This week I’m writing about my son. I kind of try not to. Not because he doesn’t occupy my almost every waking thought, but because he does.
I like this blog to be somewhere I can have a break from the wonderful but exhausting and endless reality of being a mum. I like to think and talk about other stuff here.
But this week has been all about Jack.
You see, he’s starting childcare. We got a spot, which is a crazy impossible thing to get where I live, and it’s only a block or so from our house, and the centre got great reviews and the staff seem lovely.
When I got the call to let me know that they could take him, I cried. I felt bereft. Theoretically it will make no difference to how much time I spend with him, because I’m already working three days a week, but that’s not how it feels.
One day last year decided it. I had to take him in to work with me for a couple of hours because I had a meeting I had to be there for and my partner couldn’t look after him that day, and some of the girls I work with just swooped down and vanished him away and all I heard were squeals of excitement for a full two hours. And that almost made me cry too. (Yes I’m sensing a theme here). Because really it’s just been me and Jack or Jack and his dad, there’s been nobody else we’ve been able to leave him with, nobody else to give us time out, even just for half an hour. Hearing his laughter from over the partition made me so happy and so sad.
So I’ve been doing orientation at childcare for the last fortnight, taking him in every morning for a few hours, first just trying to recede into the background, eventually going and sitting in another room and waiting. He loves it, mostly. He always cries when I go but he stops within a minute or two. There’s a big sandpit where he can dig. There are trucks and blocks and jigsaws and they do stories and they have a little room that’s just for dancing in, they turn the music up and the lights down and the little kids wear dress ups and play with streamers and have a good old boogie. Jack just watches. He’s been great, mostly.
Except for the whole sleeping thing. The day they tried to get him down for his nap, already exhausted, he screamed and screamed and wouldn’t be put down and was completely beside himself. They got me from the other room and I cuddled him and gave him a bottle and he went to sleep in my arms, but every time I tried to lay him down in the bed, he’d wake up and climb up me like a frightened monkey.
He’ll get used to it, eventually. I know he will. Everyone says he will. We’ll take it slowly and let him become familiar with the environment, come to trust the people. Already he follows one of the ladies around like a little shadow saying ‘Uh Oh, Uh Oh,’ which is the thing that he most likes to say. We’ll get there in the end. And I will get a break from being so needed all the time. I’ll probably cry a bit, and then get on with things, because there’s always so much to do.