How is it possible that my newborn baby is five months old, that she’s started school, and that I will be returning to my job tomorrow morning? Hindsight may be 20/20, but it is also viewed in fast-forward. When you’re in the moment, time moves as it does – slow and steady, but when seen from the rear-view mirror, those moments quickly become specks on the horizon.
Lucille is an absolute joy. She is sleeping through the night, going to bed at around 7 pm and waking near 6 am. One of the biggest leaps she’s made this month is the addition of pureed table food. To date, my girl has tried and enjoyed: sweet potato, banana, peas, apple, squash, avocado, brown rice, and carrots. She eats with a smile, and eats well. Currently, she’s getting food twice a day, the puree accompanying a complimentary bottle. Bottle volume has increased to 5.5 ounces. Laughter is abundant, and Lucy is really into her doggie, Olive. Olive is the recipient of many smiles, and lots of petting, both of which she accepts gracefully. She does not seem to mind the occasional tug on her fur from little hands, but we are still trying to teach Lucy to be gentle with her. My gal, at her four month appointment, weighed in at 14.5 lbs, and measured 25.5” long. She is growing, growing, growing. Her feet remain a source of curiosity, and she’s constantly grabbing them. Her tongue is also of fascination and she loves to use it to make various noises, some of which include blowing bubbles, making raspberries, and talking. There are a string of sounds she now makes that sound like, "ma-ma-ma-ma." No sign of teeth yet, but plenty of gnawing on toys and whatever hand is handy. Big Red and I agree that she tends to favor her left side, both in the grabbing of objects or kicking – will she be a lefty like her Mom?
A week ago, Lucy started school (aka: daycare). Our first drop off went very well. Big Red got her together without too much trouble (he’ll have to do morning drop-offs since my start time at work is very early), and we made it out of the house by 7:20. When we arrived, her teacher, Miss J., greeted us warmly and helped us get our things settled. Big Red held Lucy the whole time, letting her take in the new surrounds from the comfort of his arms. We were there no more than 20 minutes, and when it was time to go, I kissed her cheek, Big Red handed her over, and we bolted. My goal was not to hear or see her cry because I knew if I did it would make it that much harder – on everyone. In recent weeks, Lucy has become wildly aware of her surroundings, and who is holding her. She does not like being held by anyone but Mom and Dad. Knowing this, we went over our drop-off plan the night before, and thankfully it worked. I did not call that first day, to see how she was doing, because I did not want to hear any kind of shaky news. It would have only made me upset and worried. Instead, I went about my business at home, caught up on some bills, tidied up a bit, and sort-of, relaxed. When it was time to pick her up at 12:30, I made my way there, and prepared myself for whatever report of her morning I would hear. She was in different clothing then when I’d dropped her off, and that was attributed to some minor spit up. No crying baby, and she’d eaten her food – that’s a win in my books!
Lucy’s first week at school was great success other than a small souvenir from her first stint: a cold. Yup. Kept her home with me on Friday just so that she could rest. Naps at school are a little hit or miss, and while I’m sure she enjoys the hustle and bustle in the room and interacting with her peers, she really needed to rest properly. I’ve always known illnesses were part of the daycare deal, and while they suck in the moment, they do help to build her immune system. In reality there are many, many strains of every virus (pink eye, the common cold, etc.). I know she won’t have antibodies for all, but at least she’ll have some, making her a more sturdy kid when she’s older. The flip side to this was a couple of sleepless nights for me. Big Red sleeps through Armageddon, so the bill falls on me to get up with her when she’s congested. The good news is she falls back to sleep quickly; the bad news is this happened several times in the wee hours of the night. Not to mention a few un-reported trips into her room to lean my head deep into her crib, and inch from her face, and take note of her breathing. What the hell did I ever worry about before I had her? Lucy has been a trooper, though, and is as happy as ever despite her snotty nose. We lucked out with this kid, I tell you.
Tomorrow I go back to work, the first time in a working capacity since Wednesday, October 9, 2013. I am as ready as humanly possible, logistically, but I’m not sure what the emotional toll will be. I reached out to my Mommy Group for some uplifting, expressing my concerns, not with my ability to teach, and not with Lucy being at daycare, but rather this whole Working Mom business. And I capitalize that because it deserves such recognition. More likely than not I will have no shame in taking the anti-anxiety medicine I have, as I have started to feel the initial pangs of what will, if left alone, turn into ugliness. I have no freaking clue what the next few months will hold, how difficult and exhausting it will be, but I have promised myself the following:
No matter what, I will be kind to myself. If the house is disheveled and my options are to spend time with the daughter I haven’t seen all day or pick up clothes, I will choose her. If there are assignments to grade, but the day has finished, then they will have to wait until tomorrow. If the tears come, I will let them fall. I am not a robot, I am a human, and there will be bumps along the way, but I will trust in finding a way.
Happy five months, my sweet Lucille.