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After a blissful 15 months at home with my daughter (and 16 months off work), I return to work 4 days per week in about 6 weeks.
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On a personal level, I feel heartbroken, I think the reality is just hitting me. But this is a financial/professional necessity, a job I enjoy and we have wonderful dcp who I really like...we've actually been seeing her 2X a week since January at playgroup, and dd and I now spend a couple of hours every couple of days playing with her and her son at the park.

So my question...how do I help dd get ready for this HUGE change. She is very verbal for 15 months (70-80 words) plus about 15 signs, and understands a lot.
these are my questions:
-should I make a list of words she can say/signs she uses for dcp? I want her communication to be as smooth there as it is at home, but a lot of her words require interpretation, yk?
-should I make a photo album of me, dw our cats and home for her to take with her?
-Should I make up a book explaining the transition. (i.e when Annie was this age and this age, mama & mom stayed home, now she is bigger she will go to see Sara in the day time and come home each night)? Is she too little to understand something like this. I so want to be able to explain to her why I won't be there during the day....
-I am already working hard on getting her to go to bed earlier so she will be ready to wake up earlier for her to go to dcp's .
-We are also planning to have her to stay at dcp's a couple of times on her own for short periods in the couple of weeks before I go back to work. Is this a good idea? Or am I just prolonging the difficult transition for both of us?? Any thoughts?
 

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I think those sound like fine ideas. I know a lot of kids like the little photo albulms of familiar things. It also helps to get to know the DCP and the location. My kids are both the type that can never have too long of a transition
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Some of the other stuff- the book of why you are working and the list of words and signs- I think those would make you feel better more than your DD. They are worth doing for that reason, but a 15 month old, even a very verbal one, just wants to know if she is safe where she is at and if mama is going to come back. Plus, she and the care giver will come to understand each other and find their groove with or without the list of words and signs.

The hardest part of the transition back to work is not on the child, but on the mama. I went to work when my DD was 12 months and when my DS was 8 weeks. My DD was just at that fun age of exploring and learning to walk and she didn't even notice that I was gone, practically. Meanwhile, I cried in the car the whole way to my job the first couple days and kept having to rush into the bathroom to wash my face. It was such a gift to have that whole first year, though. Good luck to you
 
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