This past week, Oliver completed his first full day of daycare. We had been fortunate enough to keep him at home with his mother for the first three and a half months, due to my wife’s teaching schedule. In the meantime, summer break allowed for baby-bonding time, and both mother and son took advantage of it. They now have inside jokes and a secret handshake. They occasionally finish each other’s sentences. They are super tight.
Because of this, I was shocked to find that my wife was so calm when she first dropped him off. She managed not to cry, and even called me to let me know that everything went well. I was initially skeptic. I imagined her calling me from work, wearing the Baby Bjorn with Oliver still attached, spinning some tale about dropping him off. That is precisely what I would have done. Or I might have driven circles around the block, hoping that the place would be closed by the time I finally decided to stop and take him inside.
Obviously, my wife is a better person than I. She actually brought him inside. She then introduced him to his new friends, and surprisingly, managed to get out the door. As she told me the story, I inquired further, in disbelief. She explained that the place was extremely welcoming, that the staff was supportive, and that everyone knew his name before he entered. I suddenly understood.
My baby likes to think of himself as a celebrity, and he can act quite independently when he starts to feel popular. He loves cameras, poses in front of mirrors, and prefers red carpets over other, non-red carpets. He wants to be famous. On that day, he was daycare famous. The fame, and his resulting comfort, allowed my wife to leave him with confidence.
I have no idea what it might be like to be famous. I do, however, know what it’s like to be the giddy fan in the room when a celebrity enters. Eight years ago, I met Jay-Z. He smiled, shook my hand, and said “nice to meet you.” As I introduce my baby to friends, relatives, and strangers each day, I can only hope that my celebrity baby treats his fans with the same respect. One day, they might stop buying his albums, and he’ll just be an awkward toddler with fond memories of stardom. Enjoy the fame while it lasts, little baby. Daycare will not always be this perfect.