My son appears to the outside world like a pretty secure baby. He no longer cries when we leave him at the childminder, preferring now to wave goodbye and blow us kisses, a sure sign that he is confident we will be back for him at the end of the day. He sleeps through the night happily and tends to go down for bedtime and naptime happily enough, which shows me that he’s trusting us that we know whats best for him.
But if this is correct, and he’s lost his babyhood fears of being alone, and he knows that we are always around for him if he needs, and that we certainly wouldnt abandon him… WHY wont he leave me alone for 30 seconds?!
I’ve officially forgotten what its like to leave a room in my house without hearing little feet following me. I cant try to close a door without a tiny person laughing at the sure prospect of peekaboo to follow, I cant move to the other side of the couch without my skirt being pulled in the direction I came from.
I’ve often seen non-parents discussing what we ‘stay at home mums’ actually DO when we’re at home. Surely a baby cant be that much work. Presumably a lot of the day is spent with our feet up on the sofa, eating chocolate and watching daytime TV. Well let me set the record straight, as someone who both works and stays at home. The days I’m in the office are stressful sometimes, taxing often, busy always. But it is an absolute treat to have an official lunch break (at the point where I’m hungry rather than whenever possible) where I know I will be able to eat my salad without a baby taking all the sweet potato from it and then knocking the rest out of my hands because he doesnt like the look of it.
It is a wonder to be able to walk to and from work for an hour a day and just be alone with my own thoughts without having Thats not my Plane thrown at my skull because I didnt start reading it fast enough.
Above all, it is amazing to be able to concentrate on actual adult tasks and feel like you’re working on something that has an effect outside of your own four walls. (Not that making the tallest tower ever and then blowing it down seven times in a row isnt fulfilling in its own way of course.)
At home, with the exception of R’s nap, (which is amazing the 50% of the time it doesnt get disturbed by illness/unexpected phone calls/loud noises from the pesky gardener/me falling over my own feet into his door-[true story]) I do not have 5 seconds which he is not included in. He eats what I eat, which puts paid to the chocolate I’m supposedly stuffing in my face. He expects constant attention at the same level as him, which means most of my time is spent crouching on the floor, rather than splayed out on the couch, and regardless of how delicious the food I leave for him or engrossing the toys, the very second I head towards the computer to try and watch or check anything at all, he has a tiny version of a hissy fit until his Baby Einstein is playing directly on top of my Grey’s Anatomy and Twitter feed.
R stands outisde or inside the bathroom waiting for me, using the time to play with my makeup or tampons, he climbs into the shower with me and laughs, he pokes his little head up over the bed until I lift him onto it. He just doesnt understand the meaning or value of ‘Alone time.’
As wonderful as it is to have such a constant blessing in our lives, it can be relentless at times. C and I spend our weekends in a fun back and forth which basically calls into question our right to enjoy our civil liberties. What was once taken for granted, is now bartered like a precious treat. Do you mind if I take a shower..? I’ll be 6 minutes, I won’t even wash my hair… Can you just keep his hands and face out of my yoghurt for 90 seconds while I eat it too fast to enjoy it…? Honey? Can you move him away from the bathroom door, he wont stop pounding on it with those tiny fists…
And yet, somehow, when his door is closed on bed time, and we finally have the evening ahead of us to be human beings, our mood changes. Should I just go give him one more quick cuddle? … Was that him? I’ll go get his water… Oh he’s so gorgeous, let’s go look at him…
One thing is for sure, when I leave my office on a work day, I never turn back for one more quick look at my photocopier.