The official Daycare Countdown begins.
With every minute we inch closer to Skye entering daycare, I have a harder time choking back my guilt and absolute dread. Dread! ME! Me, who had screamed at her husband, “If I can’t find time to work when we have this baby, I am going to DIE!” (Yes, I did attend drama camp when I was younger, why do you ask?) Me, who was ready to strap a backpack on the kid and send her on her way when she was still a mere zygote. (Yes, there is such a thing as zygote-care, why do you ask?)
Me, who… to be honest, I’m not sure who “me” is anymore.
It’s not that becoming a mother has diminished my career aspirations. Not one bit. It’s just that my love for this child is even bigger than my love for, well, anything else. Yes, even my love for ice cream sandwiches! Even my love for my computer, with whom I’m quite certain I have a common-law marriage by now.
And, just like most marriages, Mr. Laptop and I have not been getting intimate as frequently now that a kid’s in the picture. Sure, we sneak in a late-night Tweeting session sometimes. Yeah, I’ll clean his hard drive. A google here. A keystroke there.
But we’re not nearly as hot-and-heavy as we were six months ago. That book I started to write when I was pregnant? Untouched since you-know-who had the audacity to enter our lives and distract me with her chunky baby thighs. I mean, who has time to work toward a life-long dream of becoming a published author when there are BABY THIGHS to munch on? Not to mention this Web site, for which I have big plans, but am forced to furtively update at midnight after Skye has finally succumbed to a deep sleep. (That kid is such a light sleeper, I swear she once woke up because she heard a pin drop in Siberia.) As for MY sleep… let’s just say the Starbucks barista and I have become total BFFs. An extra shot of espresso on the house for the crazy-looking mom with circles under her eyes! When I do manage to get a few minutes of shut-eye, I still can’t escape mommyhood; I often have nightmares about SLEEPING ON THE BABY. I wake up in a cold sweat, literally, yelling, “WHERE IS THE BABY? Am I on her? Is she under the pillow?” A very upsetting recurring dream, to which Mr. Candy comfortingly responds by grunting, “Huh?” and going back to sleep.
My laptop husband would never just dismiss my bad dreams like that.
So, yeah, daycare.
Great in concept. Intensely distressing in reality. I’ve already postponed daycare once, as I’d discussed months ago. And now that it’s imminent, WHOOEE, am I ever freaking out. I am one hot mess. Case in point: I just studied “WHOOEE” for a good ten minutes, wondering if that’s how WHOOEE is spelled. Should it be hyphenated? WHOOEE. Is there really a silent “w”? WHOOEE. Like it’s even a real word.
Who gives a flying you-know-what how it’s spelled? Someone who is losing her mind, THAT’S WHO(OEE)!
So, yeah, hot mess.
I can’t focus right now. I can’t stop worrying. I can’t talk about daycare without a giant lump entering my throat. I can’t help but feel like this child, this beautiful girl whose complete trust I’ve gained over the past five-and-a-half months, is going to think I’ve abandoned her. Or worse…! She’s going to like her daycare teachers BETTER THAN ME. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I am the baby of my family; hell, I’m sort of like an only child, with two siblings who are quite a bit older than I am. So it’s no surprise that I’m selfish. I loathe the thought of Skye reaching for THEM. Of her crawling for the first time while she is with THEM. I want her to be happy there, but not too happy. A reasonable request, I think.
Why do it then? Because Mr. Candy has been traveling a whole lot and GAWD do I miss writing. Like, really sitting down and writing. And exercising my brain. And sleeping. And — this is a big one — walking through a grocery store BY MYSELF. Oh, to buy a bunch of bananas without having to worry how the baby’s right sock disappeared…! How heavenly that would be.
I should clarify: We’re only talking about part-time daycare here. I am pretty much in the most ideal of situations, with the flexibility to put Skye in daycare as much or as little as I want. Many mothers, mothers who must work full-time to put food on the table, would kill to be in my situation. Yet here I am, sniffling away like Mel Gibson cut off at a bar. (Hey. Ricky Gervais started it.) I keep trying to remind myself of that, and to maintain perspective by remembering people with REAL problems, like the people of Haiti — but that only makes me want to hold Skye even tighter and never let go.
With tears in my eyes, I told Mr. Candy I plan to play it all by ear, that now that I’m a mother, I’m not sure if I can bear being away from our daughter — even if it means major career sacrifices. And Mr. Candy gently touched my arm and said:
“At least keep her in there for a month because we CAN’T GET OUR DEPOSIT BACK.”
(Okay, so he also reassured me that Skylar would make “baby friends” and have a great time, while I would get to recharge my batteries. But that’s not nearly as amusing… and I hate to let the facts get in the way of a good story.)
Fun challenge for the day: Casually work “WHOOEE” into conversation!