Little Dumpling is at daycare right now.
The house feels empty.
I feel a little lost.
Drop off went well! He’s too young to have separation anxiety right now, so the hand off was simple (for him at least – I didn’t really want to let him go). We found a lovely in-home daycare that I’m sure I mentioned once upon a pregnant time. I like that it’s a small group of mixed aged kids and he’ll have one teacher the entire time.
As I drove home without my baby this morning, I had to remind myself about all the reasons why I decided to be a working mom. Providing for our family, ensuring that by the time it really matters Luffy and I will both be able to spend much more time with the Dumpling. And, to be perfectly honest, I think I’ll enjoy it. I miss my job and my coworkers. While these last couple of weeks have been enjoyable, I do miss having responsibilities and contributing to our household. I mean, if someone wanted to pay me to stay home all the time, I’d take it.
I wrote all that yesterday. The morning passed quickly and then it was time to pick him up! And then I spent the afternoon breaking down a bit.
He didn’t smile at me when I picked him up. He was fussy (because he was tired) and I tried not to take it personally but I had looked forward to that reunion smile all morning long.
And then he didn’t smile at me all afternoon. He slept for a couple of hours and then woke because he was extremely hungry (I would realize later that I hadn’t sent enough milk for him). Then he fussed immediately after eating because he was still tired. I didn’t get a smile until early evening.
And all afternoon I thought to myself – I broke my baby. My happy, beautiful baby boy. I broke him by sending him off to be cared for by someone else. Which is a ridiculous thought, but I had it anyway. And I fretted over diapers and a skin blotch and a random toe boo-boo. Luffy tried to talk sense into me, repeatedly, but I was a lost cause. I secretly thought the Dumpling would wake a hundred times during the night because we had thrown him so far off schedule. He didn’t. He woke up at his usual time, nursed, and went back to sleep like normal.
This morning’s drop off went smoothly but I came home and cried. I cried to Luffy. I cried to my momma. I cried in his nursery. I just missed him so damn much. Luffy tried to brighten my mood by pointing out that he still sleeps most of the day anyway. I bawled that at least I could look at him.
I’m better now. The dumpling slept better today at daycare and he came home in a happy mood. He even got some play time in on his mat before going down for a nap. Tomorrow’s probably going to be rough as well because it’s his first full day.
Once upon a time, also known as the beginning of maternity leave, I couldn’t wait to pass the Dumpling off to his daycare provider. To tap out, so to speak. The monotony and tedium of caring for a newborn wore on me. I missed my routine. I missed working. I missed having responsibilities that didn’t involve changing a diaper or trying to get an infant to sleep. I looked forward to January and returning to work like kids look forward to their birthdays. I didn’t understand those moms who were already lamenting the passing of time and the return to work.
Now though, now I get it. We’ve established our own cozy little routine. It took me some time, to settle into this role of mother, but I truly enjoy it now. The days don’t feel quite so monotonous when I break it up with tummy time and hanging out on the floor. The dumpling has matured enough that any fussiness usually has an obvious reason (he’s tired, most likely, the little boy loves to sleep). I’ve gained enough confidence as a mom not to rush over at every cry and whimper. I no longer view his cries as a failure on my part. I can listen to him and know which cry means “I’m hungry” and which one means “I’m falling asleep, leave me alone.” The days, which at first felt so long, now fly by.
My maternity leave officially ends Friday; I’m due back at work on Monday. I know I’ll enjoy being back at work. I’m looking forward to trying out my new arrangement (working from home half of the week). I’m looking forward to interacting with my coworkers; I miss those guys. But. I also know I’ll miss the dumpling so, SO much. It breaks my heart to know that I’ll see him in the mornings to nurse and then won’t see him again until bedtime. We plan to get him up earlier than we technically need to, just so we can all hang out while he’s all smiles and coos. This also means though that he has to go to bed earlier, so that cuts out any evening time together (again, the boy loves his sleep – it took us a solid five minutes just to wake him up this morning!).
I’m going to miss his smiles. I’m going to miss carrying him around the house. I’m going to miss just hanging out with him while he naps or plays on his mat. I know I’ll get to see him on the weekends, but I have to share him on the weekends. With Luffy. With Luffy’s parents (who will want at least a couple of hours of our time). I will selfishly miss this time when I got him all to myself, when I got all the smiles and all the coos.
I’ll just miss him so damn much.