Tuesday, September 5, 2006

The Day I Left My Baby Behind...

Well it happened. We dropped off Little Abbey for her first day at daycare on Friday of last week. It wasn't how I expected.

For a month, we had developed a routine with Little Abbey. We started her bedtime routine at around 8:30 and by a quarter after nine, she was in bed falling asleep in her room. For a month, she would sleep through the night and wake up once in the early hours before dawn for some food and a dry diaper before sleeping for another two to three hours. We thought that all this would continue when daycare time came except that the last sleep would be delayed while I drove the five blocks to drop her off. We may be right but Friday certainly didn't reassure us any.

Thursday night, my wife had a craving for Hy-Vee chicken and seeing this was our last day before Little Abbey went to daycare, I thought it worthy of fulfilling. Very unfortunate since all three of us came down with a case of gas. (How does fried chicken give someone gas?) My wife and I have mature intestinal tracks and let nature work its magic but Little Abbey's gut is still developing and for her, farting is a painful process. All night long, we were getting up to soothe her by holding her in our arms and applying pressure to her stomach or rolling warm bottles of water across her abdomen. These worked and Little Abbey would relax only to be bowled over by another round of pain in her abdomen. Never in my life did I think I would be praying for someone to fart but on Thursday night into early Friday morning I was.

Alarm clocks eventually went off and we swung into what we hoped would be our new routine. Mom pumped and got ready for work while I changed Little Abbey and tried to feed her a bottle. Unfortunately, the gas was still a problem and when a baby has gas, they really aren't in the mood for eating. I kept trying to soothe Little Abbey and finally as my wife was ready to make her way out the door, an explosion ripped though the house. Fortunately it was contained by them well built Huggies Supremes Size Number Ones. My wife helped me changed Little Abbey into a fresh diaper and bid a tearful goodbye to a baby she hasn't been away from for three months.

After my wife left, Little Abbey was still not wanting anything to do with her milk so I got her into her car seat and shuttled it, a diaper bag, a milk bag, a bag of diapers and wipes for Mrs. Z to keep at her house, my lunch bag and the partial bottle of milk out to the car. Little Abbey was silent for the trip over as we both pondered her fate for the day. I felt guilty as if I weren't a good parent and needed a stranger to do something I should be doing. I also felt guilty because Little Abbey was still not feeling well and I thought giving her to Mrs. Z was like dropping a baby off on the steps of a hospital and slinking off into the shadows.

Mrs. Z gathered Little Abbey into her arms as I explained the night's events and assured her that it would be no problem to give me a call if she was too cranky to deal with. Mrs. Z said everything was going to be all right and started carrying Little Abbey away from me and into the living room. The last thing I saw before heading out the door to my car was a tearful Little Abbey looking over Mrs. Z's shoulder at me and starting to cry. I quietly slipped out the door and made my way to the car but not before hearing Little Abbey's cries coming through the windows. As I got into my car and backed out of the driveway, my world blurred up and I cried a little myself. I've been leaving Little Abbey behind every morning for two and a half months but I knew today was different and I couldn't help but let my emotions get the better of me. I drove to work in silence and wished everything could start over again like three months ago, when all Little Abbey knew of the world was our house, my wife and I.

All day at work was hard. Fortunately the never ending crisis that always seem to pop up on a Friday before a holiday popped up and kept me busy for most of the morning. A message from my wife saying that she had talked with Mrs. Z and Little Abbey was now sleeping although still not taking much milk gave me a little boost in my moral but still I kept counting the hours until I got to see Little Abbey again. Lunch came and went, people started leaving early for a jump on the holiday weekend, minutes seem to lengthen and time slowed down. Three-thirty seemed as if it would never get here soon enough.

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