Yesterday was a learning experience. Gwen's Gramma, the one who looks after her one morning a week and who will be taking care of her for an entire day per week once I am back to work (in six weeks, wow), has been hinting for a while that she'd like to do some of that Gwen-care at her own home, instead of ours. Yesterday was the first time we gave this a try.
The plan was that Chris would feed Gwen breakfast and drop her (and her stuff) off in the morning, then Karen would call me when Gwen woke up from her nap so I could kind of judge the timing, and I would go pick her up in the early afternoon, after Karen fed her lunch.
It all went well. I absolutely loved having the house to myself, and got loads of stuff accomplished (though not nearly as much as I would have liked - we'll have to do this again soon). I didn't realize until I got the call from Karen - reporting that Gwen had fallen asleep at a reasonable hour, and slept for a reasonable amount of time - that I'd been quite tense, in the back of my mind, about whether she would nap at all. I was quite relieved to know that she had napped just as well as she does at home.
I knew there was some learning to be had through this experience. It fairly accurately mimicked the pattern, if not the timing, of our planned daycare day: Chris will drop off, I will pick up. I had been anxiously mentioning to Chris that if he is to be responsible for Gwen in the mornings, he won't be able to spend those mornings the way he does currently, which is by rolling out of bed between 7 and 8, and then locking himself in his office for two hours or more to divide his time between work email and webcomics. I had talked about having Gwen's lunch prepared and diaper bag packed the night before, so that the morning would be less rushed. I think he thought I was getting myself all worked up for no good reason.
...I don't think he thinks that anymore, though!
What I didn't expect was that I would have some things to learn as well. I need to learn to let go. If Chris is going to be the one to get Gwen (and her stuff) ready, whether in the evening or in the morning, then I need to trust him, and to accept that it might not be done exactly the way I would have done it, but that it will be just fine. I need to stop double-checking about whether he remembered the diapers or told his mom about the formula or included a bib in the bag, because if I'm just going to spend all that energy and anxiety thinking about it I may as well just do it myself.
Gwen is going to be in someone else's care most of the time now. Whether it's her dad, her gramma, or her daycare worker, for four days a week, it's not me. I won't know everything about her anymore. It won't all be up to me anymore, and I need to let go. Let go of the responsibility, the anxiety, the constant awareness. Trust these other people who care about Gwen and are going to do the best that they can for her. They might not remember to dress her in green for St. Patrick's Day. They might not read the same stories I'd choose to put her to sleep. They might not value self-feeding the same way I do. But this is Gwen's village, and I need to respect them. What they bring to her life is just as important for her as what I bring.
Whenever we travel with Gwen, we bring along her lovey, the Goodnight Moon book, and a CD of ocean waves that we put on repeat near her playpen when it's time to sleep. We read Goodnight Moon before every nap and bedtime, and settle Gwen in to sleep next to her lovey. Yesterday, all three of these items were forgotten at home - and Gwen slept just fine. So perhaps this is a humbling lesson for me, that I am not after all an infallible judge of what she needs.
I can relate because I know I'd have a really hard time with the letting go, too!
And a harder time not checking that Steve had gotten it all together before he left...
I'm so glad it went well with Gramma! Could you imagine your anxiety level if it hadn't? If you got a mid-morning phone call with a screaming Gwen in the background?!
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