Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Year Ago

Last year just about this time, I had a horrible, no good kind of day.  I couldn’t sleep one night before work and stayed up all night stressing about the impending weekend. We were going to put our house up for sale the next day and there was a lot to consider. We didn’t know what was coming, where we were headed, and where we even stood in that moment. It was emotionally draining and we weren’t even in the thick of it yet. In my sleeplessness, I surfed the web on my phone, peering at the tiny screen, lying in the dark, and poking away at minutia. I realized in my search for nothing that I hadn’t heard from a good friend in a while. We’d reconnected on facebook and had danced the mutual gushing dance when we’d found each other at long last. We’d stayed in contact and had plans to see each other the next spring. There’s more to it than that, but in brevity I’ll leave it. Again, in my restlessness, I realized I hadn’t heard anything in a while. I clicked on his FB profile and immediately knew something was askew. A quick google search resulted in the confirmation that he’d died in a rock-climbing accident a couple months earlier. I was instantly devastated. I obviously didn’t make it to sleep that night and got out of bed feeling heavy with grief and exhaustion and stress.

I felt gutted as I got ready for work the next day. You know those days when your eyes burn, your head buzzes, and your body merely exists? It was one of those mornings. And when our nanny, with whom we’d begun to have problems, showed up that day, I was in a frenzied mess getting out the door. Wouldn’t you know that as I grabbed my keys she said, “I’m giving my two weeks notice today.” I stopped and looked her in the face to hear what must have taken her every bit of brilliance to announce, “This isn’t working out.” It was 3 weeks into the semester, the day before we put our house up for sale, and a few hours after learning that a dearly important friend had died.

Have you ever been dumped by someone who didn’t deserve you to begin with? It was like that when the nanny quit. We’d already begun looking for a new person to watch Amelia and pulling ourselves away from Ashley. I had hopes that we could make it through the semester, but I’d started the research phase all the same. Things had gone awry over the summer when Amelia started telling me that Ashley worked on her computer and played on her phone all day. I’d come home early a couple times and been able to verify Amelia’s accounts and trusted her far more than the grown woman watching her. Over the course of the summer, when Ashley watched Amelia 4 days a week, the poor girl had started having potty accidents regularly and almost regressed all the way back to diapers after having been out of them for months. I of course blamed myself for working too much! In any case, it’d gotten to the point that we knew Amelia was not getting quality care. Or hardly any care at all and I’m pretty sure that Ashley knew that Amelia was ratting her out. My girl was a very smart 2 year old, you see-- and if you aren’t that smart of an adult, that would probably start to scare you.

In any case, back to that day. I realized that day as my mind almost exploded with stress and emotion that there is NO stress like Mama stress. To think that we didn’t have anyone to watch Amelia the following week (I’d be damned before letting Ashley come back after that day!) or how she would handle the transition or what was about to happen to us all just made me fall apart. I went into crazy, stressed mom mode. I made it through my first class by not remembering a single thing I’d said, spent my break contacting family and friends to gather volunteers to watch Amelia in the next week until we could land a regular gig. I was on the phone with my mom and Justin several times, coming up with a plan. I cancelled my last class in order to go home, confront Ashley, and let her go for good. In retrospect, I should’ve just let her go in the morning because the thought of her being in my house with my kid that day made my skin crawl. On my way home, I pulled out of the school parking lot and saw a sign for preschool next door. I pulled in on a whim and walked in and spoke with the Director for an hour. I literally didn’t know what I was looking for, what questions to ask, or what would work for my kid. I just kind of stumbled in the door wide-eyed and when someone asked me if I needed help, I honestly replied, “I have no idea where to start.” I left with their handouts and quite thankfully, was too late home to confront the woman I’d trusted in my home, treated like family, and by whom I felt betrayed. Justin, always the cooler head, was able to let her go with fewer fireworks than I could have ever managed.

When I walked in that evening, I immediately burst into tears. The exhausted emotional stress of that day, the previous night, and the days to come overwhelmed me. I really didn’t care about losing a half-assed, untrustworthy nanny, but the thought of throwing Amelia into a brand new situation without warning just did me in. I wasn’t ready for Amelia to go to school. I told Justin that I just couldn’t handle the thought of her with a backpack and lunch pail trotting off to preschool. As I told him this, he welled up too. My head had been spinning all day and I wanted to collapse and here we had a rather large situation on our hands. Mind you, we didn’t even have a babysitter for Amelia. She’d only ever been with my mom and Ashley. Very methodical and careful parents, we found ourselves at a major loss of where to ever begin. 

The only good thing that came out of that day was the visit to the preschool. As we talked it out over the weekend, it really seemed like this school had what we’d look for—you know, if we ever took the time to look. ha. Amelia visited the school a couple times that week and was enrolled within a week of the nanny quitting. And less than two weeks later, she went for her first real day at preschool. I blogged about it that day.

And she indeed went off to school with a backpack and lunch pail.


And it indeed broke my heart into a tiny pieces as anticipated. She just seemed . . . so little. *crack*

And as it turned out, school was brilliant for Amelia. Though it was a HUGE transition for all of us (She’d only ever been left with two people beside her parents), she managed it very well. In fact, the potty accidents disappeared within two weeks and potty training was officially over. (guess it wasn’t me working after all) She was happy, adjusted, and with her own space in the world. It’s crazy to think that it was cheaper for us too btw, which is bananas since it was so much better for her. The switch was tough and there were some downsides to preschool vs. nanny, but overall, the babychild immediately grew better.

It’s been a year since Amelia started school and she is the happiest little girl on the planet, I’m convinced. She sings all day everyday, has confidence, and loves her friends. She adores her teachers and learns the coolest things at school. She loves to play school and is always the teacher in her own game. It’s in her blood. I couldn’t be happier with our experience with her preschool and am now thankful that we were pushed into enrolling her. I’m pleased that I didn’t make myself crazy researching schools and going on a multitude of visitations. In the peak moment of mama stress, I trusted my gut and got shit done. And I find myself so very glad that we handled the situation as we did.

I took pictures of her school days through the last year.

Official Fall School Pic—taken the Friday before she even started. :)















First day in the 3-year-old class! 









The new pics should be in soon. :) What a difference a year makes! All from a no-good horrible kind of day. There’s no stress like mama stress to make us trust our instincts to make the best decisions. And there’s nothing like an amazing little two year old to remind us that parents struggle more with these transitions than the little ones. It really is incredible what we as parents can do when put in a corner and worried about the well-being of our babychildren and that is what I learned that day in September last year.


Monica said...

It really is true that everything happens for a reason (even if it did cause you Mama stress), even if it did cause you Mama stress. Poop on Ashley! :)

Monica said...

Ugh... excuse my stutter! :o