We’ve been visiting my family in Kent for the weekend. I wanted to get down to see them in a leisurely fashion before my maternity leave ends and we’ve had a really nice time; visiting a rare breed centre (with an amazing collection of lizards. Also we ate the rare pig breeds for lunch – good sausage), garden centres, eating together and going for walks. Proper relaxed family stuff. E has been really unhappy all weekend though. She’s only met my mum five times in her entire life and that, combined with strange surroundings, often makes her a bit shy and nervous but this weekend it seemed something more. She usually warms up to people quite well and smiles at them. But this weekend every time Grandma tried to give her a cuddle she cried. It was awful and I felt bad for my mum who is every bit the doting grandparent (or as doting as you can be when you live three hours drive away).
She was very clingy and cried a lot whenever I wasn’t holding her which made eating and going to the loo etc quite difficult. It’s also made my arms ache and I can feel that I’m building up biceps of steel. I read that around eight to nine months babies tend to get attachment issues as they have to work out that you will return to them when you go somewhere. E hasn’t been too bad with this so far but I thought perhaps this may be another factor. She’s also been really gum smacky this weekend and has had red cheeks. I’ve mentioned before that it feels like she’s been teething for months, so much so that I don’t really notice these days except to offer Calpol or something to chew or some teething granules if she’s really bad.
But then on the way home I found two teeth are poking through the bottom gum! They’re barely visible but are quite sharp to touch. FINALLY the first teeth are through. A red letter day. And two at once, no wonder the poor thing was grumpy and in need of reassurance.
I’m really pleased that they’ve come through. I was starting to panic. She’s shown no interest in crawling so far, won’t respond at all when I try to teach her to clap and I was starting to think that perhaps she’d not do any of those before I went back to work. I was dreading going to collect her at nursery and have the staff tell me about her doing lots of “first things.” It doesn’t seem fair.
I also didn’t mind her being clingy either. I lay awake last night panicking about going back to work and leaving her alone. Now S has a job, full time and during the week, we suddenly go from being in a position of not really needing or being able to afford a nursery to needing one full time. I have two weeks to find one, get her used to it and get myself used to it. So having her want to be with me, reaching out for me and being miserable without me was also her mirroring my exact feelings. I felt like she understood me and took comfort in us being together.
We’ve looked round two nurseries already. One was good, close to our house and the other was better, more expensive (marginally) but less convenient. I have one more we’re going to see tomorrow which has been recommended by my fellow choir members. This one is on the way into work so should be convenient and is supposed to be very good. But it’s still not much time to get her used to it. We couldn’t do it before without knowing what we were going to do – I didn’t want to mess the nurseries around. But this mad rush has of course made me feel like a very unprepared bad parent. I know I will be explaining myself to the nursery staff tomorrow even though I shouldn’t need to.
The whole issue to returning to work and leaving E all day with other people has made me more emotional and hormonally weepy than I’ve ever been either pregnant or as a mother. I’m more than capable of bursting into tears at the slightest thing. I really want to enjoy these last two weeks with her, go to our last playgroups and library singing sessions and go for walks in this lovely spring sunshine and so on. I need to remember that I’ll still see her every day, that I’m still really important to her (will be for a few years yet) and that I could really do with having some time away from doing “home stuff” but sometimes, when I watch her, all those common sense things just fly out of my mind.
Several people have suggested that the easiest thing to do is to have another baby. Let’s be clear. I don’t want another baby. I want to be with the one I have.