Last week I signed off on what I perceive to be the end of an era. The time when my baby is a baby, and when I was just mommy. But last week was the beginning of a new stage of our journey together. That of a little girl going to daycare, and for me, of a mother who spends 40+ hours a week away from her little girl who is going to daycare.
As one can imagine, my time in the day has shrunk. I am sure there are fewer hours in the days and fewer days in a week starting last Monday. But for this reason I will try to cover all that has happened in a weeks time.
The transition was easier than I expect on Monday. Probably due to the fact that a large part of my day was spent simply going through five months worth of e-mail, and trying to remember passwords and other work related trivia. I went into the office a little late as well. So by the time meetings were completed and computers were finally logged onto. The day flew by. And when I went to get E, it was great. She was happy. Mommy was excited. And that was that. As it was a Monday, Daddy wouldn't be home, as usual, and Grandma came down to visit for a good girls night. Letting Grandma spend quality time with E, and giving Mommy someone to chit chat with about what it had been like to return to work.
Tuesday was when it all hit me. I wasn't 5 minutes away from the house when my phone rang... Daddy was on the other end "Do you have her bottles?" He asked. "No, you have the baby, you should have the bottles." I replied... "Oh, I think I left them at home, I'm on my way back to the house." Daddy replied... I could already tell it would be one of those days. I was in the office much earlier than Monday. And by about lunchtime I was overwhelmed with this intense longing for my little girl. I want to hold her and hug her and smooooooosh her all up! But I couldn't and I had hours to go. So I waited. Finally the day was over. I ran out the door and went to get my little baby bop from daycare. As usual she was having a good time when I picked her up. And she had done a great job during the day. But when we got home, at almost 5, she started to melt down quickly. As soon as Daddy was home a little before 6, she didn't want to have anything to do with me. She wanted Daddy, and she wanted BED. So, I mean what do you do with a screaming baby... "no honey, Mommy hasn't seen you all day, can't you just stay up till your bedtime, it's only another hour. No, no, don't cry!" Yea, right. We put her to bed. I had seen her for a total of an hour this evening. It was heartbreaking and I just couldn't take it. Consequently I decided to start trying to give E a dream feed. As it has been explained to me. You feed the baby before you go to bed. This is supposed (note, SUPPOSED) to help them sleep through the night. Starting on Sunday night E had decided since I was about to throw her world upside down, she would begin to deviate from the usual once a night, to the at LEAST twice a night wake up schedule. Great. I was working, and already sleep deprived! So anyway, where was I, that's right. Dream feed. So you feed the child before you go to bed. Seemed like a good idea #1 Mommy gets some more snuggle time, and #2 E would sleep longer at night.
Well I did get more snuggle time, and she did only get up once on Tuesday night. But not through the night. I would take what I could get. She had woken up, taken the feed, gone back to bed, without ever fully waking up and needing to be rocked back to sleep.
This led me into Wednesday. At this point the days become a blur. Somewhere along the line I started to feel a little sick. Really? I was back among the "living" for a few days and now I was getting sick. Everyone was eager to point out I now had a child in daycare. But really - I could see sick people all over the place at work. Why do day cares get such a bad wrap? Have you seen the hygiene of the people you work with? GROSS. I'd rather be at daycare!
The time in the day just felt like it was getting shorter and shorter and shorter. We get up in the morning. Daddy changes E, I start to get ready for work. Daddy brings E in to our bedroom, now Daddy gets ready for work, and i nurse E. Sometimes Daddy does ANOTHER diaper change, and while he does that, I make some more progress in getting ready for work. Then I get E dressed while Daddy runs outside to start cars. And then I pass E back over to Daddy. I finish getting ready for work. E is put in the highchair in the kitchen while Daddy gets the last few things done, lunches together, travel coffee made, cats fed. Then we stand in the doorway and run through our list of items... Coffee? Lunch? Water? Pump? Bottles? Baby? Cell Phones? If we pass on each item - - - we leave the house. I throw my stuff in my car, Daddy puts E in his car, I jump in to give her final kisses, and off we go. Caravaning out the driveway, down the street, and onto the highway. At the first light, I make a left and head to work, and Daddy makes a right towards the daycare. And that's where we all part at 6:45 AM. I am off to work, Daddy is off to daycare then work. And as if this doesn't sound hectic enough... the evenings are worse...
I pickup E a little after 4:30. By the time I have her loaded back in the car to head home, it's about 4:45. I am lugging, diaper bags, purses, pumps, mail and baby carrier back into the house a little before 5. I started off last week walking in the door and trying to get my "chores" done. Now I realize E melts fast. So I throw milk and leftover bottles in the fridge. Take off my coat, and get E out of the carrier. And I spend every second with her in my arms. The dirty bottles will STILL be dirty after she goes to bed. So we spend time together. And sometimes E makes it to bedtime (7) and sometimes, she doesn't and we have to put her to bed earlier. And then the night time routine starts...
Disassemble bottles, load bottles in baskets, load baskets in dishwasher. Start dishwasher. While dishwasher is running, defrost any milk that needs to be defrosted, make bottles. Put bottles in fridge. Pick out outfit for tomorrow. Find matching Bib for tomorrow. Think about what Mommy will wear tomorrow. Have dinner???? Unload dishwasher, reload dishwasher. Quick watch TV/surf Internet... Hurry up... RELAX. Take a bath/shower... Pump... Feed E a dream feed... quick go to bed...
Get up 2 - 3 times at night. And then 5:45 AM, it all starts over.
Perhaps you can appreciate why the days feel like a blur. By Friday I was sick as sick could be. Trying not to take anything, don't want to affect the milk supply. But I had to go on. E still wasn't sleeping well. And with a cold, it really was difficult.
I can tell 3 funny stories, all confined to the weekend.
While visiting Grandma and Grandpa E fell asleep, and everyone took the opportunity to have some lunch. When E woke up, not 30 mins later, and peered around at everyone's then EMPTY plate, she expressed an immense amount of disappointment. The nerve of us to have eaten without her. This was the first time we had seen her do anything to suggest she was upset that we were eating, and she was not. So E got to try some Sweet Potatoes. She wasn't thrilled. It was neither a good thing, nor a bad thing. It just was what it was. And sweet potatoes I guess wasn't really it. Anyway - seriously - if I could only describe the look of pure resentment of this little 19 week old baby. You probably had to be there.
This was shortly followed by E's faking it expression. Which is pure hysterical crying, followed by a BIG lip pout and a little moan. I informed Grandpa that she was a big faker. He turned to her and said "Your Mommy says you're a big faker. Are you a big faker?" With this question, she stuck her bottom lip out in a huge pout, and then nodded her head affirmative three times.
We'd never seen her nod before, and the timing was hysterical. It was obviously intentional. It wasn't a bobble of a wobbly infant head. She was nodding. Nodding YES! YES! She was a faker! ahhh moments like this.
And finally, the last funny story from last week that I have for E. We decided to try rice cereal again. I have been doing a 4 to 1 ratio as it indicates on the can. 4 parts liquid to 1 part cereal. But after the episode with the sweet potatoes, I contemplated the fact that perhaps it was TOOOO liquidy. And the reason it was all falling out of her mouth was while she tried to figure out how to use her tongue to move it around her mouth, it was just all falling out. So I thickened the cereal, and tried again. Oh MY HEAVENS! Before when we tried the cereal, E looked happy, and opened her little mouth wide for another serving. In retrospect, it probably tasted just like her milk but with a little kick to it. But when I changed the consistency and the ratio, it was different, and got a much different reaction. She opened her mouth wide for her first taste. Then went a little cross eyed and made an expression that can be described as: "Ooooo this is HORRIBLE. IICKYYYY IIICCCKKKKYYY IIIICCCKKKYYYYY"... and that isn't the funny part. The funny part is after she'd finally finished that little bit, she'd open her mouth wide for more. So I thought maybe it was just because it was the first time, so with the second spoon full in her mouth, we took a look at her, but she made the same exact expression.... "Ooooo this is HORRIBLE. IICKYYYY IIICCCKKKKYYY IIIICCCKKKYYYYY"... and yet again, opened her mouth wide. She went through this over and over through the tiny little serving of rice cereal. And when we tried again on Sunday - she did the whole thing over again. This will be an interesting adventure solids. Yes it will be.
So we rounded out our first week apart, my first week as a working mom, her first week as a full time schooler! And just to record it, because it should be recorded someplace... E learned the following things at daycare:
Miss C is mean, she makes E do Tummy time, and she Cries!
If the sleeves are long enough, E can pull her tiny hand well inside of it, and the suck profusely on the arm of the sleeve. And if she DOES this for long enough... the whole entire sleeve can get soaking wet up the shoulder!
E definitely needs to have a backup change of clothes, she didn't make it halfway through the week before she had her first daycare diaper blowout! (yes, she did have a spare change of clothes on hand!)
If nobody is looking, her snuggle blanket is just as tasty as the sleeve.
Her smile can charm just about anyone out of making her nap.
She isn't scared of the cat in the hat, even when it's 6 ft tall and bigger than any cat she's ever seen.
If tired enough, yes, she CAN sleep at daycare. She had her first 2 hour 15 min nap. But proceeded to return immediately to her 20 - 45 min nap pattern.
She learned to finger paint. At this age, it's literally tiny finger print DOTS with paint on it. I'm sure she also learned if nobody is looking that she can put that in her mouth too!
So to the working parents - time passes quickly, the hours in the day shrink. But savor every minute with our Little ones. Just because we feel like the world isn't going anywhere (at least anywhere good) doesn't mean our little ones aren't speeding along and growing up. And as always - does anyone know Who Dropped the Pacifier?