Day One is Done

Well, we made it.

Drop off was kind of a shit show. We got there right as another kid who started last week was being dropped off. He was very upset and cried for almost the entire hour that I was there. His crying set off another crier who also howled for the entire hour. Their combined crying set off still other criers. At one point I think five kids were crying.

Nothing like a room full of inconsolable children to make you feel great about leaving your kid.

It really was awful.

The room looked shabbier than I remembered. The kids were… well not the sweet, fun, interesting kids I knew and loved in my daughter’s class. I’m sure the room looked just like that, and the other classmates left as unimpressive an impression on me when my daughter started, but it was all so long ago I don’t remember. Or rather, my memories are inaccurate. I just felt, not great about leaving my kid there. I sobbed for a long time in my car.

Later, at my daughter’s school, I experienced what her day is like. It was… also not what I expected. I don’t have any specific complaints or criticisms, it just didn’t leave me feeling good. It made me feel sad for her–that this is what her days look like–just like I feel sad that my son is at daycare.

I guess I just wished my kids didn’t have to spend so much of their lives in these places. The facilities are old, run down, kind of dingy. The toys are scuffed and stained. The carpets are faded. Nothing is new or fresh. Nothing seems to hold promise.

And so many of the interactions were reactive. So very little of substance was going on. Trying to keep 24 kindergartners on a rug is like herding cats. I appreciated what the teachers were trying to convey, but I don’t know if any of the students were actually hearing it. And even just 10 little two-year-olds with three teachers, what can they do if half the class is crying.

I don’t know. I want to say that I don’t have much choice, and while I don’t have much, I do have some. If I really wanted to move either kid I could, but I doubt I’d find a daycare that I could afford that’s any nicer that where my son is now. And the teachers at his place are great. I know them. They are warm, kind hearted and caring. They already adore my son. I know they will take good care of him there.

My daughter got a great teacher too. She has been so understanding of my daughter’s many… unique needs. She treats the kids with respect and has high expectations. She really is a great fit. And yet there is only so much one person can do in a given set of circumstances.

I wonder every day if I shouldn’t have sent my daughter to the school in my district. There are so many reasons that didn’t feel like the right choice, but now that we’re living the reality of the decision we made, I worry we chose wrong.

And now I’ll worry for my son too, because that is what parents do. We worry. We worry about the choices we’ve made, and the ones we feel are made for us.

I just hope, in the end, my kids are okay.

{I’m sorry this post is so disjointed, I’m just feeling a little down about things and having a hard time articulating it.}


  1. Oh, Noemi I’m so sorry you guys had a rough start with daycare. 2 is a tough age, even for my boys who started at a few months of age, we had a lot of tears at drop-off at age 2. I thought about pulling them out, going somewhere new, quitting my job (ha!) when both of them were in the 2 year old room.
    And as for your daughter’s day, I really don’t know what to say except I’m sorry. I felt a cold dread in my stomach reading that. I want to go see how my son’s day is now. We are having MAJOR issues with aftercare, I hate picking him up and seeing the chaos that goes on there.

    1. God, the chaos of after care is insane. But honestly, that doesn’t bother me as much because I know my kid likes to just be on her own, doing what she wants to do, so I’m not worried about her there. It’s more that I worry she isn’t getting what I want her to get from school. And honestly, I don’t care much about what happens in Kindergarten, but I worry her school won’t provide her with the education I think she needs as she gets older. But there is A LOT at play here, and I hope to write a longer post about it. It’s complicated stuff.

  2. I’m sorry day one was rough. DH usually does dropoff and I do pickup, but we’ve had a few days where I’ve felt like you do. But then things get better. Hang in there.

  3. Life is full of choices. Some are hard. Some aren’t the ones we want to be choosing between. We still need to make a choice. And, actually this is how we learn and grow. Not by making perfect choices from perfect options, but making real life choices among the options available to us. It is not a gift to children to have them grow up in a fairyland paradise because then they do not have the life skills to cope in reality.
    Yesterday was hard for all of you. Today will be different, tomorrow different again. And your children will grow and have wider horizons and different skills and they will live in a real world. Sometimes reality is really really hard. I am so sorry. I’d prefer a more perfect world too. Food and equality of opportunity and safety for all. I wish…..

    1. You’re right that being in the “perfect” environment doesn’t necessarily prepare kids for the reality of their future. It’s important to remember that. I think we’re just told that we should always be striving to give our kids THE BEST, especially in the realm of education and child care, and it’s hard when you know for certain that you are not giving them the VERY BEST. I have a lot of guilt about that. I need to remember that they are getting something different, but not necessarily less important, when they are in situations that aren’t the best. Perhaps they are building resilience. I know that’s important these days. 😉

  4. I am having one of those days where my prior note really is a reminder to me to A) count the positives in my life B) remember this is an imperfect world and I only get the choices I get C) I have walked through worse times and come through D) I need to keep walking til it is better.
    I wish our society really walked the values of caring for the young, the elderly, those in need, those hungry, those damaged by domestic violence, those who have been damaged by serving our nation.
    Now taking deep breath and moving forward in reality.

    1. You’re right of course, my kids have SO MUCH BETTER than 99% of the kids in the world. That is important to remember. I wish everyone had as much as my kids. The world would be a WAY better place. Recognizing that reality definitely puts things into perspective.

  5. I know how you feel, I think. And I know that beautiful facilities are only part of what (can) make a school good, and that some extras add no real value at all. But still, whenever I’m unhappy with the care my kids are getting, I blame myself for not being able to afford somewhere nicer.

    And sometimes it’s just hard to leave them, no matter where they are.

    I hope your son’s experience he’s better. Day 1 is always hard.

    1. I definitely blame myself for not being able to afford something better, or for us not being able to afford me being home. Or for making other choices that render me staying home a non-choice. It’s just hard. And I wonder if I need to reshuffle my priorities, but I realize it’s not as easy as all that because my husband is the other half of our parental family and his wants and needs matter too. It’s just hard. And I’m not always sure I’m doing the right thing.

      And you’re right, that even when you do feel sure you’re doing the right thing, some days are just hard.

      1. WAIT!!!! you have good teachers! The exteriors and fancinesses don’t count in the long run. GOOD TEACHERS do count. I have listened to my children, now grown, talk about their pre-school and elementary school experiences…. it isn’t the facilities they remember it is the teachers that cared. So do not blame you for ‘not affording’ fancy exteriors…. GOOD TEACHERS WHO CARE. You are winning.

        1. Yes, yes, yes! Our daycare isn’t the prettiest and doesn’t have the newest stuff. It’s also in one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. But they have the nicest, most amazing teachers of all the places we toured. They care about my son as much as I do, which is why we stay. Someday when he looks back on it, he’ll remember that he was loved and had fun and learned some things. In my opinion, the more people out there who love and care about your kid(s), the better. And I’m guessing the parents of the students you teach feel the same about you caring and educating their kids.

          1. Nothing is wrong with shabby facilities if they’re safe. Far more important to spend resources on good teachers.

            Remember how this summer you realized you don’t want to stay home? You would not be happier in that situation. Even ignoring your husband’s priorities.

  6. You know, I am always glad when things are a bit worn at school and nothing is perfect because life is like that – somewhere on the edge of chaos and collapse at any given moment but enough to get by. I also love the reminder to my perfectionist kid that nothing is ever perfect. Hopefully things get better as everyone adapts.

  7. This sounds quite familiar to me. There have been multiple times over the past year that I have thought about switching daycares for my son. I’ve researched the options over and over, and eventually come back to the reality that although where he is is perhaps not the best option, it certainly is the best for us now (how’s that for a bridge over to your latest post?). Part of it being the best for us now is the convenience factor, and that realization brings with it all kinds of guilt; seems like I should forgo my own comfort for a better experience for my son, no? Except then I’m grouchier and more tired from the added stress and travel times, making the payoff dubious at best. It really is a balancing act between all the different components. And although I could spend hours wishing I could/would send my son to the daycare with all the beautiful wooden toys, I then watch him make a “coche” out of a lemon wedge and drive it all across the table; so I remember, again, that all the bells and whistles aren’t even needed.

    I truly believe that, in the end, your kids (and mine) will be just fine. But, you’re right – that certainly doesn’t stop us from worrying.

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