Today is Eric‘s first day in day care.
Seems like that should be a huge day for us, but for me, it isn’t all that special. I’ve been looking forward to this day for several months (five months, to be exact), but it’s not earth-shaking. I think that’s partly because I’ve been working all day every day for the past, oh, four and a half months, so the change doesn’t affect my life nearly as much as it does Marcella’s. She’s been home with him all day every day. No matter how much love you have for the boy, it must have been a relief to her to have daddy come home at the end of the day–she got to hand the boy off to someone else for a few minutes!
And at that, we were lucky, because Marcella was able to take the end of the semester off when the boy was born, then she had all summer at home with him. Some new mothers get two weeks, if that, before they have to be back at work, if they’re fortunate enough to have a job! Not like up in Canada, where maternity leave is a good solid year. Say what you want about the ills of national health care, we here in the U.S. are seriously benighted when it comes to social policy and employment.
And day care? The major struggle for us is financial. Neither of us can afford to quit our jobs, so we have to be able to place the boy somewhere. There are very few day care centers who take infants; we were lucky to find one relatively close by. And the cost? Over $1000 per month! I guess we’re fortunate that neither of us earns so little that we could come out ahead by staying out of the workforce.
So yes, it’s off to day care with little Eric. Marcella’s mother came to help out with the transition a week or so ago, and now that Marcella’s back in her office at FAU, it’s time for the boy to take that first “step” out of the home.
And yes, we could look at today as the first step in the inevitable distancing of our baby boy from the absolute center of our lives, but I don’t see it that way. I see it as exposing him to new people, as a step forward in his entrance into society. The dear knows we haven’t given him enough of that in his first few months. We’re homebodies, we are. That’s no way to bring up a baby. Bring on the day care!