Well, today was Swee'pea's last day with MeeMee, our daycare provider. He didn't really know it though. I haven't taken any steps to explain to him that he won't be coming back to MeeMee's, at least not regularly. When I picked him up, MeeMee had packed all his belongings, his oversized orange tie-dye pillow and stuffed buffalo and blanket, which I'd thought might help the sleep situation when he first began, his change of clothes, which I'd completely forgotten even existed and probably doesn't even fit anymore, his box of wipes and extra diapers. When he saw the pillow, he looked perplexed, and said MeeMeein a way that was both a question -- why is that coming with us? -- and an imperative -- that belongs at MeeMee's -- at once.
It wasn't an easy parting for MeeMee or I. Swee'pea was his usual happy self (apart from his momentary confusion about the pillow), giving her a big hug and happily repeating his singsong, "Bah bah," down the street. I did tell him before we left that next week he would be going to a school with his friend J, the one we visited the other day, but I really don't think he gets it, and that makes me sad.
I gave MeeMee a framed enlargement of this picture of her daughter, which I took at a party she threw early in the summer. I think she liked it.
When we left, both MeeMee's eyes and mine were shiny and bright with the tears that spilled out once we were a safe distance away. I knew if we stayed any longer, we'd both be blubbering messes, and we really don't need that. Still, I'm really really sad that she won't be in Swee'pea's life in the same way and that he'll probably miss her but not in a way that he will be able to understand or articulate.
* * *
I thought making the daycare decision would make me feel better, and it has a bit, but not really. I don't feel really great about the place; it is the best of the limited options available. That said, I remember when MeeMee first told me she wouldn't be doing daycare anymore, it was one of the mornings when we were feverishly painting, and I walked home thinking about how we couldn't possibly go with another home care situation, that she had ruined us for anybody else, and also that I would prefer to avoid the risk of my daycare provider going back to school again; that Swee'pea was old enough now to handle the activity of a centre, and I was ready for the controlled environment. So I am reminded that this will be ok. And I have a feeling that Swee'pea is mostly a pretty adaptable little kid who will probably enjoy the centre as much as he enjoyed MeeMee's.
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