This is something we've been considering for months. But since the news of Noah's schedule change, we've thrown our daycare discussions into high gear.
We're only going to need 11 days of childcare each month now, and no matter how much we like the teachers and the activities and the near-weekly photo sessions, we just can't justify the $158 per week price tag of Ethan's current daycare anymore.
Commence the announcement: Ethan is leaving daycare, and will instead be babysat by a police officer's stay-at-home wife and her childcare partner (they mind 3 other babies).
Even though I feel really good about the decision now (especially since one of the other babies is my friend Callie's 8-month-old son), I can't help but feel a little sad. As it turns out, I pretty much hate change.
Sometimes I like change. For instance, I like not having a gallbladder anymore and also I like not living in an apartment. But it had to get bad in those situations before I'd surrender and say, "Sure, take my rebellious internal organ out," or "I can't deal with this crappy living arrangement any longer, no matter how many memories we have here."
I coerced Noah to take the lead in this particular situation ("But you're the mom, and childcare is a woman's issue," and then he dodged the remote as I threw it at his head). I didn't want to be the one to break the news. I'd prefer not to talk about it at all, actually, and instead just quietly leave for the last time on Friday as if it were any other day, and not the end of an era. (Possibly I hate change because I tend toward the dramatic, and what could be more dramatic than ending an era?) I have been known to avoid goodbyes on purpose. I'm forced to say them enough without sticking around for the ones that could be avoided. Who would willingly put themselves through that?
When I read the email that Noah sent to the daycare, I nearly cried at the last line: "Thank you for the excellent and professional care given to Ethan and my family these past months." I don't know why, but it tugs at my heartstrings to think of how easily we handed our child over to veritable strangers, and how easily we're stopping. It pains me that this isn't harder, what with my baby being the most important little human in my life. But I've had to put the difficulty of this aside so I can carry on, pursue meaning in a career, and bring home an essential paycheck. Life can be cruel on a mother who loves being a mother but also needs (and wants) to work outside the home.
Also, I'm sad for the teachers. Because how can they possibly go on without Ethan around, being the veritable sunlight casting his precious rays in their dark corners of other-people's-kids'-smelly-diapers and excessively, unendingly runny noses? And I can't even talk about his girlfriend, Nora. I hope and pray she can move on and find some other boy to snuggle and steal toys from. She's just too young to give up on romance.