Friday morning, I took Emily back to Dawn's. After about 20 minutes, I left to do a few errands and came back about 2 hours later. It went fairly well. Emily seemed to enjoy herself, according to Dawn, and played and ate well. She was a bit clingy but that was to be expected. Emily and I spent the rest of the day doing the usual Karen-Emily things. It all seemed fine until 2:15 am when she woke up crying and wouldn't let me put her down, wouldn't sleep in her crib and I finally gave in and took her to our bed where I was subjected to the usual Emily-wanting-to-be-in-our-bed-but-also-not-able-to-sleep-because-oh-man-I'm-in-mummy-and-daddy's-bed-i.e.-the-holy-grail. I also got the treat of her rubbing my boobs periodically. Don't know why and don't want to know why.
I don't know if this wake up and the horrible time she has had going to bed since is to do with adjusting to a new daycare or due to the fact that she seems to be getting another molar or maybe because she is 20 months old and that's JUST WHAT TODDLERS DO. However, she stuck to me like glue all weekend insisting that Mummy help her do up her buckles, tie her shoes, pass her the orange juice because DADDY'S HANDS ARE JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH. Hmmm. I'm just going to go with it and wait it out but it is entirely annoying when I am in the middle of cooking or reading and I have to be the one to undo the buckles for the 86th time that day.
She also started hitting us. I won't get into the ugliness of that but let's just say it was not the best parenting moment in our house but we seem to have worked out a good system for dealing with it now and it is having some effect. Of course, Emily saying "Torry, Mummy" is about enough for me to forgive her of just about anything. Okay, anything.
Today she is with John and I am back here. HERE. Ick, here. Doing things that seem totally inane and stupid compared with spending even one second with Emily. Last night I was thinking about this while watching one of the last episodes of West Wing (that's about enough to make me burst into tears right there - how can they end this show when they've introduced such great, new characters? I'm sure Jimmy Smits and Alan Alda would be happy to stay on... sigh). I realized that this weekend (counting Thursday and Friday when I was with Emily) had a much more profound affect on me than my previous stay-at-home times with Emily since I started back to work. This time was different. At risk of sounding completely Oprah, this time I felt like my soul changed somehow. Like I feel as though I can't do this anymore and be happy at the same time. Like there will be a change after my next maternity leave - I will do everything in my power to ensure that I am not back here or anywhere else that requires me to spend this amount of time away from her. I am very aware that Canadian women do not have much of a choice in deciding to either stay home or go to a paying job. Most of us are like me and have no choice but to return to work even if we don't want to (and this is not at all saying that you should feel that you should stay home. I wish I was in a job that I really wanted to come to every day but it just hasn't happened for me) and Stephen Harper's childcare plan will not do anything to change that no matter what he says. However, I do see options for myself in making money while also being with Emily (no, John, this does not include a plan to open my own telephone sex line). Maybe after my next maternity leave I'll want to come back here and do my French (I must admit it will be very hard to say no to that) but it just felt so dream-like and distant to think of myself sitting in this office or any other office. That's the best description of how I felt in that moment. And in that moment, I knew that something had to change.