Friday, July 04, 2008

push and pull

At Swee’pea’s daycare, when children are having trouble saying goodbye to their parents, the teachers suggest that the child push the parent out the door. Swee’pea loves the place so much (he cries when he goes home or on the days he doesn’t go), he’s only pushed me out the door a couple of times and usually only because he saw one of his friends do it. I have to say, I much prefer the hug and the kiss and leaving by myself to having my ass pushed out the door, so I don’t exactly encourage the push.

This morning, as we pulled into the parking lot, Swee’pea immediately noticed his friend Neema’s truck (the boy’s name is not actually Neema, but that’s Swee’pea’s pronunciation). Neema is an inveterate pusher, and I immediately wondered if I would have to get the push. We went in, Swee’pea took his shoes off, we dropped his stuff in his cubby, and I put his indoor shoes on. I moved a bit quicker than usual, hoping I could beat Neema’s dad to the door and avoid the push. I gave Swee’pea a hug, told him to have a good day, and he went to his latest passion: toy tools and the toy workbench. Just as I was about to leave, Swee’pea came running back to me: “Mommy!” he wailed.

I resigned myself to the push. But it seemed like he only wanted to show me his toy drill, then he got sidetracked by the melee at the sign-out table. I stood by the door for a moment, but he was still sidetracked, so I did what all the parenting books say not to. I slipped out. I mean, I’d already said goodbye and I hugged him twice, so it wasn’t *really* like leaving without saying goodbye.

As I got into the car, though, I looked at the daycare’s door. In the shaft of sunlight that pierced the lower window, I saw the back of Swee’pea’s fiery head and an adult hand leading his toddler paw away from the door.

I have no idea if he was upset or merely curious, and, logically, I’m sure that if he was upset he probably got over it reasonably quickly. Nevertheless, for the last few hours, I’ve been feeling a weight in my chest, that sense of something’s just not quite right in the world, and then I remember that sunlit hair and the sturdy little body turning away from my exit.


Ever since we bought our new house (a whole three weeks ago), I’ve been fretting over whether to change Swee’pea’s daycare. I’ve got him on the list for the one right by my work, and apparently working in my building gives him some priority. If he gets in, I’ll be able to walk him in no more than 20 minutes, probably closer to 15, drop him off, and stroll next door to my office. It would allow us to live with only one car quite comfortably. (We have two cars right now, but we'll be giving the second on back to our friends when they return from Malawi.)

The daycare that Swee'pea currently goes to is downtown, about a five-minute walk from our house, but a good 40-minute walk from my work. The bus takes almost as long. And going from work to daycare and back to our (new) home would drive me nuts with all the inefficient doubling back and extra time taken. But he talks about his friends at daycare quite a lot, and he seriously loves the place, and I’m really hesitating about taking him away from that. Also, the new place is more expensive just by its daily rate AND they charge for five days when a kid only goes four days a week.

Last night at the playground, I recognized two sisters who are older than Swee’pea who I’ve seen at his daycare. I jumped on the opportunity to meet a local parent, and struck up a conversation with their mum. She was saying that she lives far away from downtown, much farther out than our new place, and she comes downtown every day. AND they don’t have a car. They either bus it, or on energetic days, they walk. I was flabbergasted. I suspect she left feeling relieved to get away from me and feeling like we had nothing in common. But *I* feel inspired. The city is improving its bus service this summer, next week I think, so I’m thinking seriously about sticking with the daycare we know, and just making the one car work.

And while I’m on the subject of alternative transportation, we also want to get a bike trailer and bike more often from the new place. To anyone with a bike trailer that converts to a stroller, what are your recommendations? What did you consider when you were deciding, and what did you end up getting? Would you get the same trailer again? Help please!


Beck said...

Once you get used to life with just one car, it becomes MUCH easier.
I've always been glad about that part of my decision to stay home with my kids - leaving them is hard and I can't imagine how hard it must be on a daily basis.

Sus said...

go you going green. consider the lady on the playground the "push" you needed. :) (it's hilarious that they push you out the door - maybe it's preparing us for being progressively more pushed out for the rest of their lives.)

Bon said...

i've been experiencing the push myself here at bedtime...Oscar discovered the words "go away" last week, and now bedtime is a lovely affair where he gets cuddled, read to, kissed, and then says "go 'vay mama" and off i go. magic. weird, but magic.

we're looking at a bike trailer too...but i know nothin'. so am hoping you get some folks with suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I love my kids and I love my job. Oh, and I love my husband as well. If all of those are at all times present things work out just fine.

Giving the kids the power to literally push the parents out of the room is an interesting take on self-determination/control. May help the teachers with crowd control clearing out the adults with alacrity.

Anonymous I am but I love your writing! Hang in there with the "pusher".

Kyla said...

Good for you! If it really doesn't work with your schedule, changes can always be made in the future.

Lisa b said...

I think those of us who found the first year traumatically difficult are somehow different from those who see it as a means to an end. Or they are on meds. Or we are depressed. And I cannot figure out which is which.
I've got a chariot because the store around the corner sells that brand and we justified the price since we only run one vehicle and that one not often as I walk and the banker takes TTC. I like it but cannot figure out how to collapse it or to attach the brake for when it is a jogger. I suppose that is not very safe. So I use it only as a trailer and honestly I wonder if I would be better off with a seat on my bike.
I', helpful no?

Mad said...

We have a Chariot but it's an ancient hand-me-down from Len's brother so I have nothing to compare it to. For running and biking, it's a dream but it is huge, the front wheel doesn't pivot and there really isn't much storage room. We only use it for certain kinds of errands and it works fine for us. It can get Miss M to day care with all her stuff but it would be tough to fit my stuff for the day in it as well. I guess that's why bikes can carry paniers.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

We have a Burley but it doesn't convert to a stroller. I see people with the one that does convert, but it seems awfully awkward -- it's really big. One thing about the Burley: I see people use it for hauling other things than children, like groceries.

At my kids' daycare, if they're being too clingy at drop-off the teacher says, rather severely, "Respect your parents!" And then tries to engage them in play. It usually works. My heart broke the time my daughter said to her teacher, "I'm not going to cry today!" Ooof.