(Pictures are irrelevant to post but are super-cute and therefore I'm including them. Dishwasher pictures are filed under Things I Probably Should Not Encourage By Photographing. Closet pictures document closet hide-and-seek, a new favorite pastime.)
Yesterday was Claire's first Mom's Morning Out of the new semester and I am relieved and happy to report it went great. She went to an abbreviated MMO program at Christ Community a few months ago (three hours once a week for five weeks) and even that small amount of time seemed to make a marked difference in her separation anxiety. She rarely is babysat by anyone besides grandparents, all of whom she's very comfortable and happy with, but church nursery was almost an impossibility before MMO. Yesterday she cried when I dropped her off, but when I picked her up she was happy and playing and without prompting leaned in to give the teacher a goodbye fish kiss. All good signs. It probably helped that she had slept until 8:15 a.m. (7:30 is more typical) so missing her morning nap was more tolerable than it might have been otherwise. Thursdays will be extra-special because Claire and Riley are in the same Thursday class! There are a bunch of MMO programs around here and most of them have a good reputation with a corresponding mammoth waitlist. A couple of years ago I thought (based mostly on "The Nanny Diaries") that preschool waitlists were exclusive to swank establishments in big cities, but once I got pregnant I quickly learned otherwise. Claire has been on the waitlist for the Southern Pines FBC program since before she was born and (we've been told) might get in by the time she's 3 or 4. Evan's already on that list too.
She was 11th on Emmanual Episcopal's waitlist all summer but somehow she wound up with first one spot, then two: Mondays and Thursdays, 9 to noon each day. Each MMO program has its own flavor, and whereas the one at Christ Community was very laidback and free-flowing, this one is more structured, with set playground time, story time, snack time, etc., instead of just three open-ended hours. Not that there's anything wrong with that; it's how we spend all of our time at home. The age range is tighter at Emmanual, too -- all the kids are 1 or 2 -- which has its advantages. Most importantly, the teacher is nurturing, patient, kind and experienced (with separation anxiety and probably every other kid issue -- this is her 15th year with MMO).
Another reason this round of MMO feels different to me, I think, is that Claire seems wayyy older now than she did last spring. She couldn't even crawl then, and was still taking a bottle, and now she's walking and climbing and dancing and eating whatever we eat and saying some intelligible words and many more unintelligible ones, often with great passion, and testing boundaries and accessorizing and being funny on purpose and surprising me almost every day with new things she can understand and do. Emmanual Episcopal is just three blocks from our office, so until Evan arrives, I'll probably work at the office while Claire's there. That's what I did yesterday (but first Matt and I had coffee and a bagel at Java Bean Plantation for the first time in forever -- yum!). After Evan is born, Matt will probably start dropping Claire off at MMO and I'll have those mornings with just the boy. Hard to believe that's only a couple of months away.