Tuesday, January 17, 2012


The New Year is always a time to start fresh, make a resolution, take on a new challenge. For Elliot it was the start of “real” daycare. For the first 9 months of his life he was fortunate enough to stay with a family friend while my wife and I worked. We have known for months that January was going to be the time he would start in a more traditional daycare setting and have had time to mentally prepare ourselves. Elliot, on the other hand, was caught unaware.

The daycare we are using is excellent. We should know—we toured enough that I feel very comfortable saying that. The touring process was mind-numbing, to say the least. Sometimes you “just know” when you walk into a place. I remember one such place. We dropped in right at peak time. As soon as the door opened, my senses were assaulted with an overwhelmingly putrid smell and kids screaming. I knew right then that this place was not the winner, but instead of making a u-turn and sparing our evening, we politely sat through the hour-plus sales pitch. We feigned interest when they showed us the playground, classrooms and common areas, all the while knowing that I’d rather hide Elliot under my desk at work than leave him there for one minute.

Conversely, when we walked into the center we ultimately selected, we also “knew.” It was quiet and smelled nice, and the people seemed genuinely friendly. In fact we were so surprised that we decided we would do a stealth surprise visit the next week to make sure they weren’t faking the whole thing. They weren’t; it really was that perfect.

So by the time “the day” arrived, Lauren and I felt pretty good about things. The way our schedules work, I will always be the one to drop him off or, in Elliot’s mind, abandon him, and Lauren will be the one to pick him up—AKA rescue him. It’s probably a good thing that I am the one to drop him off because I don’t know that my wife would have been able to do it. Elliot cried and cried, and even though I stayed for some time, played with him and tried to bribe him with Cheerios, he knew something was up.

We called every couple of hours that first day to check on him, and learned he was staging a hunger strike. He was refusing to take his bottle or take a nap. He was making a point. When we got him home that night, he was completely fried. He ate three consecutive bottles (he’s never eaten more than one) and then passed out around 6:30 for the night. This was a rough start, and we were ready to give up and pull him out of daycare right there.

Luckily, many friends advised us to give it a few weeks, and what do you know, they were right. Now three weeks in, he is doing great. He has made friends with a couple of the babies there and even has his own breakfast clique each morning. He’s called off the hunger strike and is now charming the people there like he does everyone else.

He’s even forgiven me for being the abandoner, but I think he’s still paying me back subtly, as I am now on my second cold of 2012, and its only January 16! I think the way he sees it, if I am sharing my baby with the daycare center, then it is only fair for him to share every germ he can find there with me.

Jordan Echols is a Marketing Manager at Texas Health Resources and dad to 10-month-old Elliot.

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