This time last week I was panicking about abandoning my child.
When I say “abandoning” I actually mean leaving her with a fully competent, registered and rather lovely childminder. But you know how I like to veer towards the drama, so I’ll stick with “abandon”.
As a freelance journalist I don’t do regular hours. Sometimes I do radio work (usually while Daddy Daycare’s around during the school holidays) and sometimes I work from home writing articles for various websites and magazines. Sometimes I sit around and eat biscuits all day and don’t do much of anything at all. But most of the time I juggle. With lots and lots of balls.
This week was a radio week and, as Daddy Daycare selfishly had to go to school and teach children how to turn their computers on (he’s an ICT teacher – I still don’t really know what the C stands for), Frog had to go to a childminder. A new childminder.
This made me nervous. I hated the thought of leaving her crying, reaching her pudgy arms out towards me calling “Mamamamama”. What can I say? I’m a softie.
Day Number One was awful. As I handed her over to the childminder she sobbed, like a true tragic heroine. She was red and snotty and it broke my heart. But I held firm, gave her a kiss and waved goodbye.
Then I got in my car and cried all the way to work.
As I arrived at work I received this text:
“Tears stopped v quickly. She waved bye to J and is now busy exploring my sitting room.”
Oh good, I thought. She’s happy. She obviously misses me but knows I’ll be back to get her later and is making the most of having a new adventure playground.
Then came Day Number Two.
Just a little sob as I passed her over this time, with a bit of reaching out for me. Not exactly the tragic heroine any longer. More the slightly miffed Extra.
Later that day I received a text to inform me my slightly miffed child was no longer slightly miffed. She was having a whale of a time at the local park.
OK, I thought. She’ll probably be relieved to see me later though.
Day Number Three, and no tears. Not a single bloody drop.
Instead, my treacherous child reaches her arms out for the childminder and happily plays with the childminder’s older son. I don’t get a single sob or “Mamama”. Instead, I’m deigned with an absent-minded wave before she turns her back on me and gets down to the busy job of playing.
Now, call me ungrateful. But that’s not the reaction I was hoping for. Brilliant, she likes the childminder. Great, she’s happy and has settled in there. But not even a little sob for her paranoid mother, wracked with guilt at leaving her for an entire week with a stranger? Not one measly tear? Huh.
And don’t even get me started on the situation when I collected her later that day.
Rather than being pleased to see me she sobbed all the way home, wailing for her new playmates. My welcome cuddle was replaced with a wallop in the face, as my 14 month old made her feelings about returning to her boring home with her boring toys quite clear.
That’s me told then.