Leaving My Baby With Strangers

“Move your arm, move your arm,” I whispered as I tried to sneak a glance of Cooper before I walked away.

As if she – the stranger- heard me, she moved her arm and I caught a glimpse of his face.

His smile.

My whole world.

Oh God, I’m going to cry. 

He looks so sweet.

And happy.

He smiled.

And kicked his legs.

He is having fun!

Dear Lord, someone make me walk away. I don’t want to walk away.

He was sitting in a bouncy chair. The daycare lady was feeding another baby and two other toddlers were crawling around the room.

Before I had the courage to walk out the room, I kissed his little forehead and told him that I loved him.

“Mommy will be just a few rooms away,” I whispered to him. “I’m going to workout so I can chase you around a lot quicker one day.”

My friends have all had a great experience with the daycare workers at the YMCA. But to me. To Cooper…they were strangers.

And when you leave your baby for the first time – especially with someone who isn’t a family member – you’ll likely feel a sense of anxiety.

And worry.

Or maybe you won’t. But I did. I honestly felt like I was leaving my baby with strangers.

You are just preparing yourself for when you return to work. Walk away. You can do this.

The women at the daycare were incredibly kind to Cooper and myself. They smiled when they talked to him. Told him he was handsome. And asked about his favorite things.

Does he like a pacifier? No- he usually gives you a super dramatic face, almost insulted that you’d give him something to put in his mouth that wasn’t food.

Does he like a bouncy chair? Absolutely – especially if it vibrates! Although it could trigger a poop. He loves his poop chair. Opps.

Back at the window, I watched Coop for a few more seconds.

Coop looked up and smiled.

This smile.
I live for this smile.

He looked around at his new friends, studying them and probably wishing he could talk to them.

Seeing his smiling face and talking to the kind daycare workers made it (A LITTLE) easier for me to walk away.

If the YMCA daycare workers need you, they walk around the gym with a giant clipboard that has your baby’s name on it. Very similar to the sign the limo drivers hold up for you at the airport (I wouldn’t know from experience). But in this case, you don’t get a fancy ride and adult beverages. You get a poopy diaper or a hungry baby.

Either way, I found myself constantly looking at the front door – waiting on someone to walk in with a giant sign that said, “COOPER SIEB.”

To my surprise, no one came looking for me! I managed to get in 20 minutes or cardio and 15 minutes of strength training…and I felt incredible! 

But I must admit I found myself watching the clock and counting down the minutes until I would see Coop again! I’m sure that’s how my workdays will feel when I return to work again.

Time is going by too quickly.

I walked back to the daycare and saw my sweet baby Coops- completely content and passed out in the bouncy chair.

They assured me that he did amazing; slept almost the entire time.

I know Cooper will never remember this day.

The day that I left him with strangers for the first time.

But me, well, I’ll always remember this day.

And I’m thankful that we had such a positive experience.

I’ve always heard that leaving your child at daycare is harder on YOU then the child. And that was proven true today when I saw Cooper smiling and studying his new friends.

Now, this new discovery doesn’t make leaving him any easier…walking away from my babes will always be hard. But at least next time I will know that he is having as much fun as a baby can have at the YMCA daycare.

“Mom, you’re too sweaty for snuggles.” – Coop

Pretty soon, the daycare workers at the YMCA won’t be strangers anymore. They will get to know us. And we will get to know them. Hopefully Cooper will quickly love the YMCA as much as I do! And in the long run, I hope exposing Cooper to new places, people, and experiences will help fuel his adventurous spirit.

Much love,
Ashley

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