Letter to Camille: First Day of Daycare

Hello, sweet sleepy bee. You are zonked out in your crib right now after a busy afternoon of partying at daycare.
For the past 5 and a half months, you’ve spent most of your time at home with your Mommy or Daddy, and that has been wonderful. We’ve enjoyed playing with you, and are so glad we’ve had this quality bonding time. One day you’ll learn about work and bills, but for now you just need to know that we love you, and in order to provide you with green beans and bananas, premium diapers, and send you to college one day, we have to work and you have to spend some time in daycare.
We struggled with this decision, because we know no one can care for you as well as we can at home. But since neither of us can quit our jobs right now, we began looking for a good daycare a few weeks ago. And on the bright side, you seem to love going places and seeing people, so I think you’ll enjoy the socialization that daycare provides. When we visited this daycare, I was encouraged because two of the workers stole you away and walked around with you. You returned very content and covered in lipstick kisses.
My biggest concern right now is that, in my mind, daycare = germs. You have been miraculously free of illness your entire life, aside from a bit of jaundice at birth. Never so much as a sniffle.
Last night, as I was putting on your pajamas, I thought, “This will be the last night she is truly clean.” I know that’s just silly. Daycare isn’t dirty. But you will come into contact with a lot of new germs, and you’re bound to get sick from time to time. It’s reality, but I don’t have to like it.
You spent this morning at home with your Daddy like usual. I came home for lunch, and packed your bag for daycare. We had to put your initials on all your things, even all your diapers. I opened a new pack of 64 diapers, and began labeling them. But I didn’t just put your initials. I added a heart or a smiley face too, or ocassionally, I’d write, “Sweet Cami,” or “Camibear,” or something similar right across your butt. Every time one of those daycare workers reaches for a diaper, I want them to be reminded that you aren’t just CH. You’re CH-which-stands-for-Camille-who-is-much-loved-and-deserves-much-love.
Your Daddy took our picture as we got ready to leave. You wouldn’t smile, and look as though you’re saying, “This is school. This is serious business.”
I spent about an hour with you at daycare, setting up a mobile over your crib, talking with the workers, and feeding you before I left. It wasn’t too awful walking out that door, because I knew I’d be back to get you in about 3 hours. And you seemed content.
I had to practically sit on my hands all afternoon to supress the urge to call the daycare to make sure you were fine. I knew you were fine. My heart was racing at 5:00 when I finally went to pick you up. I walked in the room, and you were sitting in the lap of a daycare worker, being rocked in the rocking chair, finishing a bottle, wearing some other baby’s sweater. So, there was a sweater mixup. At least you were warm. I’d rather have you wearing another baby’s sweater than getting a chill.
I came up behind you and said your name.
Camille. Camille. Camille. (I know you hear well, are you ignoring me?)
Once you finally turned around and saw me, you reached out and grabbed my nose. If you could’ve said anything, I think you would’ve said, “HONK.”
I guess I should be glad you didn’t throw your arms around my neck and begin sobbing at the sight of me, hoping I’d come to rescue you from some miserable place. The workers say you did very well, although you didn’t really nap.
Once I got you home, your Daddy leaned over your carrier to begin unbuckling you, and your face lit up into a huge, open-mouthed smile. Sigh. Such a Daddy’s girl!
It was soon clear you were quite sleepy, and while your Daddy ran to get us a nutritious meal from Captain D’s, I held you and tried to get you to nap for a minute. You fought sleep until your Daddy returned, and when I handed him to you, this was what you looked like moments later:
That Daddy. So comfy.
I hope daycare will be a fun and exciting place for you. Just know that Mommy and Daddy love you so much, and we’ll try our hardest to make sure the people who care for you during the day know just how special you are.