I can't think of anything harder to do than to leave your daughter who is crying behind at daycare on my way to work but I've had to do it three times this week. The first time happened the day of the last blog post after she had gone through the emotions of expecting several painful shots and not receiving any. I expected that one. But the very next day when we were back to our normal routine, she started crying as I was leaving and I had to go back and try to unsuccessfully comfort her. In the end, I had to leave her screaming and crying while the lady in charge gently restrained her. In the afternoons when I picked her up, she was always happy and even reluctant to leave. I gently probed her to make sure there wasn't some reason other than what I suspected, a bad case of missing mommy. I couldn't get any reasons out of her and so we went about our normal routine.
This morning, day three, as we were getting ready to walk out the door my daughter got all teary eyed and as she began to cry told me what I thought was that she didn't want to go to the daycare place. Instantly my hackles went up as I asked why she didn't want to go to the daycare. She said, no daddy, I don't want to EAT at the daycare place. Huh?
So as we got ready and drove to the daycare, I began to piece what the problem was. I feed my daughter a small breakfast before we go and when we get to daycare, a lot of kids there haven't eaten and I think they suspected my daughter is one of them. They would encourage my daughter to eat which my daughter, who has been taught to listen and obey her elders in situations like that, took as a demand. So I assured my daughter that she wasn't being forced to eat if she didn't want too and that I would talk with the 'teacher' at daycare to set things straight.
I did and in doing so found out the rest of the story. On the recent failed vaccination attempt day, since we had a leisurely start to our morning, I had fixed my daughter a bigger breakfast than normal which she had eaten. The daycare lady, not knowing this, had told my daughter a couple times to go down to the cafeteria to get something to eat. Her reasoning was that on that day, the school starts late and thus skips the morning snack time so it was going to be a long time before lunch. My daughter didn't know she had the option to say she wasn't hungry and thus sparked this incident.
Despite getting everything all out in the open, my daughter was still crying when I left which breaks me heart. I normally listen to the morning news on my way across town to work and this morning I forgot to even turn on the radio as my mind was focused on my daughter. Fortunately we are headed out of town this afternoon after school for a weekend of mommy time and I hope a weekend will repair things with my daughter emotionally. It is tough on her with her mom being away during the week but we are down to less than nine months and then never again for this long of time. When we were deciding to do this temporary split thing, we hypothesized that it would be easier on our daughter when she was younger than older and that is certainly proven to be true. I can't imagine how hard it would be if we were looking at the next three years.
[Post addendum: She was a little teary eyed on Monday and repeated that she wasn't hungry as we walked through the doors of the daycare. The teacher had her 'help in the kitchen' while she cooked breakfast for the other kids and that must of assured her that she wasn't being forced because there were no tears at all the rest of the week.]