OK, so technically she may not be much of a baby any more. At 14 months, Frog is learning to be an independent little creature, but seeing as that independence means a refusal to get up on her own two feet and walk I’m going to continue to call her a “baby” until she shows me otherwise.
So, leaving my baby. I hate it.
On Wednesday, for the first time ever, Frog will be left with someone she barely knows. Now, before you go thinking I’m being precious and sentimental, I’m not. The work situation and the cost of childcare means that it makes more sense to do radio shifts (where I have to put proper clothes on and leave the house) during school holiday time, when Daddy Daycare steps in.
But every now and again there is an exception to the rule. In order to keep my accountant happy I am forced, occasionally, to take on work from home and work from work during term time. This means that Frog has to go to a childminder.
Now, despite my initial fears, Frog passed her first interview – with flying colours in fact. She was accepted by her new childminder on an “ad hoc” basis, as and when she would need to be looked after. Which isn’t very often really.
But we’ve seen a change in Frog recently. Whether it’s the usual seperation anxiety kicking in, a hangover from last week’s chicken pox or a result of me working endlessly over the school holidays and her barely seeing me, Frog is an insecure wreck.
I walked into our usual baby and toddler group this morning and she started wailing, waving her arms shouting “Up, up” (or “uuuuh uuuuuh”). Inevitably she was fine after a few minutes, once she knew I wasn’t going anywhere. And then she ditched me for her new playmates.
But then we went to the new childminder for “settling in”. Frog started screaming as soon as we got there. In typical fashion she calmed down once she realised I wasn’t leaving her, but the tears started again when there was a loud noise she didn’t recognise, or the childminder got a bit too close. At that point, Frog was literally pulling at my leg, desperate to be in my arms. It would take a stronger woman than I to ignore her.
But that’s exactly what I’ll have to do on Wednesday.
I’ll have to pass her over, screaming, turn around and walk away from her. Knowing she’s beside herself with panic, I’ll have to get into my car and drive to work. And then I’ll have to work for a full eight hours, not knowing how she is, but worrying every moment that she’ll be unhappy and crying.
I’m a nervous wreck.
I know that if our situation was different I’d have had to have leave her in a nursery or with a childminder by now. I know that many parents do it, my own included. I know she won’t suffer any lasting damage.
It’s just that long walk back down the path, towards my car, and that long drive to work. I hate the thought that my baby will be crying and it won’t be me, or her dad, or her grandparents, or any other adult she’s “used to” to comfort her. Hate it.
It’s not even like it’s a regular thing. The crying is something we’ll probably have to endure every time we go to the childminder, because it’s going to be such a random event. There’s no “routine” to settle into, no “getting used to” the situation. And it makes me feel like a terrible mother.
So I want your advice. Have you been in a similar situation? What did you do? Any tips to help stop these heart palpitations would be much appreciated. And don’t suggest wine. I’ve tried that already.