When I went back to work after my first baby was born, I- like most working parents- worried a bit about what I'd miss while my baby was in someone else's care. I figured that was just the trade off I'd have to make so that I could keep working.
I never thought I'd end up thinking that missing something was a good thing... but I do.
Petunia was looking at a book of shapes. She saw the diamond, and said "dimen" and made a diamond shape with her fingers. Then she saw the heart, and patted her chest and said "ba-BOOM, ba-BOOM." I was surprised- in a wonderful way. I had never taught her those things, and neither had my husband. She learned them from day care. It was such a cool thing to be completely surprised by something she had learned, like getting a surprise gift from someone.
Petunia does a lot of cute things right now. She's at that age. She calls band-aids "nay-nays" and insists I put one on if I get a scratch on my arm- after she's noted Mommy's owie, and kissed it better, of course. And she's learning a lot of things, too. She's almost got her alphabet down, and she's getting much better at jigsaw puzzles. But few of these are surprising. I've been helping her practice her alphabet, and I do the jigsaw puzzles with her. I kiss her owies better, so it is no big surprise that she wants to kiss mine better. Her telling me that her heart goes "ba-BOOM, ba-BOOM" was a complete surprise, and that made it even more delightful. Thinking back, I remember having a similar reaction when Pumpkin first sang us "I'm a Little Teapot," complete with actions, back when she was about two. I knew the song, of course, but had never tried to teach it to her. Her day care teacher, on the other hand, had an entire lesson plan built around nursery rhymes.
I missed watching my kids learn these things, but in return I got the happy surprise when they showed me their new skills. I know that I'll be having more and more of these moments as my kids start school, but for some reason I never thought about how fun they would be. I expected to miss my kids during the day- and I do. I didn't expect to also find myself happy to think about my kids off at day care during the day, learning things without me. But I do.