Leaving Ada to go to work gets harder as she gets older. As a baby at daycare, yeah, she cried. At that age there is a lot of crying so it is less effective at pulling every heart string that I have. I admit I wasn't very emotional on the first day of daycare. I do remember walking away from dropping her off and feeling like I should be having the freak out moment I expect moms to have, but I didn't.
Now...well, she has just started this thing where she clings on to me in a vise-like bear hug for a few seconds when I drop her off. She didn't do it the first two weeks but I think this week, she wised up suddenly. And it could be so much worse. I'm only getting a short crying wail as Alison guides her into the vestibule. Typically followed by a text message saying all is well by the time they get upstairs and start to play.
On the other hand... last week when I would pick Ada up from her days with Will, she didn't want to walk home. I'd coax her into walking the whole three blocks so that we didn't get into a habit of me carrying her all the time since I'm not dealing with a stroller each morning. It was going just great until we got to our house and had two days of extraordinary tantrums, literally on the threshold of our building entrance. And the biggest tantrums I've ever seen Ada throw -- which is significant but still much less dramatic than most kids her age. They start with her dropping to the ground, laying on her belly, pounding her fits and kicking her feet into the floor (gently in Ada's case), and screaming hysterically until her breathing becomes irregular and I finally give in and rescue her from the most horrible moment of her life thus far. Of course, the door is wide open and no less than ten neighbors have walked or driven by to witness the spectacle and grin along with me. It's kind of funny, but not. And I'd never tell her that.
According to Colette and the half-dozen books she's read on how to be a good mom (she is my version of Cliff's Notes) she suggests I crouch down to Ada's level, acknowledge her feelings and the situation, and offer support. At least I think that's what she suggested. It seems to work and she's a pretty mellow kid so after two days of tantrums in the doorway, she was done. Hopefully, next week she'll forget about the whole strategy of clinging to mommy before her days playing with Will. At least I know that Alison is taking good care of her, she's learning new things, she comes back in a great mood, and she's safe. That peace of mind is priceless. Kudo's to Alison for making her happy (and me happy too!)
Moral of the story: It's okay to let go of your children. It's okay for them to throw an occassional tantrum and have a dramatic parting of ways when you leave. Just be strong, help guide them through it and hope that it's only temporary.