When it comes to getting my daughter off to daycare in the morning, I pretty much have it down to a science. Everything is planned out perfectly- to the second (mostly). My daughter wakes up at 7 o'clock. I wake up at 7:30. I give her her bottle and a book to read, and I get ready (shower, shave, etc.). I come back in to her room (from right across the hall) change out the book for her, take the monitor with me and take out the dogs. I come back, change her diaper, change her clothes, and put on her shoes. She follows me in to the kitchen where I give the dogs some biscuits and grab myself something quick to eat. We walk to the front door, I turn on the alarm, I throw her over my shoulder, we wave to the mirror, and we leave. I buckle her in to car seat, sing her a few songs, drive her the 20 blocks to daycare, hand her over and I'm free and clear. No muss, no fuss, no crying.
This is our morning routine, Monday through Friday for the last 16 months. From 4 months of age onward I have been the one and only face my daughter has seen from 7:30 a.m. until 8:30 a.m. every single day- without incident I might add. But today was another day...
Today was the day where we got to see how the other half lives, so to speak. Today was the day where mommy (my wonderful wife)- off work for the day as we would be attending her Grandmother's funeral later in the afternoon- asked to drive my daughter to daycare, just to see what it was like. So who am I to complain, right? Sleep in for me...
You see, when you have a schedule and you're used to doing certain things a certain way, and your child is used to doing things a certain way as well (the way she has become used to), things run smoothly. But when someone else tries to help you out, inadvertently altering the schedule to suit their particular style, no matter who that person is (Moms included), things get, well, a bit hairy.
You see Mommy (my wife) has her own way of doing things in the morning. After all, Daddy is a man; Mommy is a woman. She has more to do to get ready, but the same amount of time to do it in. So Mommy's morning is a bit more frantic, and less relaxed than Daddy's. And whereas Daddy (me) moves very slowly in the morning, Mommy (my wife) moves very, very quickly, attempting to get every thing done that she needs to. She's up and out of bed racing around to find her glasses and her car keys and her make-up bag. Daddy doesn't have these issues. She waits until the morning to figure out what she wants to wear. Daddy is wash and wear (a lot faster). She's worrying about cutting the new bag of homogenized milk perfectly so it will flow easier in to the baby's bottle. Daddy, much to her chagrin, rips it with his teeth and doesn't care if it sprays everywhere. And Mommy's more precise, making sure she pours exactly 8 ounces in the baby's bottle, whereas Daddy just likes to be in and around that amount.
Unfortunately, Mommy's way, perfectly normal for many moms, is not Daddy's way. And as my daughter is used to Daddy's slow, relaxed way in the morning, Mommy's new way made her, well, cranky. Whereas Daddy (the guy who slowly realized the sleep in he thought he was going to get was not happening) had not heard his daughter cry this early in the day (barring illness) in 16 months, Mommy got nothing but tears. Why? Because Mommy's way, although only slightly different from Daddy's, threw off our daughter's schedule. And as we all learn the hard way, a baby's schedule is a delicate thing. And the cranky screams ensued. Call it Mommyitis. Call it an aversion to change. Call it a learning experience... but Mommy did not have a good experience trying to take our daughter off to daycare.
So what did we learn? Well, for one, Mommy will not be asking to take our daughter to daycare anytime soon - she prefers picking her up instead (less stressful for her as the baby is used to "her" way at that time of day). And two, it's just better not to mess with Daddy's domestic domain (the things Daddy and daughter have become accustomed to doing together). True, Daddy has also learned the hard way not to mess with Mommy's domain, as any time he has tried to wake his daughter up from her mid-afternoon nap to give her a bottle it has not gone well, so he can empathize. The point is, to a child, parents are not interchangeable on a moment's notice. You have to ease them in to a new way of doing things, or all hell breaks loose. Does Daddy do it better in the morning? No. Just differently. But it's enough of a difference for our daughter to notice, and that's enough of a reason to keep the status quo.
On a bright note, our daughter got off to daycare on time... for the first time... ever. It seems Mommy's got better ears (to listen for the alarm, and her daughter's cries) than Daddy.