Ps. A personal and maybe boring post ahead.. more like rants of a momentarily peaceful mind.
I still remember blue day vividly - the day when the little birdie started day care. It was horrendous. Our optimism was down in the dungeons. She was miserable and so were we.
That is when I spoke to lots and lots of parents. I got the same answer - they get over it - in a week, a month, a couple of months, six months! But there will be one day when one can laugh about it. Huh! Not me for sure. I thought I was special case. Such things don't happen to me. They are too good to be true.
It was on 25th November 2013, that she started day care. The day care was very well recommended. It was clean, the staff seemed dedicated and we did not have much qualms in leaving our child in their care. But, Chiyaa was crestfallen, she cried her heart out. I tried to give them some pointers to help her settle. I sent one of her favourite toys, a teddy bear with her.
It was a matter of 2 weeks before we were to make our trip to Paris. We thought we would somehow steel ourselves to get through the 2 weeks. But she took a turn for the worse at the end of week 1. She fell ill with very high fever. With an imminent travel, we decided to keep her at home and let her recuperate. So on 17th December, it was a start from scratch. She was very upset. She would cry when I dropped her and would be crying when I picked her. She would have refused most of her food. Sleep would be barely for 30 minutes. She used to be famished when we got home and would gobble down food. I would fell torn apart seeing her in that state. And she would jump into her bed and sleep off like no tomorrow. I so wished I could always keep her cocooned.
The trend just continued over the week. I kept counting days.
I got feedback that she used to be better after her nap. But she would get upset when she saw adults around - when parents came to drop their wards or members of the staff passed through the room. She would expect her mom or dad and come running to the door. I was assured that she would get better. It was going to be a month (though she had not been regularly) and I was seeing no end in sight.
Her grandparents were way worried too. Being back in India and incapable of any action, they felt even more frustrated. The only thing they could do was pray and hope for things to turn around. That was one of the things we did too... since we had no other recourse either.
Soon the nursery would close for a week for Christmas vacation. While one half of me was happy to have her around, another half was dead scared at scarring her when she rejoined in January.
In the new year, she was a bit under the weather. I sent her to the nursery when I thought she could cope. She did not eat much, she did not sleep much, she did not play much. A week of January had gone through.We were sure our kid was going to be one of those who take half a year to get acclimatized.
What cant be cured must be endured. So we treaded on - passing through the harrowing farewells in the morning, getting not so positive feedbacks during the day and seeing the kid being zapped of her strength in the evening.
In the middle of the second week of January, we received this note.
'A little more settled' was definitely a very good thing! One small step for the lil one, one giant leap of faith for mom and dad. We kept our fingers crossed.
The next day, she had been 'lot better'.That was positively an improvement. The food was still erratic and sleep was surely not there - but did we complain? Of course not! She was atleast having a 'better time'!
That was when one of the carers recommended getting her blankets from home for sleeping. She thought that maybe Chiyaa wanted that reassurance of something familiar. Sometimes that helped. I had never given much importance to the blankets she used at home. She slept just as well outside or in hotels when we traveled, I assumed, she was just fine without them. But we think we know all about our kids don't we?
Since it was suggested,I brought over her blankets the next day. Like magic, the sleeping time climbed from 15-30 minutes to 45!
As she slept better, she played better, and as she played better she ate better. Hmmm...what a lovely little circle *Touchwood*
The morning started getting better too - she would wave me goodbye somedays. She would be sad when she saw me leave, she would be better consoled by some particular members of staff - but she was being herself. She was being her boisterous, naughty and lively self. Were we feeling alive or what?
Come February, the staff also started to know her - her likes and dislikes, her moods, her characteristics. Earlier only some particular and experienced members would handle her. Slowly everyone got comfortable with her and she with every one else. She did not ask for a particular person though she did get close to her key person Abby! But I would see her giggling with everyone else. There would be times when while bringing her back, she would run away to play with the elder kids outside.
I was still working part time. I had thought of going full time in January.But since she was not settling, I had given that idea a miss. I decided, I would carry on part time as long as I could. At least I had the consolation of taking 'good' care of her after my working hours. But then came the days when she would not run up to me when she saw me. She would see me, her eyes would twinkle, she would start coming to me, but then get distracted by something. Perhaps it was time for me to also start letting go, for my little girl had started :)
As she started settling, her carer started introducing her to new things. They rejuvenated her potty training. It was not instant success, but then there was scope to try.
She started enjoying playing outside a lot more. She started engaging with other kids. Somedays I would see her sitting in the middle of a circle and enjoying a snack.Then on others she would be seated with one of the carers and be painting. Yet some day, she would be playing on her own.I loved seeing this reviving independence in her!
She started getting more and more involved in group activities. I saw her difference outside nursery as well.She used to get very anxious with strangers.She would cry and throw a fit.While for others she would be very docile.I could not fathom why she behaved in a certain manner with certain people. I know - kids tend to behave like that. But as she got more used to the day care, she started getting more comfortable with strangers as well. One of K's colleagues even commented that there was a distinct change in her and attributed it to day care.
Slowly as she neared her second birthday, she started being taken upstairs to the older kids (2-3 years). It had been noted that Chiyaa did not seem intimidated by bigger kids, so the staff were very confident that she would settle down soon in the new room.And they were right in their expectation :) She loved being upstairs with the bigger kids and quite enjoyed her time!
Her birthday was celebrated with a lot of fan fare. I had taken some snacks and cake for the staff and they appreciated it a lot. They had sung happy birthday like a zillion times. Chiyaa was quite amused and puzzled at the same time :)
A day later - it was her last day in her room. Her key person Abby wrote a really cute note that it had been fun to work with her. I know it must have been quite harrowing for her. She being a young girl herself, it must have been very challenging to take care of an adamant kid who cried for mommy all day long. But Abby persevered, and my kid accepted the perseverance. Abby had been with her to the room with the elder kids, and they had had lot of fun.They were confident it was time that she went on and participated in activities more attuned to bigger kids like rhymes, numbers and some other curricular skills.
It felt like my child had graduated!