I'm pretty subdued right now... woke up a bit dazed this morning as reality sank in... Last Friday really was the last day of my part-time contract.
For the last month, the whole "part-time in the office with the girlie in part-time at daycare" arrangement actually worked out really, really well. Our baby sweet potato girl loves her daycare, and I'm certain I could totally handle working part-time on a permanent basis. It'd be a perfect arrangement! She'd continue to get her time to socialize with other babies and people, "learning to trust others and the world" (another Leslie-ism), as she needs to do, and I could continue to help bring home bacon and get some adult time in it for me as well. Not sure though how I'm going to handle a full-time daycare arrangement... I know my baby daughter will be absolutely fine; she will be, I know it. It's me that's the problem - - As I've said before, it feels wrong to have my daughter spending the majority of her day with someone other than me... This new arrangement will be altogether different. My time with her will be so drastically reduced. I can't wrap my head around the fact that from now on, I will see my darling babe for about no more than 3-4 hours a day. Yeah, that's right: 4 hours, tops!
For the past month now, she's been sick, and so, her evening routine has shrunk down by about an hour and 30 minutes... She's been going to bed as early as 6:30pm for the past two weeks! In my head I've been trying to work out how we're going to spend our after-work evenings together, and unless I'm mistaken, they may look like this:
4pm, I scramble to leave my office and arrive at her daycare no later than 4:15pm. I get all her stuff together to be taken home, I read through her notes for the day, talk a moment with her day-tenders, and then she and I will take 5-10 minutes to say Hi to one another... We sit in the lobby together and I talk with her and hug her and smooch her cheeks instead of immediately swooping her up and throwing her in the car. 4:30-ish, we leave to make our way home, walking in the door by 5pm, hopefully. By this time, she'll be absolutely ravenous! I'm really hoping she'll be okay to nurse first, which would be not just a nice way for us to reconnect, but could also serve to placate her appetite well enough to buy me some time with which I could make dinner for me and her daddy first, before feeding her the rest of her dinner via highchair. We could all sit together for dinner then. I know already though that this may not always happen.
Whether I wind up feeding her first or cooking dinner, or getting to eat my own dinner at all, it'll be time for zee wee baby-girlie to hit the tub by no later than 6pm. If she continues to bathe in the infant tub we can place in our kitchen sink (although she now prefers her blow-up tub placed in the upstairs bathroom tub), I could use that time to empty the dishwasher or tidy up the kitchen or whatever while she plays... maybe. She likes to bathe for at least 15 minutes, if not a full 1/2 hour, depending upon how tired she is. [SEMI-RELATED TANGENT: Oh see, that's one thing I forgot to mention! Now that she's in daycare, she never naps for more than 30 minutes, not ever. In fact, for the last two weeks, a couple times each week I had her stay until 2:30pm, to see how she'd cope with a longer day (she was totally fine, unphased), but she still never napped for more than 30 minutes at one time. Sometimes her daycare naps aren't more than 15 minutes!?! When she's been home with me in the afternoons, she'll nap for 2 hours or more, but at daycare she doesn't want to miss out on anything. Plus, her head teacher tells me the crying babies still sometimes wake her up. Yeah, no decent naptime at daycare for our babe. END OF TANGENT] By 6:30pm these days, if she's not already in bed by then, she'll begin to rub her eyes and pull on her ears, and she'll whimper, super tired. For the past month, I really haven't been able to keep her up past 7pm. So, if I have her outta the tub and dressed for bed by 6:30-6:45, I could maybe read her one short story and then she'll be out and that 's it.
Doesn't sound like much, but that's all I'm gunna have once I resume my full-time work schedule tomorrow. Crap, my bottom lip is trembling.
A few weeks ago, there was one day I had a lil' series of emails back and forth with the angel boy-O's aunt Leslie, and she wrote me something I knew I would have to share here. I have since read and re-read that particular something she wrote me, I don't know how many times, to remind me that me and my baby will still be able to have quality time together, despite my having to work... Here's what she wrote:
"When you are in the car, you will sing, when you are fixing dinner, you will visit and tell her all about what you are doing. Pretty soon she will be playing in the pots and pans at your feet while you cook, or sitting in the sink watching you. You will play peek a boo with the laundry and tie a rope to the basket so she can ride as you pull it along the floor on the way to and from the washer. She will learn colors and shapes from veggies and fruit. She will learn to sort and match with socks and tea towels. She will stir and pour and put things in the salad for you. The laundry will be folded funny and dinner will be goofy, everything will take longer, but you will do it together and it will be quality time.
Don't be surprised when math is easy for her. It will make sense because she watched you measure and helped you count things at the grocery store. When she loves reading, and does it well, it will be because she saw you reading cookbooks and getting excited about ideas you found in magazines. She will know that you read the tags on a new dress before it goes in the washer so she will notice print everywhere she goes... don't let one second go by when you have even five minutes to laugh and visit and sing and dance. Relax and have fun, projects and housework be damned!"
I'm trying to be strong. I'm trying to be positive. I'm trying to look for ways to enhance our experience. I'm trying to believe that my relationship with my daughter will not be hindered severely - - or at all-- by my having to rejoin the world of full-time work. I am extremely grateful to have had 3 months of maternity leave and to have enjoyed a part-time contract for the last 3 months. I had said a long time ago that if I could keep my lil' sweet potato girl out of full-time daycare until she was 6 months old, I'd be happy... and she's 6 months old now, as of yesterday. I need to be happy.
However, right now, I'm super sad, regardless, knowing I'm about to lose so much of my time with her. She's soooo wonderful, so, so, so wonderful, and it just hurts to have to give that time up.