Last week was a big week in the Team Stein household. As summer came to a close and September rolled in, we were facing the end of an era. K’s final days (ever!) of maternity leave came to a close, and with that came a baby going to daycare for the first time, a toddler becoming a preschooler and making the switch to the big-kid room at school, a mama re-joining the workforce after a short break, and a dad just trying to keep us all from having major meltdowns at any given moment.
Tuesday was the day. The one we had been both dreading and looking forward to for the last month. The day we’d talked about over and over with Q, even though he was skeptical of heading to the big kid room. We were also skeptical of our excitement. Even though the cost of care went down (minimally, but yay!), our little boy was leaving the toddler room and embarking on preschool.
7:00 am –
The house stirs. An iPhone alarm clock blares a generic tune and T hops out of bed to shower in peace, while leaving K snuggled up with H in her arms to savor a few more moments of sleep before facing ‘The Day.’
7:10 am –
“Daaaaaaaddddddyyyyyyy, come snugglebug me.” Not a problem. (Except that it was a problem because it put us about 20mins behind schedule, which is not as easy to overcome when you’re trying to get two kids ready for school.)
7:40 am –
After a nice, nutritious breakfast for Q, consisting of a half eaten Jammy Sammy, soggy bowl of Cheerios and a hamburger bun, he now needs to get dressed. We put him in an adorable shirt and jeans. We are met with the first tears of the day.
“I don’t want these jeans, I want pants!” says Q, eyes watering. Apparently, jeans are not considered pants in the mind of a 3-year-old who spends his summers in shorts and sweatpants. We manage to get clothes on the kid and we avoid meltdown #1.
8:08 am –
Meanwhile, K is getting H dressed and ready for her first day of daycare. K is nearly in tears as she puts on the same spaceship outfit that Q wore for his first day of daycare, just three short years ago. H, on the other hand, is all smiles because that’s just who she is. K manages to pull herself together, avoiding what would have been the 2nd set of tears that morning from Team Stein.
8:12 am –
“Alright Q, it’s time for shoes and loading the car. Has anyone seen my keys?” -T
“I have to potty and poopy.” – Q
(Now, everyone knows that you don’t say no to a kid who wants to go to the toilet when you’re in the thick of potty-training.)
We pause the frantic key search and hit the bathroom before we head out. T sits in the bathroom with Q, reading stories while K continues to gather up the bazillion things that you have to send to school when you have two children starting in new rooms on the same day. She’s also trying to pack up her pumping supplies, work supplies and lunch….so basically she’s running around the house like a chicken with her head cut off. H starts to squawk for her mama milk, so all that activity gets put on hold and K feeds the baby. Did we mention that K is still in pajamas? Our goal was to arrive at daycare by 8:00 am. Sometimes goals are loose guidelines.
8:28 am –
All feeding and bathroom activities are complete. The cars are loaded with diapers, extra clothes, bottles, backpacks, pumps, lunches, and humans. We are still short one set of keys.
8:30 am –
Obligatory picture time!
8:34 am (Yes, it took four minutes.) –
We’re off! Normally, T handles drop-off on his own, but due to the sheer amount of stuff/children that are going to daycare, it becomes a 2-person job. K travels to school and parks in the back of the building, by a seldom used entrance, which leads to T not being able to locate Team Stein upon his arrival in the front of the building. K tries to wrangle a somewhat excited/somewhat stalling 3-year-old, an infant in the bucket seat (clearly designed by people who never had to lug around an actual kid in that thing), a pack of diapers, full bottles and a bag of supplies into the building without losing anything.
8:41 am –
Team Stein attempts to drop off Q first. We show up door with our circus of supplies/people and not a damn clue as to what we’re supposed to be doing (we missed orientation due to some unforeseen circumstances). Like Joey and Donny and the other ones, we’re the new kids on the block. But, we find the teacher and get Q settled in with a toy, locate his locker, and receive the quick rundown of drop-off protocol. Q’s not sure we’re coming right back, but seems occupied enough that we miss meltdown #3. We return for a quick hug and kiss, convincing the little man that this room is actually super great. As we pry his little hands from our legs and leave, K manages to hold back the tears again, thus avoiding meltdown #4.
8:52 am –
T and K head to the infant room to get H settled into her space. This one should be easier, right? We arrive right as the lights are dimmed and the babies are getting ready for morning naps. Seriously. We’re so late that it’s morning nap time. (Though a nap does seem like a good idea at this point.) Luckily, we are familiar with the ins and outs of the infant room already, so drop off is a bit less chaotic. We manage to locate her crib, drop the supplies, check-in with the teacher and start heading out the door.
“Wait! We don’t have a first day picture with H!” – K
In what bystanders will describe as “stealing your own child from daycare”, we quickly grab the little one, head out into the hallway for a photo, and place her back in the loving arms of the staff who will care for our precious cargo. As we head down the hallway, K cannot hold back the tears that start streaming down her cheeks. An official meltdown is inevitable at this point.
9:01 am –
We’ve done it. We’ve made it to the car and only one of us is crying.
Fast-forward two days later and H is already sick and staying home from daycare.
The universe is winning this round.