My neighbor, Felicia, has been watching our kids during the 3 hour gap between me leaving for work and Jason getting home. It’s been the perfect set-up. Felicia lives 2 houses up and has a son 7 months older than Amelia and a daughter 7 months younger (there was a lot of fertility going on in our neighborhood for a while). She was laid off a few months ago, so she’s generally available and can always use the cash. Best of all, she’s my friend and I know that she takes good care of my kids. It’s almost as perfect as when we have family in town watching the kids (usually Jason’s dad). Of course, this way nobody is sleeping in our guest room and watching their own shows on our TV.
When I drop the kids off in the afternoon, the usual routine goes like this:
1. Ring the doorbell
2. Kids inside squeal and Felicia opens the door
3. Kid’s scream “Amelia!” and all three kids run away toward the playroom
4. Chat for a few minutes
5. Handover of the baby and diaper-bag
6. Slip out the door as quickly as possible before Z notices
For a long time, Z would panic when I left. On most days I’d be stepping out the door as he started screaming. As any working mom knows, it’s not fun. It tears you up and makes you feel guilty for leaving. I knew that the tears would stop as soon as I was out of earshot, but it still knocked me down a notch…every…single…day.
Lately Felicia & I had noticed that Z wasn’t crying when I dropped him off anymore. Call it adjustment. Call it familiarity. Still, I was still gingerly stepping out the door every day praying that Z wouldn’t cry.
Last week, we arrived at Felicia’s house and Z started wriggling in my arms. I put him down so I could talk and Z was swept up with the other kids. He didn’t walk, he RAN. He ran back to the playroom with 3 kids much older than he. No longer the baby. Finally able to play with “the kids”.
Arms up, screetching with glee, running with the herd.