I could only find one place in our immediate area that would take younger kids and I've heard nothing but great things about this church's children program, but when I called, I was given the sad news that Olivia was too young to attend their program this year. So, I did what everyone does now a days and asked for help on my facebook status. I got several suggestions and decided to call the one's that would work best for us and then set out to visit the places.
On Tuesday, I made my first visit and I can only say that when I got back in the car from the visit, I was filled with hesitation. I'll even be more honest....I got in the car and cried. Why? I guess it was just the fact that my baby was growing up and I had to picture my baby walking down the hall of a preschool carrying her lunch box (which they said she was expected to do). How had we come to this point so fast? Where had this year gone? Was she ready? Was I even ready? Of course, I did what every other woman would do, I called my mom, my mother-in-law, and my best friend for their opinions. I couldn't figure out what was causing such the hesitation. I'm usually one of those who will willingly hand off my child to any responsible adult who wants her (within reason of course). I told them all the rest of the details that would happen during her school day there and there was one factor that bothered all of us....since she is a good walker, they expected me to drop her off in the carpool lane and have a teacher walk her to her class. I just kinda stared at the director in disbelieve when she said this to me. I was so stunned that I couldn't respond. I just told her we would see her next week and walked out.
But, I knew that wasn't going to fly with me and that I wouldn't be okay with that anytime soon. I mean...she is only 12 months old. Being that I spent years working in daycare, I understood why that was more convenient for them and even though the director said something about teaching her age kids to be more independent...I'm not ready for my baby to be THAT independent yet. I can deal with her carrying her own lunch box, I'm not ready to deal with dropping her off at the door. I then spent the next 24 hours going back and forth with deciding that maybe this is the norm that I hadn't yet been exposed to or whether I just wasn't as ready to send her like I thought I was. I'll be completely honest, I went back and forth for awhile. Then my MIL reminded me I had nothing to compare this place to, so go and check out the next place on my list and then see where I stood. If I was still hesitant, then I just wasn't ready for her to go.
So, on Wednesday I headed out to see the next church on our list. My hesitations had vanished by the time I walked out of there. The teacher of her class was super nice and it wasn't just one of those things that she was being nice because she had to (which was the impression I got from the last place). She explained everything to me, answered all my questions, and we even talked about other interest we shared. She even did all this while taking care of the other kids. She just put me at ease about the whole thing and I walked out knowing that I had no hesitations leaving my child with her. I walked out knowing that this place was going to work for us. The class size was a little smaller and I didn't have to worry about her carrying her lunch box down the hall just yet since her class eats in their classroom. The clincher for me though was when I asked the director how they handled the drop off/pick up. I told her that we had visited another program and they wanted me to drop her off in the carpool lane, she looked at me like I had just told her to jump off a cliff. Then she said to me "honey, for my own sake as a mother, I wouldn't feel comfortable dropping my baby off at the door." I told her we would see her next week and this time I meant it.
So yesterday morning, I took my baby into her first day of Mom's Day Out. Believe it or not, for how much I cried about it last week (Nicole can vouch that she had to talk me down off the ledge several times last week), I didn't shed a single tear. David was off, so it was kinda special that we got to experience her first day of "school" together. We spent the morning have a day date and did exactly what we usually do on our dates, we went to the book store and a movie (Easy A~it was hilarious!). We went and picked her up a little early and it was a good thing because she was quickly losing it by the time we got there. They said other than the last ten minutes, she did great, played the entire time, and ate all her lunch. I must say that it was nice to get a little break and I'm looking forward to some time by myself. I think this Mom's Day Out thing is going to work for us after all.