August 9, 2013

Toddlerdom and Starting in the Toddler Room

Nicki has been thriving in the infant room. She has a best friend, Kai*. They play together more than I thought was possible for one year old babies. They chase each other around the room, share toys, and “talk” to each other constantly. Even hug on occasions. Together with Lincoln* they are like the three babyteers. Always giggling, always playing together. It’s the middle of the summer, and with so many families on extended vacation, it’s just the three of them most of the time. She loves her situation at day care so much that in the morning she’ll point to the door, and start to grow frustrated with Mommy if Mommy takes to long to put her shoes on. No more signs of separation anxiety.

I’ve mentioned before that they’ve begun the process of transitioning Nicki to the toddler room. Her teachers have been bringing her over for little visits in the afternoon, so she can meet the other toddlers and teachers and become familiar with the room. Typically Nicki and Kai go on these visits together since they’re both old enough for the toddler room and do so well together. I have been secretly hoping Kai and Nicki would transition together, but he’s not as close to being ready as she is. In order to move to the toddler room one has to have (1) given up on bottles and drinking from sippy cups, (2) feeding themselves, and (3) be walking. Nicki, who has never turned down a good meal and was cruising before crawling, mastered the first two and is just perfecting the third. Kai is the total opposite. He has more interest in playing with finger food than eating it, and was a fabulous early roller and crawler who only took a few steps recently when following Nicki.

Nicki has a tentative move date in the end of August.

When I dropped her off this morning, however, the infant room was at capacity. There are a few people who enroll their children for emergency backup daycare, and one of those children was visiting. So it was decided that Nicki, whose the closest to transitioning, would start the day off in toddler room until another infant room teacher was available.

She did not like the change in routine. When I set her down, she clung to me. If I started to move her grasp tightened. She didn’t understand why she wasn’t in the infant room with Kai and cheerios. It was my intention to spend 30 minutes or so helping her adjust by sitting next to her while she played. She knows everyone in the room so if she could just get distracted with the toys, she’d forget all about the this-is-different feeling. But one of the teachers suggested it would be easiest on her if I just left. So I did. The waterworks that followed broke my heart.

I felt so guilty I waited a few minutes on the other side of the wall before seeking a peek through the observation window. She had stopped crying but was still not happy. I wanted to rush back in and hug my baby, but I was afraid I’d set off another crying jag.

I called a half hour latter. She was fine, apparently rearranging all the toys on the shelves, and would be in the infant room by snack time. She recovers much faster from these things than I do.

I’m now absolutely terrified at the prospect of changing day cares when we move.

*Names may been changed.

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