I was going to write a blog post along the lines of "20 Ways I Freaked Out On My Babies' First Day At Daycare," but I was too busy freaking out to write anything down. It was actually nothing compared to the freaking out I did on Day 3 of daycare anyway -- and this time, it was all condensed into a span of about 114 seconds. It happened like this:
My twins turned 17 months old on Day 3, so yes I know they're technically not babies anymore, but for the purpose of this story, I'm going to call them babies. Plus, they're always gonna be my babies. So there.
I go to pick them up. Baby Boy has freaking had it with daycare at the end Day 3. He's tired, cranky and extremely snotty from our first daycare cold, which we managed to pick up even before we enrolled -- just from scouting potential daycares. Impressive! A charming sneak peek at our mucus-filled life ahead. Baby Girl is initially delighted to see me, but about 12 seconds later, she's more interested in my car keys. We pack up our six sippie cups, four empty bowls, two dirty bibs and daily activity reports (In class today we attempted to locate our noses, hugged our baby dolls to try to develop empathy and hunted for acorns during outdoor time...)
We head out toward the parking lot. Baby Boy wants me to hold him and screeches like a pterodactyl whenever I try to put him down. Baby Girl wants to be independent and show us the way home, and she refuses to hold my hand. Whenever I grab it, she drops to her knees and dramatically raises her palm to her forehead like a classic damsel in distress. Very Blanche DuBois. I manage to keep her close enough to us to avoid any real danger in the parking lot. But when we get to the car, I decide the safest course of action is to put the Pterodactyl down and put Blanche DuBois in her car seat first. The Pterodactyl wants his Momma and won't run out into the parking lot. Blanche, I'm not so sure.
I proceed with this plan, but Blanche DuBois isn't into it. She apparently wants to show us the way home on foot the entire way. She wails and flails and kicks her legs. Until she spots my car keys again. She grabs them and is instantly enthralled. I decide to let her indulge because Baby Boy is hanging on my legs, screeching for me to pick him up. I'll just let her entertain herself with the keys while I load in the Pterodactyl.
I shut her car door. And the very second I do, I realize it's a mistake -- She has my keys! She could lock the car! I reach for the handle, but before I can pull, I hear:
No, not that click! That so didn't just happen!
But it did. The car is locked, Blanche DuBois is inside and the Pterodactyl and I are outside.
I immediately start to panic. Like, completely freak out. My heart is pounding and I'm flooded with instant guilt and the undeniable conviction that I am truly just the worst mom ever. How could I let this happen? They should throw me in jail for negligence!
Another mom walks by with her kid. "My ... baby ... just ... locked ... herself ... IN THE CAR!" I shout at her, breathlessly. Other Mom just looks at me. Doesn't say a word, just shoots a look that says "sucks to be you" -- or maybe more like "you stupid sh*t" -- and keeps on walking. I have an urge to tell her how I sooo would never do that if I ever came across another mom in the pickle I'm in. I would stop to at least offer my phone or a hug or something. Even if I thought that other mom was a total nincompoop.
But I can't be bothered yelling at her because My Baby Is Locked In The Car. My phone is also locked in the car. What the hell do I do? And how long before Blanche starts screaming? Thank God it's not hot. Or cold. I hold the Pterodactyl and press my head against the window. Blanche DuBois still has the keys in her hand. She's studying them with intense curiosity but not pressing those fun buttons. I knock on the window to get her attention. She looks up and smiles. I say, "Keys! Fun! Fun to push buttons!" She wrinkles up her eyebrows and, with her eyes still on mine, raises the keys and dangles them in the air. For a horrifying second, I am sure she's going to hurl them. "No, no! Keys! Fun! Buttons!" I plead and pretend to push buttons with my spare right hand. She lowers the keys and again studies them closely. She peers at me again out of the corner of her eyes, and for a moment I suspect that she knows exactly what I want her to do, she's just dragging it out for drama. Is it even possible for a 17-month-old to be that scheming? She runs her tiny fingers over the buttons. Please, not the one that sets off the alarm! I won't even need to call the cops-- they'll come just because of the screaming.
Finally, I hear:
Oh please let that be the unlock click! I pull the door handle and... WE'RE IN!
I grab the keys, give Blanche a kiss and then load in the Pterodactyl on the other side. Other Mom is strapping in her kid two cars down from us, and I yell over to her, "She unlocked it!" Why I thought she deserved an update, I don't know. I think she mumbled something like "Oh, good" but can't be sure.
I climb into the driver seat and decide I need a moment to collect myself before starting the car. I try to process exactly what just happened. I thank God for giving me a daughter who's already so much smarter than me. And then, as I seriously consider letting myself cry, giggles burst out of the backseat. Adorable, synchronized giggles. I look in the rearview mirror. Blanche DuBois and the Pterodactyl are making faces at each other, delighted to be reunited after the 114 seconds they spent on opposite sides of the car.
And then it hits me: We are going to survive daycare. It will all be OK.
It. will. all. be. OK.