Preschool And Guilt

Sam is still congested, but doing better. She took two very long naps yesterday, so I managed to get some work done, even though I was completely fried after staying up with her all night.

Being fried isn’t the worst of my problems though. Cassie is headed off to preschool again today, and once more we are upping her hours there. I had initially envisioned sending my baby only three half-days a week, keeping her home with me the rest of the time. I figured three half-days would be plenty. She’d get a few hours to play with other kids and I’d get a short break where I could do a little work and spend time with just Sam.

No one could have predicted how much Cassie would love preschool.

The first time I tried to bring her home in the middle of the day, she went into hysterics. All the other kids were getting ready to lie down for their nap. Cassie wanted to lie down too. She kept sobbing and trying to crawl onto a mat and the teacher kept leading her back to a chair to wait for me. When I finally showed up, Cassie had snot running out of her nose and her face was all blotchy and swollen from crying. Her teachers had never seen anything like it.

Cassie cried all the way to the play date I had scheduled for the afternoon. She lighted up a little once we got there, but not much. So when we got home, I talked to Michael about extending her hours to two full days and one half day. Cassie could stay and take her nap on Mondays and Fridays and we could still do the play date on Wednesdays. The extra hours only cost us a few extra bucks.

The next Friday, Cassie stayed all day and was delighted. Same with Monday. Then Wednesday came along and once again I showed up at noon to find her sobbing wretchedly because she couldn’t lie down on a mat like the other kids and take a nap. It took me twenty minutes to calm her down, which really ate into her play date time. And then the play date only ended up lasting 45 minutes. Not long enough to justify the sturm und drang of Cassie’s crying jags.

So after debating it with Michael this past weekend, we are once again increasing the amount of time Cassie will spend at preschool. Now instead of two and a half days a week, she’ll spend four full days a week – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. She doesn’t get upset about the days she doesn’t go, just the days she leaves early, so we’ll still make it to her Wednesday play date, but she won’t have to leave early any particular day to do that. I get extra work time and more time to focus on Sam, which is good. Four full days cost more than we had expected to pay, but if won’t break the bank. Yep, everything is copasetic.
Except that I feel guilty as hell about sending my darling child off to preschool so many days a week.

I felt the same way the first time Michael took Cassie for an entire day so I could have a day to myself. She wasn’t even a year old yet, and I felt absolutely sick watching Michael drive off with her while I stayed home. The thing is, I’ve been the primary care giver for Cassie ever since the day she was born. 24/7, I have been on call to feed, bathe, dress, entertain and teach Cassandra Jane. I hate the idea that someone else is now taking over those duties and spending more time with her than I do during the day. I hate it just about as much as I hate the fact that I can’t give her all my attention the way I used to before Sam came along. Just like I hate the fact that I haven’t been able to give Sam any of my undivided attention since the day we left the hospital because her sister tends to demand it all.

I know Cassie is happy at her preschool. I know she’s going to be just fine and that she’s just dying to go there every morning when she wakes up and she hates to leave every time I come get her. I know that sending her to preschool lets her interact with other kids her age, learn to do new things, and otherwise provides experiences I can’t give her right now. And I know that we still have Wednesdays, when I can easily devote myself to being her full-on mommy for an entire day, complete with trips to the library, the playground, and Chic-Fil-A.

But I can’t help wondering if maybe I’ve ditched my responsibilities to Cassie by sending her off to school for so many hours each week. I’m her mommy, damn it. I’m supposed to do everything for her for the rest of my life. Even if it isn’t possible, I’m at least supposed to try.


Here’s today’s artwork. Having a sick baby on my hands made it hard to sit down and draw. I almost didn’t do anything yesterday, but I sat down right before going to bed and knocked out this quick head sketch. It’s not perfect, but I think it’s still pretty good and it only took ten minutes. My goal is to be able to draw full figures just as well as heads by the end of the year.

Head sketch, 17 September 2006

About Cynical Woman

Cartoonist, Artist, Geek, Evil Crafter, Girl Scout Troop Leader and Writer. Also, a zombie. I haven't slept in I don't know how long.
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