Tuesday was day care day. The day I had been anticipating since April. I'm not going to say I was dreading it, but I certainly wasn't looking forward to it. It came and went, I cried my tears (all morning long), and at the end of the day our family was eating dinner together and everyone survived. It was hard, I won't lie. I could barely speak to the day care teachers because I had a giant lump in my throat that felt like it was going to burst if I spoke one tiny word. And, actually, it did burst as soon as one of the ladies looked me in the eyes, saw that I was choked up, and said, "Awww! She'll be alright! You can call as many times as you want to check on her!" Soooo, I lost it. I couldn't tell them half the things I needed to tell them. I just gave her a kiss and got the heck out of there so I could cry all the way to work. I called my mom in the parking lot and as soon as she answered she said, "Are you okay?" and I sobbed, "Noo-oo-ooo!" But you know what? Once the day was over...I was okay.
We sent her there for three days this week, and she ate well and slept well and smiled when I or Sylvain picked her up. Our evening family time has become so special, something to really cherish and appreciate now that we're both working again. I had some wonderful conversations with other teachers who have kids, I worked hard all week with my AMAZING fourth grade team, and now I'm really starting to feel like the Mom I've always pictured myself being. The decision to go back to work was a no-brainer. I love my job. I LOVE my job! Teaching fills me up in ways that nothing else can. I am so grateful for the four fabulous months I've enjoyed at home with my sweet baby girl, but I am so excited to start this school year. It's going to be fantastic!
While we were on a roll with new plans and routines this week, we decided to give the wee nugget her first "food." We started her on some rice cereal this week for two reasons. First of all, I'm hoping it helps her sleep better at night. I've heard people in both camps argue that it will or it won't, so we'll just have to try it and see. Secondly, and more importantly to me, we're introducing her to the idea of family meal time. Until now, we've tried to at least sit her at (or near) the table when we eat dinner so that she understands this is a special time for us, and something we do every night. Once she fit in her bumbo seat, we let her pull up a chair to the table and join in our conversations. We'd say, "How was your day today, Sylvia?" and she'd smile and say, "Aaalllggrrrrbbhhhhaaa." Which obviously means, "Lovely, thank you. How was yours Momma?" After her doctor's appointment on Monday, we got the green light to introduce some simple foods, so we started shovelling some cereal into her mouth while she sat with us at the table.
She didn't like the new plan.
It took her a while to get used to the idea of a spoon. On the first night, she just made a really awful face and her tongue pushed it all back out onto her chin because, of course, her mouth has NO IDEA how to swallow something that it hasn't sucked. I only tried about four or five spoonfuls that first night and she was just not having it. Lots of fussing and odd looks and gurgles that clearly meant, "What the hell are you trying to do to me?" Sylvain even looked at me and said, and I quote, "You have a lot of patience." Can I get that in writing?
Then, on the second, third and fourth nights, she started figuring out what was going on, but she still got fussy after a few spoonfuls. Something occurred to me. I wonder if she thinks that cereal is just some jacked up version of breast milk? I thought mixing it with breast milk would make it easier for her, but I bet it just confuses her. The look on her face was all, "What IS this crap in my breast milk? Why can't I just eat it like I normally do?" So I thought I might start mixing the cereal with water instead, and then maybe it won't taste anything like breast milk and she'll be able to tell a difference. Wahell! It worked like a charm. All of a sudden, on the fifth night - rice and water night - she was all, "Hey! This stuff is AWESOME! Shovel some more in there, Momma, and keep it coming!" She actually started opening her mouth when she saw the spoon coming! Success!!
I've been begging Sylvain to put her high chair together for the past few weeks. In my head, I thought we could take the tray off of the high chair and put the bumbo in it so she could be elevated a little higher at the table and so she could get used to the high chair for a while until she learns to sit up on her own. He put it together today and I was devastated to learn that the bumbo seat wouldn't fit in the high chair. He set the chair by the corner of the table, where I always envisioned it would be, and I resigned myself to waiting for another month or two. Then he, oh wise and wonderful husband, he suggested we should try to put her in it anyway because it has straps in it and the tray comes back far enough that she might be able to keep herself upright. Oh. My. GOSH! We set her in that high chair and wouldn't you know, she sat right up and smiled at us like, "Ahhh, finally! I can SEE at the dinner table!" I was so happy. I mixed her cereal, slapped on a bib and she went to town on her new favorite food.
As I shovelled the first few bites in her mouth I became teary-eyed. I was not expecting to feed a kid in a real high chair this weekend. I don't know exactly when I thought this would happen, but I didn't think it would be this soon. Sylvain snapped a few pictures because he knew it too. Sitting in a high chair is not on the doctor's list of developmental milestones. This is a big deal. Bigger than day care. This is one of those things that takes you by surprise as you look at your kid and think, "Oh my gosh. She's so big. She's so strong. She's so smart. Look at what she can do!" And she made it look so easy!
Oh, my sweet girl. You amaze me.