“You will know your baby better than anyone.” I’ve heard my mom say this countless times. She tells all mothers this, and she says it repeatedly.
I started whining at my sister about 6 months ago. As soon as she mentioned the word, preschool. “I don’t understand why she has to go! She’s only turning three in July. Why can’t we wait until next year?" When that had no effect, “Well, then don’t sign her up on my days. I don’t want to lose time with her.” I watch my niece and nephew two days a week during the school year. My mom does two days, and her mother in law takes the fifth day. Well, here’s the other side of family care.
I just really didn’t want Kenzie to go to preschool. I LOVE my days with my niece and nephew, or as I usually call them, “My friends.” I didn’t want to miss a minute of it. So I was arguing with my sister about it, telling her that it was a dumb idea. What if Kenzie’s not ready? What if she doesn’t like it? My sister calmly, and then not so calmly repeatedly told me it was going to be good for her, she was definitely ready, and she would like it. She also wanted to know what was wrong with me because why wouldn't I want a break in the day?
So, it turns out to be MY day the FIRST DAY we have to drop her off at preschool. I had total anxiety about this for the two weeks leading up to it. What if she cried? What if she was upset? What if she got mad at me for leaving her? What if it destroyed our trust? The list went on. I explained all my fears to my mom, and you know what? She backed me up. I told her that if Kenzie cried, I wasn’t going to leave her and my mom said, “I wouldn’t either Kate. I don’t think she’s ready. I think we should wait until January.” One of us relayed this message to my sister, who not so calmly told us we HAD to drop her off. “What are you doing to do if I don’t, Kendall? Fire me? You can’t. I’m your sister.” See- downside of family care. Your family can give you a hard time about basic things that a regular babysitter wouldn’t. Kendall again said, “She’s ready. She’ll like it. It will be good for her.”
And you know what… She was right BECAUSE SHE’S THE MOM AND THE MOM ALWAYS KNOWS. Kenzie was totally ready. We debated between ballerinas and unicorn dresses, we talked about how she was going to have SOOO MUCH FUN, and we headed off. I was still very anxious. We walked in, and she got a little overwhelmed with all the people. She asked me three times if I was going to come back for her. Then we walked into her classroom, and her teacher greeted her warmly and told her she would have fun and make new friends. She gave me a big squeeze, asked again if I was coming back, and said, “Ok. Bye.” To my surprise, she didn’t cry. I didn’t either.
So to all our mamas out there, remember this, “You will know your baby better than anyone.” Remember it when friends and family (even well meaning friends and family) give you their opinions on breastfeeding, on co-sleeping, and parenting choices. This is your baby. You will know. Trust your instincts.