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Every afternoon, I pick Robbie up from daycare, and he is always thrilled to see me. Until today. Usually, Robbie is in the front room with Zhining and very excited to see me. Maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems like he tries to jump out of Zhining’s arms and into mine.

I walked in, and Zhining told me she was taking pictures of the boys playing. Robbie’s good friend Pete was at daycare with him for the past two days, and they were playing with KanKan, a nine-month-old. My dear, sweet little boy didn’t even look up. It took a full minute for him to realize I was even there, and even then he just held up a toy, imparted a few words of wisdom about what he had been doing, and went right back to play.

My friend Rebecca came in about three minutes after I did, and her son dutifully squealed with delight and ran (yes, he’s polite to his mother and a walker!) over to give her legs a full body hug. And Robbie continued to dig in the toy box looking for more Happy Meal treasures. It was only when I picked him up to go that he realized I was there. And he started to scream.

I was conflicted about how to feel. Should I be happy that he is so independent or mildly heart broken that he isn’t thrilled to see me the minute I walk in the door? In a rational mom mindset, I know that he’ll probably be thrilled at the sight of me the next time I come to pick him up. And I know there are going to be far more offensive things that Robbie will say or do to me as he grows up. But boy to those first steps of independence sting a little.

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