I couldn’t have felt worse taking Charlie away from her beloved teachers, even though I knew switching to the new magical day care was the right thing to do. Every morning she would flap her arms and chant her teacher’s name. Both her teachers cried on her last day, hugged me and told me I was the best parent they had ever had (which meant so much to me, I cried). They wrote “We love you!” on her daily sheet.
I felt awful, but I’ve had to let go of a lot of people and situations in my life and so will Charlie. It’s best to give yourself a sad moment (or two) and then move on.
Today I woke up as nervous as if it was my first day of school. I prepared to stay there for a couple of hours until she felt OK.
Within five minutes she had left my lap and within six, she was holding hands with a boy in the class. Sure, she screamed bloody murder when the teachers made me leave, but she stopped by the time I had folded up the stroller. That kid’s a toughie and I’m so proud of her.
Tomorrow’s Pink Day and we’re going to show Magical New School what we’ve got. I think she’s gonna like it here.*
*Annie reference, which I’ve watched about nine thousand times now.
Today was our last day at Charlie’s day care. After the biting incident, I called [SECRET DAY CARE WITHOUT A WEBSITE] which I had heard about from a couple other parents. In fact, three kids in her class had transferred to this new place in the past four months.
The things I knew about [SDCWAW]:
• You couldn’t really see it from the street. You had to know the address.
• You couldn’t find the address easily because, as I mentioned, it doesn’t have a website. It actually has no web presence at all, which is, like, not even possible.
• To get the phone number, you had to know the name of the place, find the only mommy blog that has the number of the Uptown location, call that number, then get the number to [SDCWAW].
• Despite all these obstacles, [SDCWAW] is known to have a waiting list a mile long. I’ve actually had people tell me they’ve been on it for over two years and…
• to even get on the wait list of [SDCWAW], you have to go on a tour.
• It was really, really close to our apartment.
I had written this place off. Hey, I’d been around the block before and I knew about impossible wait lists and how hopeless they feel. And I was fine where Charlie was.
But after the whole biting incident, I went back to my Day Care List and began calling places. She was #47 on one list. Some people just kind of laughed when I even inquired about an opening. [SDCWAW] said that of course I could take a tour. They wouldn’t tell me how long the list was.
The tour exceeded my expectations. The teachers were awesome. The facility was great. It was $300 LESS a month AND they included diapers and wipes (and food and milk). A dad actually stopped our tour group and told us it was the greatest place on earth. I asked about their biting policy. They had one—it was good.
I tried not to get my hopes up, but as soon as the tour was over, I was inquiring about the wait.
"We should know in two weeks or so," the director was kind and friendly.
Exactly a week later, I called [SDCWAW].
"Can you hold on one minute?"
Thirty seconds later…
"Well, this has never really happened this fast, but we have an opening. Can she start in a month?"
There are moments between the things-are-very-hard moments and the I-hate-people-so-much-I’d-like-to-punch-that-asshole-in-the-face moments when you feel like you’ve really won. Like you’ve conquered “it,” whatever it is. Getting into a secret, affordable day care right near our home ranks pretty friggin’ high.
Someone once said to me, “I can’t wait for my kids to go to sleep and then I miss them more than anything.” This is 100% true.
Today when I dropped Charlie off, a little boy in her class crawled over to me and put his hands on my knees. Charlie gave him a look, then physically removed his hands. No one touches her mama.
Today started like this: Charlie woke up around 6am after a blissful night of sleep. It was still dark. I was still groggy. I laid her down to change her diaper and… blood. Everywhere. From her bangs to her chin. All over her hands. I looked over at her crib and her sheets were smeared with it.
I knew then what kind of parent I could be. I was calm. I felt in control even though things around me certainly were not. I was steady. I wasn’t allowed to freak her out (and make her feel like the baby zombie she looked like). I’m the mama and I had to fix it.
It turns out, she had a nosebleed because it’s been so dry. I looked it up immediately and found out they’re totally normal. I cleaned her up, changed her jammies and sheets and snuggled her in our bed.
It was yet another snowpocalypse (please, make it stop). Schools were open when we woke up even though it looked like the Earth was ending outside. I had a huge day at work—tons of meetings and a lot to get done. I bundled my kid up, feeling awful about it, and packed her in the Bugaboo. I bundled myself up. We went outside.
It was friggin’ crazy out. I tried to push the stroller, but it would barely move. I shoved the stroller past my Super’s window and I could feel her watching me. I know I looked like a lunatic. I felt horrible.
I went back inside, unpacked my kid and strapped on the Ergo. We are going to walk it! It will be fun! An adventure! She was getting fussy by this time (duh). She didn’t want to have an adventure.
I knew then what kind of parent I could be. Selfish. Nonsensical. Torn between the different things in my life so that I was failing at all the things in my life.
I went back out with an umbrella, and trudged five feet through the madness. My umbrella went inside out. A gust of wind hit her face, she spit out her pacifier and started screaming. I trudged back to the lobby and felt a buzz in my pocket. Most of the teachers couldn’t make it. School was cancelled.
I went back inside and stripped us down, near tears. I was so frustrated. I felt like a horrible mom and at the same time I had to go to work! I also hated New York City, snow (obviously), umbrellas and people who were able to go to work.
The rest of the day went like this: Sam and I divided the day between work and baby. We fed and changed our daughter and made her laugh and played games with her. We even read her books. But she also watched Annie twice because it’s the only thing that she would sit still and watch so we could get something done. She had two tantrums.
I got all my work done and even got on a conference call. I ate lunch. I did my best. I felt like today was five days long. I’m glad it’s over.
At the end of the night, Charlie gave me a long, hard hug. This kid is worth everything. But for the love of god, please make this snow stop.
Polar Vortexes. Ice shard storm giving my face tiny smacks. Meany mean heads who will trample someone in their Winter Rage. And today. Today I paid $44 to travel nine blocks so I wouldn’t have to walk in the Wintry Mix from Hell. Winter, we hate you. Even “Winter People” hate you. If I have to look at another Instagram of ice, snow, or two foot deep puddles, I will scream. IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO GO.
A couple months ago Charlie was bit by “another kid.” It was on the finger and it broke skin. They filled out an incident report and when we asked which kid bit her, they said they weren’t permitted to say. Um. What?
Well, it happened again today. When I picked Charlie up, her teachers were nervous.
"Was it the same kid?" They nodded.
Then mom of [GIANT KID WHO IS TEN TIMES BIGGER THAN ALL THE OTHER KIDS] arrived and said, “So, who did he bite this time?”
No one said anything and she got it. “Oh my god, was it Charlie?’
The mom was really nice and apologized and it was oh-so-awkward and I told her fine, it’s fine, but it wasn’t fine that her giant brute of a kid was biting my kid.
When I undressed Charlie for a bath, I found another bite mark. Indicating that there was a vampire werewolf masquerading as a 14-month-old.
Sam flipped out, obviously. We both did. There was a friggin’ kid biting our little girl.
We took a picture and the next morning I showed it to her teacher. Her teacher was shocked and really apologetic. She promised to keep them separated.
Then, I went to talk to the director, a vapid woman with a strong Staten Island accent.
Me: So, I know [GIANT KID WHO IS TEN TIMES BIGGER THAN ALL THE OTHER KIDS] has been biting Charlie.
Her: Well, it only happened once.
Me: No. It happened three times. (I show her the picture)
Her (not really looking at the picture): Well, you weren’t really supposed to know who bit Charlie.
Her: Well, we’re going to put up posters telling kids not to bite.
Me: He’s 14-months-old
Her: Well, kids bite. That’s what they do.
(and obviously I know that this kid is a baby and he really doesn’t know what he’s doing)
Me: It would be nice if you said one thing to make me feel better.
Me: OK, then. Have a nice day.
I’m making it my job to find a new school for Charlie. Again.