Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Transition

It seems insane to me to think that this time last year, I had just started my maternity leave.  I was ginormous, uncomfortable, excited and impatient.  I left work shortly before Q's due date so I could get a few things done around the house in the event he decided to show up early.  Unbeknownst to me, he was on the extended stay plan.  Once I packed the freezer full of pre-made meals and finished cleaning everything that stood still, I spent the next two weeks alternating my time between sitting on my butt and walking trudging waddling around my neighbourhood, hoping to shake him loose.  We all know how that ended.

In preparation for my return to work, we've started transitioning Q into daycare.  We were very lucky to find a center near us that came highly recommended by M's cousin, who sent both her boys there.  Child care is at a premium in Toronto, so much so that more than a few women I work with have been forced to take a couple of extra months of unpaid leave to bridge the gap between the end of their paid leave and the date they could get their kids into daycare.  On the first day, to familiarize him with the environment, we spent an hour there together as if it was a sort of play group.  The next day I left him alone for an hour.  The next day he stayed until just after lunch.  By the end of the week he spent the better part of a whole day there.

So far he seems to be doing really well.  Every day his caregivers tell me how good he's been, how great he ate and napped (!?!), and how happy he is.  Drop-offs are a little rough, but what's surprised me the most has been my own reaction to this whole thing.  We started transitioning him a little bit before my leave ended both so that he'd have plenty of time to adjust, and also so that I could get a bunch of things done (spring cleaning, closet overhaul, etc) before going back to work.  I thought I'd feel a huge sense of freedom, but instead I've felt more than a little lost.  The first day I left him for an hour, I went grocery shopping without him for the first time in a year.  When he was smaller he would just sleep in his stroller, but ever since he was old enough to sit strapped into the cart, our weekly grocery trip has been a fun excursion.  I'd talk to him and tell him about everything that we were buying.  He'd chew on my grocery list or keys or anything else besides the three toys I'd brought for him.  He'd grin at strangers and charm the pants off of anyone who took the time to greet him.  Without him riding along, I felt lonely.  There was a tiny ache in my chest.  I missed my shopping buddy.  And while I've gotten a few things done around the house this past week, I haven't been nearly as productive as I thought I'd be.  I've spent more than a little bit of time thumbing through my phone, looking at his pictures and giggling at his videos.  Or I've just stared off into space, enjoying a little bit of peace and quiet while simultaneously counting down the minutes until I go pick him up.

I guess maybe this transition period is just as necessary for me as it is for him.

7 comments:

  1. You think you will enjoy the free time and in a sense you do but then you also end up missing them like crazy!! Of course then you pick them up and can't get anything accomplished, it's a no win! haha My little guy has been going since around 2 months and honestly I think he is so happy when we walk in the door there on Monday, it's like it's back to his routine. Plus they are all wonderful and give him lots of attention. It is an adjustment period for both mom and baby but I think in the long run he will enjoy it :)

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  2. I've found that transition to daycare is usually a lot harder on the parents than it is the kids. Sure, there's crying and separation anxiety, but usually they are calm after a few minutes. Meanwhile I've seen moms looking absolutely lost and dealing with all the emotions from this separation.

    Kindness is key during this period. Don't worry about getting a lot done. Focus instead on transitioning into this new normal. I'm thinking of you.

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  3. I've been back at work for almost six months now. I still find myself looking at pictures of my boys on my phone every day because I miss them. I won't even tell you how much work time I wasted watching videos of them on Facebook yesterday. I'm the most pathetic mom ever.

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  4. Sounds like the transition is going well. There is a period of adjustment for everyone because it is a big life change. I'm more used to working now than I was a few months ago, but on several levels I'm still adjusting. There will be things you miss about mat leave and reasons to be grateful you are back at work. Assuming everyone's needs are being meet most of the time, you should get used to a new routine. But there will be trade offs and complicated emotions and more decisions to make down the road. Trust your heart.

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  5. Aww.
    (And ?!? about the napping)
    I'm glad that work usually keeps me busy and "entertained" with interesting problems. When I get stuck on something I can't figure out, I miss SB so much more.

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  6. That adjustment can be so hard. I've been back at work almost a year (wow) and I still feel weird about it. Our daughter, on the other hand, doesn't seem phased at all. Good luck!

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  7. I'm glad you found a place that you loved and that Q seems to love too. And of course they got him to nap - the old ladies in our church nursery always tell me what a great napper J is. I just smile and assume they've mixed him up with some other kid. Freaking wizards. I'm also almost at the 1 year mark from when I left work. It's unbelievable.

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I'm needy and your comments validate me. Help a sister out!