Any woman who claims she isn't much for tears has never had to leave her child at day care.
Walking away from that building without experiencing the tiniest bit of emotional trauma is only possible for someone with a heart of stone.
It's only my second day of leaving CeCe in the care of others. I've managed to tone down the hysterics from a Britney Spears-esque nervous breakdown complete with head shaving and window smashing. Now I'm in more of a melancholy daze where I desperately miss my crying, screaming, pooping, needy baby. Who would have thought?
I don't return to work until tomorrow, but I decided to go ahead and take the baby to day care now to ease into the transition. Not for her. For me. I'm having to wean myself off time with my daughter.
I made it almost five hours before bringing CeCe home. Of course I'm counting the time I spent in the infant room with my hands gripped around her crib rails watching her sleep and hovering in the corner by the door before finally slipping out. I'd say my first attempt at leaving her was successful. You know, compared to Custer's Last Stand or the survival of the eight-track tape.
My reluctance to leave isn't to say I doubt the ability of the child care workers. It's more of a fear of what I might miss. What if she is crying and they can't pick her up right away? They don't know the exact rhythm of my special bouncing back pat that calms her down! What if she climbs out of her crib at six weeks old and begins walking and I miss it? What if her first words aren't Ma-Ma but *insert day care teacher's name here*?
Never try to tell a mourning mother how unreasonable this is. Because we don't want to hear “Your child is perfectly fine without you.” Stop and consider each word of that sentence. “They are fine” … ok, good, we like our children to be in a generally fair condition … “without you”. That's where the sting comes. Without me. Meaning, I'm not needed.
I thought this part of parenthood didn't come around until my child was a teenager. The not-feeling-needed part. Now is when our babies are supposed to be clingy, annoyingly reliant on us for everything. And while this can get frustrating, the minute that feeling subsides you begin to realize how much you actually appreciate that. The needing is part of what connects us, makes us act on our love for the helpless creatures that are babies and reinforces how much we care.
At this moment, I'm only an hour into my day without my baby attached to my hip. And while it's nice to type without risking projectile spit-up landing on my computer screen, I can't wait to hear that wailing later tonight when CeCe is hungry again. I'll be ready to jump up and fill that need.