Friday, December 02, 2016

First time in nursery

Last night was our Relief Society Christmas Dinner. Andrew made sure to be home from campus in time for me to go, so that he could feed the kids dinner and get them to bed.

"Do you want to keep Zoë?" I asked.

"Well," he hemmed. "I was kind of hoping to get some writing done..."

"Well," I hemmed. "I guess I could take her..."

We love that girl—don't get me wrong—but she can be a little high maintenance. Therefore we've left her with a babysitter, like, never. She's a screamer and she doesn't sleep so basically she's loud and switched on all the time. I haven't felt like we could or should leave her with anyone until she settled down a bit on the neediness home-front. It wouldn't be fair to her and it wouldn't be fair to the sitter.

While I was rehearsing for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Andrew would often watch her so I could dance baby-free. But it was torture for them both. She'd scream the whole time and he'd be a big ball of stressed-out Daddy by the time I relieved him. It was even worse when I'd try to send her to the nursery. So mostly I just kept her with me.

I've had her with me her whole life.

The sister missionaries were hounding me for a time, trying to get me to commit to going on splits with them but I was like, "I literally always have my baby with me. And I literally cannot leave the baby with anyone else because she literally is a monster unless she's with me." So then they started leaving me alone.

Seriously, the child had to be within a certain distance of me or she'd lose it. Like, if I walked across the room to do something she'd throw a conniption fit.

For a time, this was fine and enjoyable, even—being close to the baby, that is, not necessarily the fits when I wasn't close. I love baby snuggles. So going to book club or enrichment meetings with a cute, doe-eyed, snuggly baby all evening was fine. Volunteering on field trips or in the classroom with an itty-bitty baby strapped to my back was fine.

But do you know what happened to that cute, itty-bitty, doe-eyed snuggly thing? She grew up into a toddler.

I love toddlers as much as (but perhaps a little bit less than) the next person, but do you know what is much less enjoyable in the company of a rowdy, wiggly, curious, and loud toddler? Pretty much everything.

Book club? Haven't gone in months.

Volunteering at school? A bit of a nightmare.

Relief Society Enrichment Night? Nope.

"Just put her in the nursery," Andrew suggested. "She's old enough now."

She's been attending nursery with me since I got called in the summer, but last Sunday was her first official Sunday—she turned 18 months old on November 23.

"Sure," I said. "She'll just go to the nursery. Without me. Uh-huh."

But I took her with me anyway. Because it really is too much of a punishment to ask Andrew to put all the kids to bed and deal with a screaming Zoë (because that's all she ever does for him (unless he takes her grocery shopping; she likes that)).

I looked into the gym and it was so fancy and festive that I just knew Zoë's antics would ruin the entire ambiance.

"We'll just try the nursery," I told her. "See how it goes. You might even like it. There will be snacks and toys and friends and a movie. It'll be fun!"

I opened the door and our little buddy Jay (he's one of my nursery-goers) ran over to us exclaiming, "Zoë!"

He wrapped her up in a big hug, then took her by the hand and led her over to the toy closet. I stood by the door, peeping through the window for a few minutes, waiting for Zoë to realize that I was gone, waiting to hear her piercing screams, waiting to see her to throw herself on the floor in a fit of fury.

I waited and waited and waited, but nothing happened. She was perfectly content.

"Huh," I said to myself.

And then I found a seat in the cultural hall and enjoyed a wonderful dinner and program before picking Zoë up at the end of the evening. Her contentedness was waning, so though she seemed relieved to see me again, she was just fine (though a little sullen) when I peeked in the window.

So maybe I'll try sending her to the younger nursery on Sunday (she's been coming to the older nursery with me) so she can get a little more used to being without me, now that she knows she can survive without being by my side 100% of the time...

It probably helped that the nursery was staffed by men. Zoë tends to like men quite a bit. And the younger nursery just happens to be staffed by men!


  1. Men make the best nursery leaders....Five years of being a primary president in a ward with three full nurseries makes me confidant in making that statement. I always rolled my eyes at the couples that would come to me and say, "we don't want our child in the male nursery. We don't feel safe about it." OK folks but your kid is missing out! Glad you were able to go and have a good time.