The difficulty with being a mommy blogger is that things in our little world change so quickly, and if I don't write a post on the day of an idea, the moment is likely to be gone and replaced by something completely different a day later.
On Friday I had thought of a post called "Breakthroughs" - as there were two significant ones to celebrate in the house. The first was an exciting one for Blake, as he finally did, 23 days into potty training, a poo poo on the toilet. It was in the evening, afer dinner, and was celebrated with much whooping and clapping, spirited high-fives, dancing and singing, and the reward of a not-forgotten Halloween chocolate Jack-o-Lantern lollipop which had been being referenced for about 10 days as the ultimate reward for such a big boy milestone. The other event was for Noah, more literally, as his top right tooth broke through the gum. I was very pleased to see that it had officially arrived; the downside is that there are 16 more to come, and Noah has suffered from teething much more than I remember Blake ever doing. I am contemplating one of those amber necklaces for him and wondering if he is macho enough to pull it off (the Italian chef at the nursery kept calling him "she" today before I corrected him; the poor guy was pretty embarassed and blamed it on his Italian!).
I had also thought to write a post about senses, and that my sense of smell is the one which might be most called into play during the settling-in period at nursery. For 10 months, I have been the one closest to Noah at most points throughout the day; he has always smelled mainly like himself, which is to say that he probably smelled like a mix of my laundry detergent du jour, his and Blake's bubble bath or soap, remnants of what he last consumed - milk, or breadsticks, or yogurt, or spaghetti sauce - and whatever it is that makes a baby's scent his or her own. On Thursday when I brought him home from his hour of settling-in at nursery, I was struck that he all of a sudden smelled different; he smelled like the soap or lotion of one of the carers who had held him at nursery, and he smelled a lot like a fabric softener that they use on the little cloth bibs the kids wear for meals. It made me so sad to think of coming to pick him up and having him smell like a different little person.
As it was, neither of these posts got written up until now, as I'm siting upstairs at the nursery while Noah spends the first of his hours here without me. I was here this time last year settling Blake, and this time around I industriously decided to bring my laptop to try to use my time a bit more wisely (nb: I typed that sentence and then had to go comfort Noah who had woken up from a nap and wondered where the hell I'd gone. Now it's 12:40 am - so much for daytime industriousness....!)
I start work on Monday, and this time around my return to the office and leaving Noah in the care of people who aren't me is hitting me rather hard. Fortunately Matt is very good at rationalizing things and was able to stem the flow of my tears this evening as I thought about what life is going to be like come next week and I have to part company every morning with my baby. I was so sure about going the nursery route when we chose childcare for Blake nearly 2.5 years ago: I liked the idea of multiple carers (and ergo no single point of failure), I told myself of course that he would like the stimulation of other children, and it seemed a lot easier to pick a nursery than to find a good childminder. This time, although I am really happy with the nursery and know that Blake loves it and thrives there, I felt less certain about it for Noah. Not for fears that they won't look after him, take excellent care of him, entertain him, feed him nutritious meals made onsite, and help him become just the little boy he is destined to be; they will do all those things. I guess it just seemed that he is still so small in the grand scheme of things, and I imagined what a shock the nursery environment would be for him after the relative quiet of our house and lots of time spent with me. Again, it's a good thing that Matt and I don't always think alike, so he reassured me that he didn't think Noah would really be fazed by any of it and would probably just get on with it and have a good time.
I think I'm just exceptionally hormonal and emotional in general, as I started to tell Matt about Blake's day - he had to go down to the toddler room as a sort of punishment because he hit another boy, David. The pre-school carers are trying to teach Blake about sharing and playing nicely with the other children in small groups. Suddenly an image of the little David's face popped into my head and that set me off; I really felt so sad for him and thought how he might be at his home at that very moment telling his mom and dad that "Blake hit me." Then I thought of how Blake says so often, "I love Noah, and I love my Daddy, and I love you, Mommy!" and was sad at how he just must not be able to control his frustration at the moment, because he is a really sweet little boy. Anyway, finally I'd had enough crying and that was that, but it was all kind of tiring to think about.
One of the weird things about my return to work date - the 7th of February - is the power of the "out of sight, out of mind" phrase. If you happen, like I do, to have a wall calendar that displays a monthly view, you may be especially familiar with the fact that January had 5 Mondays this year, and that meant that I could never really see without turning the page into February that the 7th is just next week. I just sort of kept thinking, well, it's still January, so I'm not going to peek too far into next month. And BAM - it's now 5 days away.
After all that, this post doesn't have the conciseness of the two thoughts I mention above, but well, I'm still sleep-deprived and very emotional to boot (and no, Mom, I am not pregnant!). We get a break from the settling-in until Friday, and I'm going to hug that little Noah as much as I can. I'll probably hug Blake while I'm at it. Next time I see that little David I'll probably want to hug him too, but hopefully he won't need it because Blake will be nicer to him. I may have to find another Halloween lollipop as bribery....