In two weeks, Nathan starts his second year of preschool. This means summer is almost over and so is day care.
So what did I accomplish this summer while the kids were in preschool? I got the carpets cleaned and attended an eBay seminar. I went to my MOMS Club board meetings and worked on the newsletter. I wrote our proposed charter school discipline and dress codes. I got a few haircuts, went to several doctor appointments and attended jury duty. I did some eBay selling and made a little extra money.
I ran errands, read some good books, went to see "I-Robot," got caught up on the fourth season of the "Sopranos," stayed in bed all day with a nasty head cold, cleaned my house and ate many meals without getting up once for someone else. I even got some writing done. It wasn't the most relaxing of summers, but I accomplished a lot.
Most importantly, I learned some important things about my kids and me. First, Nathan needs to have social interaction with his peers and other adults. He's the black hole of attention, and day care, like preschool, satisfies that need. He enjoyed playing with new kids, going swimming at the rec center, learning new songs and games and eating different foods.
Lucie thrived as well. Even though she'd cry every time I dropped her off, she was fine five minutes after I left. (I'd peek in the classroom window and check.) She started taking naps on a more regular schedule. She was also more enthusiastic about eating, rather than drinking, her meals at home. She got used to wearing shoes, probably because she saw the other kids wearing them. She even did some painting, which was something I'd never expose her to at home, figuring she was too little.
While I relished the solitude and quiet, I did miss my children, especially Lucie. Nathan, at four years, is a big kid. It's good for him to be away from me. And to tell you the truth, I'm glad to get away from "Drill Sergeant Nathan." He's especially moody and demanding these days, and it's overwhelming at times.
His sister is a different story. At one year, Lucie is still my baby and I need that cuddle time with her. I now value our one-on-one time more and am looking forward to attending our mommy/toddler tumbling class this fall.
I also learned my children really love each other. Several times, I witnessed a reunion scene that nearly brought me to tears. After picking up Lucie in her room, we'd go to the center's playroom to find her brother. Upon seeing her, Nathan would yell, "Oh, hiiiii Lucie!" Then he'd run over and give her a huge hug. She' say, "Nay-nay!" and hug him back. A real Kodak moment.
All in all, the day care experiment was successful. It did us all some good. I got a break and the children had a fun summer. I also learned some valuable things about us as a family and as individuals. Most importantly, I now know that if my children ever have to attend day care on a more permanent basis, we'll all survive, and the kids will flourish.