Friday, February 22, 2008

When I grow up

Yesterday I called my boss to let him know I was planning to go back to work in mid-April. He was happy to hear from me, and unphased or at least unsurprised that I would be going back only four days a week. I don't know what I was expecting. A fight to get me to go back full-time? A "sorry, but we've learned very well how to get along without you"? Whatever I had imagined, the dread I felt evaporated and was replaced by excitement.

Yes, excitement. Soon, I will spend an entire day without spit-up stains on my clothing. I will not change a diaper or console a crying child for eight hours straight. I will write computer code, I will untangle needlessly complicated database schemas, I will interpret incomprehensible error messages.

In short, I will feel like a competent adult, instead of some bumbling fool who is faking her way through motherhood.

(Full disclaimer: as I write this, le Petit is chewing on a piece of stale baguette in his high chair in front of me. I am keeping one eye on him as I type, but I still feel guilty. Especially since he's thrown the piece of bread on the floor three times, and what do I do? Brush it off and give it back to him.)

There are days when I feel I get it, I really do, like this whole mommy thing is a cinch. Then there are days when I feel like I'm flunking. Le Petit has no schedule; he still wakes up when he wants to, naps when--err, if-- he wants to, nurses when he wants to. I'm introducing solids, and as much as I think I should at least get him on some sort of schedule for that, his meals still sort of happen when they happen. Am I a failure? Is he going to grow up to be some sort of starry-eyed drifter who can't hold down a job because I didn't give him three squares at the age of seven months? That is, if he doesn't choke on a giant breadcrumb first.

(The piece of baguette fell on the floor again and I dutifully replaced it with a proper teething ring. Le Petit looks skeptical of the substitution.)

He's wearing clothes that don't match, and a sweater stained with sweet potato, applesauce and sticky breadcrumbs. His socks are falling off. Dirty dishes have taken over the house, or at least the two rooms that haven't succumbed to dirty laundry. I need a nanny. And a housekeeper. And a majordomo. A whole team of people silently working to keep it all from falling apart at the seams.

And yet, I honestly think I'm still having fun.

Boom. The teething ring hits the floor. Gotta go.

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