I came across this letter I wrote to Grayson’s first daycare providers. I wrote it as an emotional new mommy about to send her baby away for the first time. Oh my goodness. If only I could tell myself then that it really does get so much better and easier. Two years later, and Grayson adores “school”. I adore school. Can you imagine getting this letter as a daycare worker? Bless it.
I so remember the desperation I felt when I wrote this. The two sweet ladies who first watched Grayson became dear friends to our family, and I’m glad I shared my fears and hopes with them. In some way, I think it helped us jumpstart an open, honest connection that guided us tremendously through that first year of daycare. It ended up being wonderful, by the way.
How did you prep to send your child off to daycare for the first time? Any letters or words you shared? I’m completely interested.
To Grayson’s Teachers,
First off, thank you for everything you do every single day. I know it’s not easy – boy, do I know it’s not easy – but I am so thankful that you have chosen this profession. I realize that you are underpaid, not to be disrespectful to this awesome facility, but because there is no way to pay someone enough for the type of mind-boggling hard work you do.
Secondly, I’m sharing a list of things I’d like you to know about Grayson and our family because, aside from the direct members of our family, you’re basically the most important people in our lives and we think that fact alone demands we be as honest as possible before our year of daycare starts. During the day, you ensure the safety and happiness of my child. Need I say more? So here it is….
1. I want you to feel like you can love on Gray. Our little man will be comforted when you let him hold your finger while you feed him and stroke his sweet head when you hold him. I do not want him to go all day without feeling kind human touch, not just the changing diapers quickly and handing him a toy sort of touch. I will not hesitate in the least if you kiss him on the head and hold his pink cheek up to yours and play with his soft little baby feet (although that tickles him so he may pull them away). I want him to feel human touch so that he knows he is safe and learns that it’s ok to be affectionate with other people, for hugs and security and to connect with them and make this planet a little smaller.
2. We promise to drop off and pickup Grayson every single day with a smile on our face because what we make of daycare will be what he makes of daycare. We understand that creating a positive experience here is a two-way street, and his happiness starts with us as parents.
3. His smiles are the best smiles. When you look directly into his eyes his little toothless grin will get even wider and that means he is really, really happy and you will be rewarded with a slight gurgling laugh that would melt his mommy and daddy’s heart if they could see it. Thank you for making him smile. Above all else, we want him to be happy.
4. If he has eaten and has a clean diaper and is still crying he could need either his paci or to be held closely with his head tucked under your chin, but most likely both. Once he falls asleep he normally is pretty good about staying down for a nap in his crib. He sleeps on his back and will look like a gorgeous little angel. I’m telling you now so you can be prepared when that level of beauty enters your life.
5. If he doesn’t stop crying, call me. I will leave right away and come down to hold him and tell him everything will be OK. I will not question what you did or didn’t do to try to calm him because I know you’ve done everything possible and I would rather spend my time holding him close and smelling his delicious baby smell. It will get easier and I know that.
6. We call him our “sweet, sweet baby boy” and you can do the same. We want Gray to grow up to be a kind person who loves others, will give of his talents and work to make this world a better place. I think who he becomes starts with who we tell him he is. We – you, me, his father and our family – start the story and he gets to complete it one day. Thank you for being part of building him up to be the passionate, friendly and loving person he will become one day.
7. During holidays I will buy you Target gift cards when possible. It is selfish and I will secretly hope it will buy my kid the time and attention he needs from you.
8. He loves to be read to. He’ll gaze at the illustrations for what seems like minutes. Yes, he’s an infant but he will love hearing your voice and seeing new things.
8. Please share his accomplishments with us. I realize that because he is in daycare it is likely that we will miss some “firsts,” but I would rather hear about his progress and be part of that journey. I will not cry – at least not in front of you – and will be so thankful because I get to take him home and praise him for his little milestones even if he can’t quite understand what I’m saying yet. We will feel better because of your honesty.
That is it. Thank you again for being there for us. We are so excited to start Grayson’s “school” with you!
Christina & Matt Honkonen