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Raya's first REAL day of nursery, with a moral

At our church, when kids turn 18 months old, they can go to the nursery class for the 2nd and 3rd hours of church. Raya was technically old enough in May (read about that here) but ended up not going. At first, it was because she started sleeping through most of the time that she would have been in nursery. Then her GJ tube broke and she started having problems with a lot of bile backing up into her stomach, which needed to be drained for several hours a day. That also made it so that she had to be on the feeding pump for about 20 hours a day again. I had told myself that the next time she was awake for the 2 hours of nursery, I would take her in. Then that day came, and I just couldn't do it. Who in their right mind would send their kid to a little classroom full of other busy, curious 18month-3 year olds for 2 hours with a feeding pump backpack on (with tubes coming out of it) AND a catheter bag full of fluorescent yellow-green bile hanging from a tube taped to her stomach?!? There were just too many risks and too many things that could go wrong. The risk of the tube getting pulled out ALONE was enough to keep me from wanting to take her to nursery since that would mean a definite trip back to the hospital, and there are no interventional radiologists there on Sunday so it could have even meant an overnight admission until Monday. So not that we really need to justify to the world why we didn't take her, but that's pretty much why. Too many risks.
The week before we left to go to Utah & Idaho, I was in the foyer during Sacrament meeting (the first hour of church) having my weekly wrestling match with Raya and casually mentioned to the nursery leader that eventually, I'd bring her in. She said something to the effect of, "Oh, it's okay, don't worry about it. Whenever you're ready, just bring her in." As if it was because of ME not being "ready" to let my baby go to nursery! I was thinking, "Oh no, honey, you don't understand! This is NOT about me!" When I walked Raya in to the classroom yesterday, I told the 2 nursery leaders that now that Raya has gone back to a G tube, it's okay for her to come to nursery, or something to that effect.
Then I tried to give them a brief rundown of Raya's lack of eating skills and tried to emphasize the fact that even though she is really good at biting food and filling her mouth with it, she doesn't know how to chew & swallow and that they would need to really watch her closely when they gave her food. I told them that as far as snacks go, if they wouldn't give it to a 6-8 month old, they shouldn't give it to her (i.e. NO fruit snacks/chewy things), and that most likely if they gave her water, they should expect her to soak the front of her dress with it & that that was okay. :)
I had to laugh because when I was about to walk out, Raya was standing facing the other kids with her back towards me and they were inspecting her like a bunch of little monkeys inspecting the new monkey. They were all swarming around her touching her (that made me a little nervous because of the tube and instantly validated my previous worry about having her in there with the GJ tube) and it was rather amusing. Then I forced myself not to think about the germs she will be exposed to and walked out of the room. I peeked in the window about an hour later and before I even got down the hallway, I could hear a kid crying through the door. It wasn't Raya though, she was standing on a chair. Fabulous.
When I came to pick her up, I expected her to react the same way she reacts when I walk through the door at home: either crying & whining and clinging to my leg or else "Hi Mommy!". She did neither. She just casually walked across the room and stood there for me to pick her up. They said she did really well and she even ate some goldfish crackers & a graham cracker. By the time we got home, she was completely out for the count:

(excuse the lack of a sheet in her bed, her morning diaper runneth over, thank you liquid diet)
 So this very long story does have a moral, which is: Trust your instincts! There were times during the last 3 months that I seriously questioned why we were keeping her out of nursery. It would have been SO much easier to just let her go rather than try to keep her quiet in the adult classes and then wrestle with her in the hallways until we were both worn out & go home early. Or it would have been easier to just not bring her to church at all. Maybe it would have been fine and maybe nothing ever would have gone wrong, but it was not worth the risk to find out. The fact of the matter is/was, we didn't feel good about sending her, and nobody knows our child & situation better than we do.
As frustrating as the last few days have been for me (did I mention that Raya's still crying & throwing fits most of the time even now that we're home?) I am feeling really good today about the fact that I was able to trust my instincts about not sending her to nursery and that we know it was the right decision even though it was difficult. It was a little boost of confidence for me. Now I have to get used to sitting all the way through church again. :) The end. Happy first day of nursery, Raya!

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