A very big day
Today was the day I’d dreaded … today was the day I’d put off for a long long time
I’d also looked forward to a part of the day …
the dread part was my first full day (8.30am – 5.00pm) away from Hope …
the look forward to part was a conference in London with many colleagues I’d not seen for a long time and the chance to reconnect with friends, digital inclusion issues and ponder new work possibilities.
The look forward to part was enjoyable in a conferencey worky sort of a way, a brief glimpse into what felt a little like ‘my former life’ when I’d have gone up the night before and not left before the end but been one of the last men standing swapping stories with politicians, pondering funding issues with third sector colleagues and giggling with various chums … or is it called networking? I forget it’s been about a year … I had a small what to wear crisis and felt fleetingly outside of it all before somehow the event closed over my head and cocooned me back into my ‘old world’ and I did enjoy it
I felt out of kilter all day, I missed my girl, my load felt lighter but not in a good way, I kept getting up and checking to see what I’d put down … and as the train sped home I willed it on and finally as I burst through the front door of Granby’s house to find my Hope, I really felt an absolute physical need to hold her. She was lying in her pram, her father had popped round and was rocking her, but she wasn’t asleep and had cried and grumbled for the whole afternoon and when she saw me she reached up … and yes she smiled. I couldn’t be around Roy or Granby, I thanked my poor exhausted looking mother, gave her some flowers and took Hope upstairs. She hadn’t eaten all day and when she did start, she fell up on me like a small carnivorous wolverine (as she did when she was really tiny, a feral creature in need of sustenance), but before she ate she just looked at me, reached out, tugged my hair, put her hand in my mouth, bashed me on the cheek and then clutched hold of the loose skin at the base of my neck (yes I know … I’m old remember) before she dived down to breastfeed. I think she was a little surprised at how much milk there was there for her (I’d stupidly not taken a breast pump to the conference … not in the normal list of things I’d need … and my chest was so so full, hard and painful … not leaky, I’ve never had that issue, just really too full to be comfortable). I think that’s why there was such a sense of urgency about her feasting, that and the fact that she was very hungry!
Once she’d eaten we played, we sat on the bed together, we chatted, we played ‘mouth, nose’ and sang if you’re happy and you know it, and then she started her funny breathy laugh, a little wrinkle nosed Mutley … and I ticked the nape of her neck and “hur hur” she laughed …
she hasn’t quite got how to ‘belly laugh’ yet just makes snuffly sounds and “hur H” and sometimes squeaks a very high pitched squeak. She was so happy. She kept hold of my thumb for a long time and then when she finally let go she leant against me and waved toys, turning her head to watch me and offering me each toy to kiss. I was so happy. Then I lay on my front beside her and she did something she’s never done before, she flopped onto her front, and stayed there for nearly an hour. Hope normally hates lying on her front and gets in a real pickle, today however she was so content to lie there beside me, her chin resting on the back of her hand looking round at me our faces inches apart. It was a very intimate and special time and when she did drift off to sleep I sat up and watched her before turning her onto her back and covering her with her pink blankie and arranging all her toys just infront of her – I know that sounds schmatzy and probably frivolous but it was lovely and just felt like the right thing to do so if she woke up and I was gone, she’d be amongst her furry, rustly, squeaky friends.
I’m lucky to have found a childminder I trust and like and Hope seems to be starting to relax with, I’m lucky to have a mother who, inspite of her age, is happy to help as and where she can with Hope, and was able to take care of her this afternoon and pick her up from the childminder where she’d spent nearly 6 hours. Hope apparently played a little this morning, but didn’t eat, this afternoon she was very fed up and apart from a bit of ham wouldn’t eat (not even the bits of pasta left over from supper last night which she’d loved, or slices of tomato her current favourite) … she cried alot, she’s over her bug but still not quite herself, but I judged her well enough to leave her, and I know that decision was a sound one.
Getting everything ready was a challenge … expressing breastmilk for Granby and for the chiildminder to feed her took ages, packing a small packed lunch, sorting out changing station for Granby and her changing bag and new outfits for childminder and getting myself up and ironed and washed and organised to leave before 8am … after only 3 hours sleep … I so so admire how people work, cope with ‘mothering, the lack of sleep, the getting organised part AND then look flawlessly made up and perfect. I put my make up on the train … I was 20 mins early for the train which is unheard of for me so I bought hot milk and an orange juice and some chocolate for the journey … thinking about buying things, the whole day cost me about £90 once I’d paid childcare, trainfare, taxi fare, tube fare and for my “I’m still breastfeeding and constantly ravenous” snacks … so I do hope some offer of gainful employment / a small contract / a massive retainer / just something comes of it for me … being self employed is a bugger at times.
So … right now, Hope is fast asleep and I’m wide awake, it’s almost midnight and I need to get some sleep but just had to mark all the firsts today saw achieved; first day apart, first day back ‘at’ work (in an out and about rather than at home behind the computer kind of a way), first loll on her tummy, first unaided roll from tummy to back and then back to tummy and first time we’ve both dozed off on our sides facing each other inches apart …
I never expected that attending the #dela2012 digital evolution local action event would herald such an emotional, draining, difficult, exhilarating, peaceful, happy, playful, tearful, joyful day and evening … I’m glad I’ve ‘broken the duck’ or whatever the phrase is, and done something, proved to myself I can do it, and I hope Hope gets more able to enjoy time away from me as she has to get used to it. I wish wish wish I could be a full time ‘stay at home’ mother, I’d dearly love to have every second of the day to spend with Hope watching her grow and enjoying her wide eyed absorption of the world but I have to support her too, as do most women and indeed parents… I resent being away from her but, if I have to from time to time … and it is rare as I can work from home most of the time and can only afford one day a week at the child minder anyway, if I have to from time to time, then I know that I can … and that she will enjoy new experiences and then share them and some very special time when we’re back together again.
It was odd being just me again rather than ‘me and Hope’ (yes I know the grammar is bad there) … now, I need to go and climb into my bed … still beside her little cradle … and drift off listening to her breathing and wriggling about as I’m sure it won’t be long before she wakes up to have some more milk as she didn’t have much supper this evening (fish) and probably has some eating catching up to do… and you know, wonderful though this evening was, and much as I did hugely enjoy the conference, I hope it’s a while before I have to be quite so far away from her for a whole day again.