I took the day off work today because all I could think about was how confused Sebastian was going to be, rudely yanked from his daycare class right at nap time and put on a unfamiliar bus and buckled in by a stranger, then driven to an unfamiliar building and ushered inside by more strangers, then forced from circle time to centers to group work, then ushered BACK onto a bus with yet another stranger, then driven back to daycare.
And it’s not like you can explain a sequence of events like that to a kid who, well, doesn’t really talk.
No problem, however: If I took the day off work and followed him around, it would mitigate the stress completely!
Ha ha ha ha sigh.
Here’s what I planned: come to Sebastian’s daycare, have lunch with him (sweet! cute! precious bonding time!), help him get ON the bus, follow the bus to PPCD, help him get OFF the bus and into the building, meet him three hours later after PPCD and help him get back ON the bus, then follow the bus to daycare and help him back OFF the bus. Military-like planning, no?
Well, the second I showed up at daycare, Sebastian ran from the kids’ holding area (the teachers were getting lunch together) and shouted, “HI MOMMY!”
“Hi Son!” I said. “Let’s get lunch! YUMMY!”
He ran to his lunch, took a single bite of tortilla, then ran to the door.
“BYE BYE TEACHER!” he cried. “BYE BYE TEACHER!”
Well, we couldn’t go anywhere — it was only 11:15 and the bus wouldn’t be there until 11:40 or so. So I sat down and played with Sebastian, along with the dozen other kids who swarmed me because they couldn’t believe the novelty of a MOMMY in the daycare room RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY, BEFORE NAP TIME, EVEN.
While I tried to keep Sebastian from snatching toys from other kids (no wonder he gets bitten all the time), a little girl came right up to me and said clearly, “I want my Mommy too.”
“I bet your mom will be here soon,” I lied.
“Why are YOU here?” she asked accusingly.
“I need to take Sebastian somewhere,” I said.
“What’s your name?”
Incomplete answer. Unsatisfactory. “What’s your name?” she said again.
What’s your name?”
“Yes, that’s right.”
“What’s your name?”
I darted my eyes around, looking for a different little kid to talk to.
Then she wondered aloud when her mommy would come.
“She’ll be here after your nap,” I said confidently.
“Will she go do her workout first?” she asked, concerned.
“Hmm, I don’t know,” I said, feeling guilty that Sebastian never has to wonder that.
“I’m almost 3,” she said.
That’s when this tale turns dark: I looked at this little kid who could speak normally (even though she forgets your name right after asking it, which makes for awkward party conversation), and I looked at my little boy who was muttering, “Bye bye teacher,” to himself, and I got jealous and sad.
Then the bus came, and I said goodbye to Talky McWorkout and took my boy out to meet it.
He made it to school fine, and when the aide came out to meet us, she said worriedly, “I thought he wasn’t starting until Thursday!” I looked around, wondering if this lady was really going to send us away, then she said, “But that’s fine. It doesn’t matter.” So I handed her a bag of pullups and another of graham crackers and watched as Sebastian followed this strange lady trustingly into the school.
I met him that afternoon, and he WAS confused by his busy day, but he was also fine, and I realize in hindsight that he would have been perfectly OK if I hadn’t been there. The bus drivers and the daycare teachers and the PPCD staff are not newbies when it comes to keeping little kids safe. But for my own sake, I’m glad I went. I needed to know the who, what, where, when, and how.
I already know the why: I need him to be able to talk like that little girl.