It's not that I don't like it; I do and I am very grateful for the opportunity to do so. I believe it's in the best interest of our little Bear and I am very appreciative that we are able to work out this arrangement. Big props goes to the Hubs for working his tail off to make this possible.
But...big but. It's lonely. It's boring. It's downright maddening at times, especially when you are alone with a child for 20+ hours a day, five days a week. And it's not like I'm some social butterfly; I am very happy to spend some quality Kim time, just reading or cleaning. I don't need constant interaction with other (ack!) but staying at home with a child (or children...double ack!) can really suck the life out of you. It's required me to find patience I didn't know I have and learn to really appreciate the exquisite joy of bedtime. Ahhh, bedtime...
Anyways, I was really hitting a low earlier this week. The new nap routine, the fussy Bear, and the heat (back up to 90! It's MID-OCTOBER, people) have all combined to make an irritable me. And on Wednesday, as we waited over an hour to be seated for Brian's birthday dinner, I was not in a good place. The clock was creeping closer to 7pm (waaaay later than the Bear should be up) and we had yet to even get a table. The snotty 17-year old hostess wasn't budging, despite Brian's rather vocal concerns, and this left me alone to follow Scotty around as he toddled outside the restaurant.
He was insistent on heading straight to the parking lot. Nothing in the courtyard was remotely interesting to him. The flowers, the benches, the rocks...heck, even the other kids: nope, he wanted to walk straight into on-coming traffic. And so I did the Mom-thing and walked about 6 inches behind him and when he got close to the curb, I turned him around. Except he wasn't that easily redirected; he didn't just turn around and start toddling in the other direction like a little toy car. He turned back around and continued toward the parking lot. I had to literally pick him up and carry him back to safety.
And every time I did this, he turned into Wet Noodle Baby, going completely limp in my arms and then fighting like a jungle cat by pushing away from my body and frantically kicking me in the stomach.
And this only happened about 6 times. All with people watching me carry my screaming, fighting child back to the bench.
Anyways, yesterday, I was ready for a break. Brian had plans to have dinner with a friend, leaving me with said Bear for the entire day. I wasn't sure I was going to make it that long, so I played the gym card; i.e. I drop Scotty off at the gym daycare while I squeeze in a workout. I get some exercise, he has a change of scenery and the two of us get a break from each other for a solid hour. Sounded like a plan.
Now, as I'm mentioned in other posts, I hate the gym daycare. These people have zero passion for their jobs and the whole place is a shrieking, germ-covered nightmare. But it was only an hour and Scotty needs to be exposed to other kids, I reasoned. What could go wrong?
Now that he is walking, he moved up to the Toddler area. Since this was new to me, I asked the rather unenthusiastic 18-year old working the front desk to please show me the area. She consented begrudgingly and opened the sixty-four security doors to let me in. Clutching Scotty, we peered over the half-door at the kids inside.
My first thought, one I am not proud of, is that scene in 'The Little Mermaid' when Ursala had turned other mer-people into sea urchins (or coral?) - you know, the part where the lost souls are waving their arms and moaning? Yeah, that was the Toddler room. All of the kids were crying, all of them had running noses, and they all looked at me with big, pleading eyes. It was fairly horrifying. Good lord, what was I getting my child into?
But I pressed on. Scotty's a fairly happy baby that has shown no separation anxiety, and besides, it is one little hour. It's not going to kill him. And if it crashes and burns, than I just come and get him early, right?
So against my better judgment, I handed my child over and headed to the cardio area. I immediately turned on the close circuit TV so I could watch the grainy images live. I was happy I could easily pick out Scotty from the crowd (I put him in stripes.) The following is essentially the transcript of my internal monologue as I watched:
Okay, there he is...he looks happy...is he eating his shoe? When did his shoe come off? Now he's behind the wall...no Scotty, come out from there, I can't really see you. Oh that's nice, they are all playing on the mat. Those dolls look really gross. Wait, why are they taking all the kids off the mat? Why are they now using some kind of chemical on the mat and cleaning it off? OMG did a kid puke on the mat? Poop? WHAT? I only have 19 minutes left...maybe they are just cleaning normally? That's a lot of towels for a routine cleaning...I should have asked when they clean...why is that woman holding Scotty, he totally wants to be let down...no, no, don't lean him back! He hates that! Yikes! I knew it; I knew he would try to club her in the face if she did that...oh wait, why is she holding him like a Christmas ham? Just put him down! He wants to go down! Argh! These people are idiots!
At which point I turned my treadmill off and ran directly to the Toddler area.
Scotty was crying harder than I had ever seen him; his little nose was running and he was red in the face. All of the workers looked at me with surprise when I showed up and they immediately tossed him at me. I was practically in tears at this point and could only managed a terse, "Why didn't you call me?" before storming out.
And needless to say, I felt terrible on the drive home. Scotty just looked dazed and sad and was still sniffling in the backseat for a good ten minutes. I, racked with guilt, made him his favorite lunch (chicken nuggets with a block of cheese and a half of banana) and we cuddled and played -with my full attention; no email, texting, or Facebook - until it was nap time.
So yeah, absence really does make the heart grow fonder. I didn't want to let him out of my sights for the rest of the afternoon. And I'm happy it only took 30 torture-filled moments for me to realize this.