August 19th… Extra Hugs Appreciated
I return to work in exactly one month. I’m so sad and completely terrified.
I really want to get back to work. I love my job; it fulfills me in an important way. There is no question about whether or I not I will go back, but I am still very sad and scared for both Alex and I. I know people say that moms cry harder than babies when they are dropped off at daycare. I really hope that is the case for us, but I’m doubtful in our situation. There are two main reasons, the bottle and some intense mama’s girl behavior.
First, the bottle. We have had three fluke occasions where Alex has taken a bottle. Otherwise she flat out refuses. The plastic nipple just touching her lips can throw her into a complete frenzy. If she’s the slightest bit hungry it is even worse. I can’t help but worry about her crying and screaming because she won’t eat. First screaming because she is hungry, then crying because she wants mommy and mommy isn’t coming.
Then there is the mommy’s girl factor. Alex and I have been together 24/7 for almost three months. We’ve had a total of about three hours apart and it is frighteningly apparent how much Alex loves her mommy. Don’t get me wrong, I am overjoyed to know how much she loves me, I love her even more. My mind goes back to her first few weeks of life when I actually worried if she would love me. During that time as a mom you are giving everything to your baby and getting zero feedback. The ceiling is more interesting for them to stare at than your face and there is no such thing as a loving coo or squawk from their lips, just demanding screams. That has all changed. Alex now watches my every move, gives me huge smiles, and chats with me regularly. She also cries for me constantly. Not because she is hungry, because she just wants me.
Lately I’ve been trying to practice being away from Alex. Last week my mom and I practiced. I stayed in a different part of the house while she put Alex down for a nap. In the morning it worked beautifully. In the afternoon Alex cried the slowest, most mournful cry I’ve ever heard. She carried on until my mom passed her back to me. She instantly stopped crying and in less than one minute she was asleep in my arms.
Alex and I repeat this same process multiple times per day between her dad and I as well. It’s always the same, Alex is fed and happy, I give her to Dave to put her to bed or a nap or even just to play, she cries her sad “mom cry” until he places her back in my arms. At that instant she will stop crying and fall asleep. The whole thing is completely upsetting for me. It melts my heart that she loves me so much but then I am instantly consumed with my fears of what she will do when I’m not there, especially when I work late nights those first few weeks back. It’s hard for me to handle the idea of her crying for me and me not responding to those cries.
I do find comfort in the fact that my mom will be watching her my first week back. If Alex screams and cries it will be in the most loving of arms (in fact, if the two of them keep hanging out Alex’s first sentence will likely be, “Grandma loves you”). I hope that eases the transition for both of us.
For now Alex and I will keep practicing, both with the bottle and separation. If you happen to see me August 19th and I’m looking pretty ragged, hugs are welcome.