Monday, October 14, 2019

Baby AF in Daycare

Today is the first day of Mrs. Done by Forty's new job, a cool post-doc position that will let her work in her field for a couple of years and let us stay local, all complete with a hardly-believable set of benefits. We're both excited for this opportunity for her to use her PhD in a project that just sounds so cool to me.

I'd tell you about it, but we're weird about keeping our anonymity. Just know that her job is way neater than mine.

It is a little bittersweet though, as that also means Baby AF will be going to daycare for the first time. He's sixteen months old now, and has never spent a day away from Mrs. Done by Forty and me. 

In fact, Baby AF has only been truly babysat by time. So this might be an adjustment for all of us.

As we tend to do, we went a bit overboard with the preparation for this. We researched to a ridiculous degree, looking at rankings for daycares and visiting them all, and maybe making a little spreadsheet with notes and scores for each, too. Plus we have two different friend couples who've sent their littles to the same center, so it's nice to have personal recommendations from people we trust.

We visited again the other day to meet the teacher, and to get Baby AF more comfortable with the place and other kids before we start. We'll both go to drop him off Monday morning, and we have his bag packed with his favorite snacks and his little lovey for naps.

I think we're about as prepared as we can be. Still, there are bound to be some tears from all of us when we turn around and leave.

From an entirely selfish perspective, I'm just going to miss having the whole family at home. It's been a real blessing to be able to sneak in family time whenever I want to during the work day. Having all three meals together at the table. Hanging out on the back porch in between meetings.

Now, it's just me and Cayenne. 

I don't mean to complain. I know this is the most normal thing in the world. Most people who work send their children to daycare and it's just great for everyone, as far as we can tell. It's just new to us.

Still, I suppose this puts our plans for financial independence in clearer focus. The thing I'm most looking forward to is time with the family.

This isn't something I like to harp about on the blog too much, but it's always bugged me when people ask, usually with a degree of condescension, "What are you going to do with all that time once you're retired?"

And my honest answer is just what I already like doing: spending time with the people I love, and unremarkable as this probably sounds to other people, doing things that we enjoy doing. I like being a homebody most of the time and chilling with the fam. Mrs. Done by Forty is my best friend and Baby AF is my fucking buddy, you know? 

I love that Baby AF thinks I'm funny and wants to just spend time playing dumb little games with me. 

I love playing board games with friends and catching up over beers. I love that our friend group hosts parties, and that we can see so many of the people we love all at once: the people we haven't been able to see in too long, busy as we are.

I love when we get to spend a little time with relatives. I love the feeling that we're family and that this is home, and we can relax in each other's company, without having to really do anything at all: we just have to be around each other for it to be good.

I know I should have grander designs for my life. I love writing and creating things, I want to volunteer more and slow travel, and surely all of that will be part of whatever comes after I leave work. 

But if I'm being honest with myself, the cliche of disgraced politicians and failed CEOs, that they are leaving "to spend more time with their family", really is the true and honest thing I look forward to in this next life of ours.

So when Mrs. Done by Forty and I are wiping the tears away from our eyes tomorrow, while Baby AF screams behind the closed daycare door for us to come back, please, come back, I'm hoping it'll be a bit easier to swallow knowing that we should get a whole lot more time with the little guy soon.

Thanks for reading, as always.

*Photo is from seantoyer at Flickr Creative Commons.

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  1. It'll be a rough transition, but you will get through it. Pretty soon it will seem normal to send your kid to daycare. So sad, though. :(

    1. Thanks, Joe! We're about to head out the door and, man, I am feeling the anxiety. The kiddo just isn't used to not having us both around.

      Appreciate the words of wisdom. I know this is the most normal and healthy thing in the world. Just have to go through some adjustment, I think.

  2. Ah. This made me cry. In a good way, and in a real honest to gosh that's what life is way.

    I think the thing that always gnaws at me is that we can't/won't/can't step away any time soon. Our kiddo will definitely be school-aged before we could even fantasize about being close to a FI number.

    So the next best thing for us is making sure that the time we do have with him really is quality time. :D

    1. Thank you, Penny!

      I think we're in the same boat, now, just trying to ensure the time we have together is as good as it can be, as engaged as it can be. I'm still so new at this that I don't know what to expect or the best approach to take.

      I suppose he'll be in preschool and then grade school before we know it, so this is probably just what it's like. Just so hard when we're used to being around him all the time.

      I hear you on FI seeming a long way out. I know that's just normal for almost everyone working towards that goal: it's a slog. I should be grateful that we're close.

  3. "What are you going to do with all that time once you're retired?"

    I totally agree that I hate that question! I'm convinced it only comes from the single slice of society that is uncomfortable being alone (e.g., the Extroverts in Myers-Briggs type personality tests) and/or the slice of society who get their entire personal value from their jobs.

    I've started using this answer lately, "I'm going to play video games. They've gotten extremely good and entertaining and I can't wait to play some of them without guilt." It's a nice smack in the face to some who have demonized video games, and pleasant surprise, it has opened the flood gates to unexpected conversations with some other "over fifties" who say, "I know!". I've gained new friends with that line (at parent events).

    1. I love the video game line, Tin. I have a PS4 that is gathering dust (honestly I find more motivation to take out the Wii and play Mario Cart). But maybe I should dip my toe back in the gamer waters.

      I certainly am an extrovert as well but I find that hanging with my family and my close friends scratches that itch. Going to parties with a lot of people is great but I find it's a bit too much: I butterfly my way around and talk to everyone but hardly remember any one conversation all that much by the end of the night.

  4. I'm so excited for Mrs. DbF! I hope she loves her new gig. It does, indeed, sound absolutely amazing.

    Hugs to all of you as BaF ventures to daycare. You know he's gonna be the coolest, sweetest kid in the room, and you know he's going to have grand adventures, but still. It's hard.

    1. Thank you, friend! I told Mrs. Done by Forty your comment and she says thanks!

      Baby AF has had some up and down moments with daycare so far, but I'm hoping next week is better than the first. Here's to hoping. :)