I love picking E up from daycare. I love opening that door, spotting him and waiting for him to look up. That moment of recognition is the best. A grin spreads across his face, and he will book it across the room toward me. It doesn't matter what's in his way - toys, books, other babies - he'll climb right over.
The other day, though, was a bit different.
I walked in, and saw him in his crib. Not sleeping, not just waking up. He was sitting up, hands on the bars, looking at me. Looking... a bit guilty?
One of his teachers saw me walk in and said "oh.. he's in a bit of a time out right now!"
So E has been in the same room at daycare since he started back in September. Usually babies move up to room 2 when they're 6-9 months old, but there are a lot of babies around the same age right now, and since he crawled later than most of them, he stayed in room 1.
Right now, room 1 has five young babies who are still working on sitting, and three older babies (E and two other girls his same age) who theoretically should be in the next room. E and one of the girls have been there since September and know each other well, and the other girl started more recently.
The problem, if there is one, of being in the same room for so long, is that E and his friend have figured out the daily schedule. They know when nap time is coming, when they should expect a bottle, and they know when lunch and snacks happen. So when a teacher goes to pull out a highchair, these two know that food is coming soon. They also know that there are only two highchairs, and three babies who get to eat meals.
So the minute they see the chairs come out, these two make a beeline from wherever they are, to ensure that THEY get to eat first. And it usually works. They eat their fill, and after they're done, the third kid gets her turn.
The problem? E and his friend are a bit..greedy. So lately they've been eating their lunch or their snack, and then they try to steal food off the tray when the other kid is eating. Unlike normal highchairs, these chairs are on the floor, so a baby that knows how to pull up on things can easily stand up and pull things off the tray.
So when I walked in the room the other day, E and his friend had been at it again. Stealing food and not letting the other kid eat. So the teacher had put them in their cribs to keep them out of trouble. I had E in my arms as she was telling me the story, and I put him down for a second so I could grab his coat. Usually he follows me around the corner to the coat rack, because he doesn't like having me out of sight. This day, however, instead of following me he made a beeline to the highchair and started grabbing graham crackers.
I scooped him up, and he kept trying to throw himself out of my arms to get to the food. He does this thing when he sees food that he wants, where his mouth starts chewing the air. He does it to the daycare teachers all the time if they try to eat during the day. One of the teachers asked me what happens at home if we try to eat without him. "Oh.. that never happens." I laughed in response. E wants what we have, and always gets it. It's usually more fun to watch him eat than eat the food myself.
At lunch last weekend, E started clapping after he got a piece of my sandwich that he'd asked for. If he really likes the food, he'll bounce up and down in his chair.
E's days of ruling in room 1 are limited, though. We just got a call with BIG news - we finally got E's moving up date. However, it wasn't what we were expecting.
We'll be sad to leave room 1. It's obviously the only room we've known, but we love the teachers in there, and one of them has a very special bond with E. She's mourning the eventual move as much as we are! The one comfort we had was that room 2 has E's second favorite teacher in it. He already has a pretty strong bond with her, and so we figured he'd do fine in there.
Of course we've been thrown a curve ball. E is skipping room 2 and moving directly to room 3! Fortunately he does know one of the teachers in that room already (and likes her too), and the other teacher will be visiting him in room 1 over the next few weeks so they'll get to know each other as well. There's going to be a lot of schedule changes and adjustments and things to consider, but it means only one transition instead of two over the next few months.
E's going to go from biggest kid in the room to the littlest. Good thing he likes big kids!