How do people do it? Leaving their most precious thing in life to a total stranger… And here we are partnering with another set of moms to find someone to look after our boys together. Sure it’s a smart idea to pair up with another family, cheaper and homier than daycare, less of a germ cesspool, and a good stop-gap until the boys are old enough for the day care programs that start at 18-months (which is most of them). We dutifully placed ads, screened the responses, met the women, weighed the pros and cons of each, and reluctantly need to chose the most competent. Do we go for a mommy replacement or more of a teacher? And just as dutifully we have each in our own way lost our shit, had meltdowns, thought drastic thoughts of quitting work and generally freaked out about this next step for our babies. Our BABIES. These days so many of their products are labeled “for toddlers” and both are crawling and eating and becoming little boys. It’s incredible the amnesia that sets in as things progress, how we can barely remember the joy of him as a “little” baby, nor the agony of former sleep issues.
I think at the crux of it all is the fear of letting go, which ultimately is what child rearing is all about. Right from the beginning, before you even conceive, you have lost control. Then you let go of how the pregnancy goes, and pretty much everything else from then on. Oh sure, we get illusions of control as we chose this food or that for them, this crib or that, this school or that. But we can’t stop him from growing, from moving forward, and we already feel left in the wake of his tremendous pace. What happened to our wee blob? He is feeding himself (mostly) and following his own interests now that he can move. Pretty soon he’ll be in school, then hit puberty, be dating, up all night writing papers and moving out. I know sometimes I question this whole parenting thing, and though I always love Ben, I may not always love the immense responsibility of him. But I also don’t want to miss anything, and these days you blink and boom, another tooth appears (his third one appeared this week). It’s happening too fast! In just over two months time, just before Ben’s first birthday, we will walk him over to his best bud’s house, kiss him as he struggles to get out of our arms and play (we hope!), and say “bye sweetie, I love you”, leaving the house and the boys in the care of??? It’s enough to stop your heart.