January 16, 2006
Big Wide World
I was ok last night, when your mum was running around trying to make sure that we had packed everything bar the kitchen sink and half of the contents of your wardrobe including a four litre bottle of baby panadol and seventeen changes of clothes.
I was ok this morning when we couldn't find your sunhat and your mum was trying to get ready to go to work so I had to dress you and we went through your drawers trying to find just the right mix of cool and approachable.
I was ok in the car, and walking into the centre with you in your mother's arms and a bag containing fortythree of your most precious toys and two hundred cheese sandwiches in mine. I smiled and chatted and took photos (then proceeded to leave the camera in your mother's bag, so we're going to have to make do with one of you at a picnic on the weekend, showing us just prezackly how it is that one eats a piece of bread at a picnic, a task at which by now you are an old hand).
I was ok helping your mum fill out the nine hundred page form that detailed your every move since birth and described in triplicate what your average daily number of breaths is and how often you blink in any given 24 hour period. What I do professionally is often tantamount to filling out incredibly detailed forms and so I was confident that I would be able to make a good go of it. Nonetheless, the wonderful Georgina foud that I'd missed a page and had to re-do a bit of it.
I was ok when it got to about 9 o'clock and the wonderful Toni started going around with a tray of raisin toast and bits of banana. They strapped you into a highchair and you started to yell. You looked at me and you yelled. You wanted to know WHO is this strange woman and WHY is she strapping me into this contraption and WHY isn't my dad doing this HE'S STANDING RIGHT THERE and WHAT IS HAPPENING. At almost precisely this second, you realised that there was in fact a bit of banana sitting on the tray in front of you. And proceeded without further ado to concentrate your attentions entirely on said piece of banana to the exclusion of all else.
Your mum and I knew that our chance had arrived. We snuck out the door with a minimum of fuss and headed straight for the car. We sat there for a few seconds, dumbstruck by what we'd done, and then hit the road, by now running seriously late for your mum's first day of work. We managed to get into town with a minimum of fuss, and now we're both trying to pretend that we're concentrating on work whilst actually we're both worried sick about you, and expecting the phone to ring any second with some earth shattering emergency.
There's a tendency, when you're a parent, to assume that the particular personal quirks of your child make them somehow immune to being looked after by anyone else. That somehow your kid transcends all of their years of training and they couldn't possibly take care of you.
This is, of course, nonsense, but it didn't stop my heart from leaping in my chest when my phone rang at 10am today. Some part of me was positive that it was going to be the centre on the phone, telling me that they were sorry, but you wouldn't stop crying and I'd have to come and get you. Or that you wouldn't eat. Or that you'd bitten one of the other kids. Something. Anything.
I miss you punkin, far more than I did when you were at home with your mum. I don't want to be a nervous first time parent who calls the centre every two hours to make sure that my little angel is ok, but at the same time I'm thinking about just ringing them once, to check on you.
Love you, even though I feel a fair bit like I abandoned you today.