Now that Elise is one, is getting more independent and (most importantly) has kept relatively healthy even when attending weekly community playgroup at church, we decided to take the plunge and try leaving her in the nursery at church. So last Sunday we arrived at church and Kit got our seats while I took Elise up to her class. The crawlers and toddlers were combined so after checking her in we went to the toddlers classroom.
I had checked out the crawlers classroom the week before and was a bit worried about her trying to pull up on some of the smaller kid items like the swings they had in there so I was thinking about putting her in the toddler class anyway. The moment I saw the toddler class and all the fun toys, I knew it was going to be a good fit.
We were the first ones to arrive so I was able to talk with one of the teachers for a bit. I let her know it was Elise's first time ever being left alone with strangers (and really it was one of the first handful of times of being left without mom or dad while awake), how old she is (both actually and adjusted so that they didn't expect her to be "ahead" of where she is developmentally), that I was okay with her crying for a while if that's what she needed to do, and that they didn't need to page me if she fell and hurt herself as long as it wasn't something they couldn't simply comfort her over. Then I handed over her diaper bag with her sippy cup and small container of Cheerios and left.
I was super smiley and a little giggly when I got down to the sanctuary and sat down next to Kit. I could hardly believe we were there without her. Luckily, I remembered to grab a small purse at home and had put my wallet, phone and chapstick in that so that I didn't leave them up in her class. It felt weird to be somewhere that I had brought Elise but to not have her big diaper bag.
I would occasionally (though more than I will over time I'm sure) glance at the number boards in the front of the room to see if her number flashed. But the board stayed blank the entire service long. That's right. Not only did we leave her, but she lasted the entire time without us! The moment she saw me at the top of the stairs looking into the room she started bawling. This is typical of her when she's having fun with someone who isn't me but would prefer to be with me. Once she sees me, she cries even though she's been fine up until that moment.
The teacher said she did a great job. She cried a few times but would then get distracted by whatever was going on around her and by the other kids playing and continue playing herself. She was sitting on that teacher's lap in a rocking chair when we picked her up. Today she had the other teacher from last week again who said she was held pretty much the entire time last week. So this week we put her in the crawlers class, and she played for a while on the floor since there weren't a bunch of toddlers running around intimidating her.
The best part (of this entirely too long saga) was what happened when we put her in the car last week. She cried as she was getting in her seat because she was tired. I gave her the sippy cup of milk we had in a little cooler in the car so that she could drink it on the way home since she's been doing most of her drinking in the car for some reason lately. She worked on her milk part of the way home, but in between drinks and then while playing with her toys, she talked the entire way home. We've never heard her talk so much before. We like to think it was her telling us all about her time in "Sunday school" so we responded in such fashion and got a kick over her ramblings.
Looking forward to getting in a few of months of actually getting to sit with Kit during the sermon until Evelyn arrives!