Driving Away

Yesterday I paid the registration at day care and, as I was driving away, I got a little misty-eyed. And I didn’t have the baby with me, didn’t leave her at ‘school’ and don’t have to face that down until January 9.

But I still cried a few tears.

And then, there I was tonight, putting Elle in bed (her bed, by the way, which is where she is currently resting peacefully. I’m listening on the monitor. Sometimes, she doesn’t go down this easy, but it was a big day for her at Aunt Jill’s house!).

Anyway, tonight I put her to bed and was sitting on the floor next to her bed, staring at her through the slats in her crib (yup, I do that some nights) and it hit me (once again) how amazing she is, and how I know all her favorite things and how she likes to be held to fall asleep.

And I know that that doesn’t end just because she’s going to school three days a week…but, well…wait. Do I know that?

So, I cried again staring through the slats in the crib.

And I’m doing it again now.

What. The. Hell.

I’m struggling with – I need to be a strong, feminine, smart role model for my daughter so that she, too, will be all those things and more. And yet, how can I be that role model and IMPART the importance of that to her, when she’s with OTHER PEOPLE all day long?!

When I got to Aunt Jill’s today to pick Elle up, she was crabby. As I drove home, I realized that I saw her in the morning, got her ready to go, headed out the door, dropped her off, and then did what I had planned for the day. I picked her up in the afternoon, and headed home.

On the drive, it struck me that when we got home, she would be ready for a bath and a bottle and bed. And I realized that my life will soon be a string of days like that, when I see my baby girl for all of an hour or two each day before she sleeps again.

So, I relished bath time and dragged it out awhile longer. I took a longer time drying her off and rubbing some smell-good into her feet.

And then, I held her and fed her and rocked her good night.

So now, I have time for me. But I don’t want it right now, not when I missed a whole DAY of her little life.

In some ways, having the time off at the holidays has been great. It has allowed me to do all the things that I want to do and get ready for the holidays without the stress of having to worry about work…but yet, I feel like we’re overwhelmed with holiday plans (which I made, keep in mind, before I had this epiphany hit me in the last two days) and as a result I’m sacrificing my one-on-one time with my girl.

So, tomorrow, it’s all day.

And I’m already in my head thinking about all the ways I can spend Saturday with her without the distractions of other ‘stuff’.

This is what having a Baby Brain (hence, the blog title) does to a woman. Driving away on a random Tuesday afternoon in tears, the mere thought of getting left behind by the details of my daughter’s life choking me.

Child Care Options: The Search Begins

Child care is one of those funny things for mommies-to-be. Unless you’re one of the fortunate few who, by choice, get to stay home and raise their children, child care is a necessary…I hesitate to use the word evil here, because it’s SO not…but, it’s necessary to say the least.

I read blogs and have thebump.com’s list that tells me to begin considering child care options.

Way ahead of you, bump friends.

Contemplating child care has been top of mind since I found out we were having a baby. I travel for work — too much — and figuring out just how this was going to work has always been a point of anxiety in my world.

Today, though, some of that anxiety may be relieved.

Today, I went for my first visit to a day care about two miles from our house. I had intended on going Friday, when I had scheduled a 10 a.m. meeting with the manager of the facility. However, my boss scheduled a call for she and I to discuss maternity leave at 10 a.m. that same day — about 12 hours before my appointment at the day care was to occur.

Cue guilty feelings about how the manager and the workers would think of me, this mom-to-be who can’t get it together enough to organize her life to NOT have two meetings at the same time. I thought up every option…go to the day care a half hour early and risk the manager thinking I was off my rocker as she has a job to do. And, what if the meeting at the day care would take longer than 30 minutes. I couldn’t be a mommy who ‘sorry, have to run’ with a blackberry attached to my ear.

Shit, I really need a weeklong vacation just to determine where I can sign Minnie up for her first day care. That’s not going to happen. So, I called, explained the situation and – get this – Brandy (the manager, I just finally remembered her name, which is why I wasn’t refering to her by name earlier…blame the baby brain) was TOTALLY understanding. She said I’d probably even feel more comfortable talking to them after talking to my boss about maternity leave.

So, today at 10 a.m., I rolled into Peyton’s Learning Place. Here’s a picture:

I know, right? It’s a little, um, impersonal looking, right? A little office building-ish? I was hesitant – in spite of the fact that I went to high school with the owner of Peyton’s Learning Place (PLP) and her husband. Which is why I scheduled the visit. Needed to know what I was getting into, at the very least, and to make sure that child care is NOT one of the things I’m freaking out over immediately after she’s born.

So, I arrive. On a conference call. I was on mute and left the call early. A mom’s got to do what a mom’s got to do. The place that will be caring for and concurrently help to raise my child requires my attention, folks, and I was willing to cut out of the conference call a little early. Besides, I have all of the information they were discussing in a spreadsheet and can get the cliff notes version from a co-worker.

And…my fear of what I would find? Well, there was nothing to be scared of. The facility is new and updated. The infant room is completely separate from the toddler and older kids areas. There are cameras everywhere, so as a parent you can sign in and watch your kids from your desk. They accept eight infants at a time. The four who were there today seemed very happy, well cared for and the teacher seemed like she really enjoyed the babies. And they enjoyed her…the one little girl she was holding and rubbing her back was rubbing the teacher’s back too. It was obvious they had a bond – which quite honestly scared me a little bit.

I looked at that cute little girl, all five months of her, in her little pink onesie with brown polka dots, and felt the tears welling up. I was going to LEAVE my child here in just six short months (I know, get a grip, right?). And hopefully she’d be as healthy and as happy as this little gal. (Sidenote: I’ve started having the ‘what if’ thoughts rushing through my head about ‘what if’ she’s got severe allergies; ‘what if’ something goes wrong during labor/delivery, etc.).

But, I let that feeling pass and really tried to pay attention to what Brandy was telling me.

Food – after formula – is included in the daily rate. Snacks, lunches, etc. It’s all state-sanctioned food programs, which is nice. All of the state laws seemed to be being met (not that I know the laws, but it was nice to know THEY were knowledgable of them).

It took me less than five minutes to get there as it’s two-ish miles from our house. There’s outside play areas specifically for infants, toddlers and the older kids.

As I talked through this with my Aunt Jill, she mentioned how nice it would be to not have to look for child care options year after year (like how it could be if you went with someone in-home). And, she mentioned that you can write off a percentage of the cost of child care on your taxes, but only if you use someone licensed (not something you can do if you go with an in-home, unlicensed option, one option that has presented itself to us).

So, we’ve got six months before Minnie will start at Peyton’s Learning Place – assuming we decide to truly go that route – and three months until her arrival. I feel like we now have that part covered — and it’s extremely affordable, so I feel even better about that. And they run a really, really nice location that I’m comfortable with.

In short, the people that Minnie might meet at Peyton’s Learning Place could end up being friends of hers for her whole life. I have to say, it’s nice to see how there are other babies out there, meaning there are other parents out there in the same boat as you…dropping off and picking up their kids each day.

At least that’s one thing checked off the list and one less thing to think about.

Congratulations, self, you’re making mommy-to-be progress!