The 2-year-old is graduating to the next room at daycare this week. That would be the 2-Year-Old Room, which, in addition to being a joyful space filled with toys, natural light and juice stains, is the place that I'd least want to work on Earth that isn't some kind of mine or a Chuck E. Cheese. (Honestly, given the choice between the two, I will grab my pickaxe and see you people underground.)
This is a positive, of course. it's definitely time for the boy to move. The 2-year-old is noticeably taller and stockier than the other lil' folks in his current room, so the size upgrade is welcome. (He is also huge in general: His 18-month checkup found him to be in the 100th percentile in height, meaning that there were evidently no children taller than him, anywhere ON THE PLANET EARTH. This is a startling thing to hear about someone who lives in your house.) The Big Room also contains a lot of his old friends from the Old Room, as well as larger and more colorful objects he can hit with his face. It is also nearer to the fish tank, which is I'm pretty sure his favorite thing in the daycare, and by "daycare" I mean "the world." In any event, he can't beat the location.
But while I'm sure he's ready for the bigger room, book selection and girth-wise, I'm worried about how it will affect something very important: Me. Particularly me during drop-offs.
Over the past year or so, the drop-offs at the old room evolved into a reliable, easy routine: Walk in, deposit the wee giant on the floor, say hi to everyone and high-five the Charlie Brown lookalike who stares at me every single time I'm in there until I give him a high-five. (I don't think I can leave until I do, actually, he's like a tiny gatekeeper.) Usually while this is happening the little one will waddle off to the book corner, select something about dinosaurs and not notice that I'm saying goodbye. Sometimes he'll just offer a dismissive wave that says, "Thanks for the ride, now skeedaddle along, this 'Trucks' book isn't going to repeatedly read itself."
This is a highly welcome change from the Old Routine, which was this: Walk in the room, and grab a sturdy object as all hell broke loose. (This being a daycare room for 1-year-olds, there was not a surplus of sturdy objects.) It was all there: The screaming, the crying, the clinging, the mucus, mostly the mucus, in fact all I can remember is the mucus, that's weird. It wasn't even my son's clinginess that bothered me so much as the daily abdication of everything that makes him human, as he would transform, for a few moments every morning, into one of those monkeys you see in the monkey movies where the monkeys are all evil, and they are also covered in mucus. Don't act like you haven't seen these movies.
Naturally, when you're the one walking out the door every day, it's hard to decide which, if either, scenario is preferable. Obviously you don't want your object permanence-free toddler believing you're permanently removing yourself from the fabric of reality, but equally obviously you want to get to work in under 45 minutes and, if possible, not looking like you've just been in a bar fight with a mountain goat. (Don't act like you haven't been to mountain-goat bars.)
Still, there's something disquieting about the ease with which he bobbles off to the book corner and "Trucks." It's the sort of behavior you'd expect from him when he's 16, or 12, or 9, a seemingly early independence that's not supposed to be so close to in place yet. This is supposed to be the age of perennial clingitude, where he's deliriously thrilled to see you every time, where he's sad when you're gone and joyful when you're not. I can't tell which I'd rather have, and I don't know which will turn up in the new room. To prepare for either, however, I'll bring an extra box of tissues. Which will obviously also help with the mucus.