Baby smilingTHIS week was the start of a thousand tears. My baby girl made her first leap into childcare. OK, so it was only for an hour for orientation. And the tears? Well, they were all mine. Yes, we can see who has the issues here.

So, after that first experience, these are the things I know:

  • This could be the longest orientation period of any child at that particular childcare centre. Baby Holly clung to me like cow excrement to a gumboot.
  • Over the past year she’s been happy to go to anyone for a cuddle, but two weeks ago she suddenly became shier than an 18-year-old after their first night on the town. Wishing we had have started two weeks earlier now.
  • A large part of the problem may be the vibes she’s getting from me. I know I need to chill out – or drink a shot of vodka beforehand. Or maybe not.
  • Bringing her big sister into the room was a great idea, because she loosened up a little. Even if her big sister was more interested in going back to “her friends’’. “I need to go and see what *Gertrude’s doing’’. Of course you do, darling. Don’t worry about your mum and your sister. We’ll just continue our mini meltdown.
  • There will be quite a few tears in the coming weeks – from her and me!
  • Now, at age four, her big sister wants to go to “school’’ every day and happily tottles off without a backward glance. I need to keep remembering this early period of trepidation will be short lived.
  • If we make little progress in the coming weeks, I know I need to just walk away. Even if it means crying for an hour in the carpark. In Ella’s early days, she always settled within seconds after I left, proving that sometimes it’s us mums who are the problem.
  • Take tissues. Lots of tissues.
  • My little girl is growing up all too fast. Please, someone, hit the pause button for me.

*Not her real name. Heaven help us if it was.

I’m linking up Shae from Yay for Home’s Things I Know.


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33 Responses to How to survive your baby starting childcare

  1. Kate Sins says:

    Am I going to sound like a real lush by asking why not have a vodka?!? It’s funny that often we have a harder time than our kids. Just goes to prove how much we love them. When you find that pause button could you sling it my way? Time is passing way too quickly..
    Kate Sins recently posted..Things I know…or don’t… What’s the fascination with Ikea?My Profile

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! Will certainly send the pause button your way once I find it, Kate! Now that I’m not breastfeeding as often during the day, I think a vodka or two might be in order. 😉
      Have to agree with you, that it’s definitely us mamas that suffer more than the kids! x

  2. DanniiBeauty says:

    I can so relate to this! My daughter is 25mths old and I am starting orientation with her in four weeks. I took her in yesterday to see the childcare centre and have a few minutes of play and she was so shy, clung to my leg and wouldn’t say anything ( complete opposite to what she is at home!) I felt so sorry for her after a few minutes she did walk around ever so quietly touching a few toys here and there.

    I thought this might be easier second time around (I cried for two hours in the carpack when my son started childcare, that was seven years ago!) but it’s not. I know eventually she will settle in but it’s the initial few weeks that are always the hardest.

    • Kel says:

      So true, Dannii. If only it were easier. Baby Holly has started to become shy around even the people she is usually quite comfortable with, so I’m taking this as a phase. I recall Ella went through it at about the same time. I just hope we move through it quickly!
      Bracing myself for another stint at childcare tomorrow. Trying to think positively!!!
      Good luck to you too, Dannii. I hope it’s a smooth transition. x

  3. Nee says:

    I’ve been meaning to send u a message all week. It’s cliche but you know this too shall pass. She’s so going to love it. You’re going to love having some extra time to yourself. But heck – while you are in the throws of this tough time, why not enjoy it a little? Relish in the fact that your baby girl is still your baby for the next couple of weeks. Steal those extra cuddles & soak up the fact that you are the centre of her world before all the Gertrude’s come along & take her attention. Oh and have the damn vodka.
    Nee recently posted..I know I’m socially dysfunctionalMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! Nodding my head at the vodka comment! 😉
      Oh, for sure, Nee. I’m certainly making the most of this time we have together. Well, trying to, anyway. It’s hard to believe we’ve arrived at this point already. x

  4. Ai Sakura says:

    Ooooo this has been on my mind recently! My girl is about 28 months now and she is fine with being away from me for the whole day because I’m a FTWM. But she’s being taken care of by my mum… We are thinking of putting her in childcare/nursery so that she can socialise and play with other kids her age but I don’t know.. getting a lil anxiety like how she would be with strangers the whole day. Or should I just put her there a few hrs a wk or something… :/ She is very outgoing but *sigh*…
    Ai Sakura recently posted..Things I Know: Little Girls Love Dress-UpsMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      It’s such a tough decision to make, Ai. And one that you have to be totally comfortable with.
      Most childcare/daycare centres will allow you to do an orientation period for as long as you need. So you can build up to her doing a full day by herself.
      Our experience with Ella in childcare two days a week has been an incredibly positive one. It’s certainly helped her social skills, allowed her the opportunity to do things that we aren’t able to do at home (like group-based play) and (strange as it sounds) helped build her immune system. She was sick so often in that first year of childcare, but is now able to fight colds and illnesses better than before. I think this will bode well for her when she gets to school, because she’ll have less time off school when the sick season comes around!
      The downside is going through those initial few weeks of separation anxiety.

  5. You know, it doesn’t matter how many times you go through it, it’s still emotional. I cried every time each one of my kids started childcare, preschool, school, high school….ok, and when my teens started work.

    My baby is starting BIG school next year. I’m teary now just thinking about it.
    Tina ~ Tina Gray {dot} Me recently posted..Things I Know – school holidays editionMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      LOL!! Oh dear, Tina. I have a lot of tears in my future, it seems!!
      I have Princess Ella starting BIG school too next year. She can’t wait! I’m less enthusiastic! 😉

  6. It’s so hard that adjustment period, but before you know it she’ll being going off happily and you will be all hey don’t you miss me a little bit? I’m thinking of starting the twins next year, bit nervous about it and not sure if I can afford the jump in child care fees
    Kate @ Puddles and Gumboots recently posted..Chorizo and Vegetable Spaghetti BologneseMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! So true, Kate. The childcarers are so wonderful at the place the girls go, so I know she’ll love it sooner than later.
      I hear you on the childcare fees though. I’ve never understood why a second child doesn’t get a discount! x

  7. pixie says:

    its hard leaving them………..you are her mumma and its hurts.hugs
    pixie recently posted..Things I know.part 8.My Profile

  8. Caz says:

    Yep yep yep!! Keep the tissues handy. I’m always far more upset than the girls are. When big pink started kinder I was pregnant with little pink. Holly Molly I was a mess!!!! Good luck with your mummy baby Holly 🙂
    Caz recently posted..UnwindingMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Oh, pregnancy hormones wouldn’t have helped your cause, Caz! That’s tough. Part of me wants to hold on to this time we have together now, but another part just wants to fast forward through the tough orientation period! 🙂

  9. so this will be me and little E next year… hanging around does not help… so i hear! The emotions are normal! Ok to cry too!
    the parenting files – tahlia recently posted..I know that you are better to ask then notMy Profile

  10. Rhianna says:

    fairy wishes and butterfly kisses to you lovely, I would be a bluthering mess about it (says the woman who cries when her kids perform at assembly)
    Rhianna recently posted..Things I Know – Just Scraping ByMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Hehe!! Oh, I can only imagine with the assembly moments, Rhianna. I dread to think what I’ll be like when that period of our life starts!! 🙂

  11. It’s always tougher for the parents – kids are supremely good at making you feel guilty. I remember my kids screaming when I walked out, and I was a blubbering mess in the car park. By the time I got it together, I rang to see how they were settling in and they were fine. I cried longer than they did lol.
    Then just to make me feel guilty in the afternoon, they would see me and then turn on the tears to make me believe they had been crying all day. I had been watching them through the door and they were really fine. Perhaps they will become actresses one day??
    Jo @countrylifeexperiment recently posted..Old FriendsMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      That all rings true for me too, Jo. Ella did exactly the same – for weeks!!
      Let’s hope they’re Oscar-winning actresses, as opposed to struggling ones!! LOL! 😉

  12. Kelly Exeter says:

    When my little boy started daycare at 11 months, I sobbed the entire way to work for two weeks straight. HE on the other hand cried for a scant 20 seconds after I left!
    I reckon just embrace the tears!
    Kelly Exeter recently posted..Things I know …My Profile

  13. Sif says:

    Hope it all gets better for both of you!
    Sif recently posted..Things I know: About Not Being Okay…My Profile

  14. Your post brings back memories of when my toddler started Childcare. So emotional for both of us but she loves it now, much like Ella. The place has been so good for her. Deep down we know that as parents but the protective mothering instinct is automatic, isn’t it. Wishing you both a speedy and smooth transition.

  15. bronnie says:

    It’s all baby steps isn’t it? Or kiddy ones! Mr 10 was usually happy to go (the only times he wasn’t when he was sick or the staff weren’t nice), but Miss 8 hated it. Oh the hell she put me through. But I’d sneak back and peer in the windows minutes later, and she’d be playing happily. I’m usually okay when the kids start something new, it’s when they finish it – like end of each year of school – that I tear up.
    bronnie recently posted..Giveaways, good times and generosityMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Oh, I haven’t even thought ahead to when they finish things, Bronnie. I think even Ella finishing childcare at the end of this year will be quite sad. She’s so enjoyed her time there and made the most wonderful friends. 🙂

  16. Madeline says:

    Just read back over this post because my Ed is starting daycare tomorrow. I’m going to stay with him there for a couple of hours tomorrow just as a taster and then maybe a half day on his own next week. I’m scared!! How’s Holly settled in now?
    Madeline recently posted..Christmas project flashbackMy Profile

    • Kel says:

      Hey Madeline. I feel your pain. Holly has settled in much faster than Ella ever did. I hand her over to the childcarer and walk out. She doesn’t make a noise and is happy to go off and play with the other kids. It’s also usually toast time, so food is always a good distraction too!
      The childcarers have said she’s really happy throughout the day, which is peace of mind for me. She’s now in from 8.30am until 4.30pm. After going through this twice now, I’ve figured out it really comes down to the mum, not the child. I was a bundle of nerves with Ella and I think that really affected her. Whereas with Holly, I’m a little more laidback. She’s obviously picking that up and feels more comfortable being there.
      Sending some positive vibes your way for tomorrow, Madeline. xx

  17. […] Baby Holly, spending some time with her at childcare. You see, as Holly’s nearly one, we’re slowly introducing her to childcare with an eventual view to her spending at least one day a week […]

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