seat, because he can barely contain his unadulterated glee at the thought of another day spent with the cheerful woman with the bright smile.  As dad hurriedly walks around to the side of the car, the boy is already straining the car seat straps in an attempt to free himself.

The boy runs as fast as he can up to the door to greet the woman who loves him as if he was her own. He runs full speed at her with wide open arms for his morning hug. Then, without skipping a beat, he demands to be let outside again so he can start his morning routine.

Run on the grass. Sit on the front stoop. Run to the shed. Run up the ramp. Open the shed door. Grab two baseballs and throw them down the ramp. Then run to the fenced in back yard to play.

Dad tries to corral the boy to say goodbye but the boy is long gone. Any attempts to wrangle him up for a hug or a kiss are met with resistance. He screams now, just as before, but now the screams are of annoyance. He is saying “Dadadadada…LET ME GO!”  Instead of wailing for me to stay, now he’s yelling at me to leave him alone so he can play on his own. And at the end of the day, when I pick him up, he greets me with a look of disappointment because he knows I’m taking him away from non-stop play time.

And even though Dad is happy about having found a wonderful day care for the boy, who has gained independence and confidence because of it, he is somehow saddened at the thought of not being missed. Of not having the little boy want him around. Of not being needed quite as much as before. He knows it is a sign of things to come. Not a bad thing, mind you, just one of a myriad of changes on the horizon.

They grow up so fast.

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11 thoughts on “How Things Have Changed

  1. I know it sounds terrible, but I love it when my son holds onto me and only wants me. I know this day will change but I’m keeping these momories VIVID in my mind and hopefully will be able to video it so I can show him when he’s a teenager how much he loved being around his daddy

  2. Much better this way, trust me. My youngest threw a fit for the last 3 years he was in day care. Yes 3 fucking years of screaming as I pulled out of the parking lot. 3 years of octoboy seemingly growing extra arms to hold onto me as I tried to get out the door. 3 years of being late for work because of morning tantrums. No, leaving earlier wasn’t an option because I couldn’t leave until the bus picked up the other two (well adjusted) children. As it turned out, the day care was HORRIBLE! As soon as he started kindergarten he turned into a completely different child. We had a couple mornings where he refused (quite loudly) to get on the bus with a repeat performance when I drove him to school and attempted to leave him there.

    I didn’t realize how much he hated the daycare until I saw how much he loved school. The whole time I thought it was an issue with him and it was just a shitty day care. After talking to a co-worker about the huge change in him after leaving there, she told me that same day care had given her twin grandchildren peanut butter 3 times before she finally pulled them out of there. They both have severe peanut allergies but the daycares apology was “well, sorry, but a lot of staff doesn’t speak English, so these things happen on occasion.” The more parents I talked to the more I found out about this day care. I wouldn’t leave a stuffed animal in their care now.

    So, consider yourself lucky. Good child care is harder to find than Obamas birth certificate, lol.

  3. Nice- we are lucky in that our parents provide daycare cover for us. I don’t even get a look in at the pecking order those days!

    It is great feeling though when you are the only one who can solve the worlds problems!

    Thanks

    Mark

  4. This would happen no matter what. It’s the double edged sword of raising our kids to be independent adults who can care for themselves (what we want) and letting them grow up and become independent along the way. It hurts, but in a good way.

  5. My oldest is an independent miss heading off to college nine hours away out of state. When she was four, on her first day of preschool, she turned around waved to me (she didn’t want me to walk her in) smiling she strolled into school. I went to the car and cried. Role reversal here. The youngest cried for the first two months she was in three-year old preschool, then settled down to enjoy herself. She’s a sophomore in hs now. Sometimes I miss the days where I carried them everywhere I went. It’s wonderful to be needed, but you do want them to grow up and be independent. But, yes, it hurts.

  6. I guess when they grow up they gain so many wonderful traits and become individuals. At the same time you have to sacrifice some wonderful things too. I imagine that it is tough when the kids grow up a little bit. That is still around the corner for me, but I am sure it will be tough.

  7. Don’t worry, man. He’ll be holding onto your leg and hiding behind you when you try to get him to preschool or kindergarten after such an incredible daycare situation. Believe me, I know all too well.

    You’re still Big Daddy Who Means The World!!!

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