Tuesday, April 08, 2008

If le Petit ain't happy...

...ain't nobody happy.

That much was clear today. Remember what I wrote yesterday about his limited attention span? Oh, how I underestimated him! The child cried on and off the entire time I left him with the nanny today. He kept crawling to the front door where I'd left him to look for me in vain.

La nounou filled me in later with the play-by-play. Drop off at quarter to eleven with the expected screaming fit. During a quick outing to the park le Petit calmed down briefly, but soon more cries and a hurried return to the apartment. Le Petit cried through lunch (although it didn't prevent him from eating well; he clearly takes after my husband). At around one o'clock I called to check in, he was still crying and la nounou was starting to sound concerned.

We decided that he was tired, and she successfully put him down for a nap that lasted a very short thirty minutes. When he woke up his cries redoubled, and nothing la nounou tried would console him. He wouldn't take a bottle of my milk. He wouldn't calm down when she held him. He wouldn't fall asleep. She eventually called me at quarter to three and asked me to come and pick him up, two hours earlier than we'd planned. When I arrived he was bundled up in a scarf on her back, sobbing.

The second I took him from her he stopped crying and started to smile. He cooed, he babbled, he grinned at me, but when la nounou or even my mother-in-law tried to take him, he clung to me and would not budge. Only when we left the other family's apartment and went to my mother-in-law's did he accept to switch to her arms.

He nursed, he finished the bottle of milk, and all was rosy in le Petit's world for the rest of the afternoon. He played in his playpen for a long time. Then I tailed him as he explored the living room, pulling himself up on the coffee table and joyously grabbing at our collection of remote controls. It took him longer to fall asleep than usual just as it did last night, but he otherwise didn't seem too upset about the whole thing.

Which is more than I can say for myself, my husband, or la nounou. Despite her years of experience, not being able to calm le Petit all day had clearly shaken her, and she seemed genuinely worried about him. Which reassures me, oddly enough, because I know that she truly cares about the children she looks after.

Meanwhile, I am at a loss. Yesterday I'd called my boss to announce my return next Monday. Tomorrow I may have to call him to push it back a week, which will irritate him and may do nothing to help le Petit. If only I knew if a week would be enough to make a difference. I am reminded of the first sleepless months, when I was living from day to day wondering when things would get better and doubting they ever would. Now I have the perspective I lacked back then, but I still am stumbling into the unknown. All I see now is the sobbing, miserable little guy that I leave and pick up and hear in the background when la nounou calls.

Calling it all off and not going back to work would be difficult. What's more, I've made my peace with going back now and I think I'm ready. If it weren't for le Petit's difficulty adjusting, I think I'd honestly be looking forward to it at least a little. As much as I wanted to believe that a solution working from home or part time might be possible, I doubt that right now I could negotiate it. My forty-something, childless boss does not understand where I'm coming from and hasn't even been able to find a discreet place for me to pump milk during the day. His response to my woeful tale of le Petit with the nanny? "It's normal, he's spent too much time with his mother. He'll just have to get used to it."

I do not know what to do. So I fret. And I write. And I worry.

Meanwhile, for le Petit it is all clear, he knows what he needs to be happy. La nounou is fine, and a new apartment to explore, why not? But Mommy'd better stick around while he's exploring. The closer I am, the better.

1 comment:

geobrarian said...

Oh, I'm sorry, that's so hard. I wonder if it would help for you to have the nanny at your house some days? That has helped T. in the past, being in her own surroundings and not having to suffer through the dreaded drop-off.

Good luck.