Last bed I went to bed scared... scared that Swee'pea would spend his first morning at daycare screaming, scared that we'd made the wrong decision, scared that we're on the verge of another wrong decision to up sticks to the Big City, scared that living in that big city, riding its subway, working in its skyscrapers with bullet-fast or rickety-slow elevators, would make me scared like I was years ago.
My anxiety didn't last long though, and I slept well. Swee'pea began playing with the daycare centre's trucks immediately upon arrival, and barely managed to pull himself away to give me a hug and kiss goodbye. He returned to the toys happily, singing, "Bye bye bye bye." I left feeling a bit superfluous.
At work, my morning was hectic and stressful trying to get everything that needed doing before noon. I felt like I'd been overprotective starting Swee'pea at the centre with a half-day; he probably didn't need it. I extricated myself from work, not altogether successfully, and raced to the centre. When I got to Swee'pea's room it was dark and quiet with little children spread all over on their little cots. Except for one who was in the arms of a caregiver I hadn't met before. Swee'pea started weeping as soon as he laid eyes on me, and we ran to each other. I held him as tightly as I ever have, feeling slightly vindicated that I was right about the half-day, but mostly awful for putting him through what was obviously an emotional and stressful experience for him. Even after he stopped weeping, his breath still came in those sob-style mouthfuls, like he couldn't quite catch his breath for sadness and relief.
I held him tightly, feeling like my heart would burst into tears at any moment, unable to contain my love. I held him for longer than was strictly necessary to get him to sleep for his nap, and contemplated his fluttering eyes, moving side to side as they followed his dreams, and I hoped his dreams were of happy things and not parental abandonment. I am sadly aware that even now at this young age, I cannot know everything or even anything of his internal life, except for what he is able and willing to share. And I suspect his internal life is more complicated than I'd suspected.
After his nap I fed him some lunch (he'd refused to even take a bite at the centre), then took him to the playground and a baby ice cream. I just gave him an ice cream yesterday, but I figured he'd had a hard day, and ice cream is good. I wonder if perhaps I'm setting him up for a lifetime of emotional and over-eating, but then I think that perhaps this is an important facet of resilience: recognizing when you've had a hard day and giving yourself permission to take it easy and eat lots of ice cream.