Some facts:
- Austin will be 6 months old next Friday
- My breastfeeding goal was 6 months
- The fall semester of school has started
- Theseus' school schedule requires Austin to be in day care twice a week (9 hours total)
    
What these facts have in common: I'm not ready.

Can it really be that our baby is half a year old already? How have we moved so quickly from March 16? I was looking at some of the short videos of Austin I made for Theseus (before he came home from deployment), back when he kept his hands in tight fists, hardly moved around and only made eye contact for a second or two at a time. Such a difference from today, when he leaned back into my lap with a sigh and played with his feet. He laughs so much - it's the best sound in the world.

I've started weaning, but I'm not sure how I want to proceed. He eats four times a day now: in the morning before I go to work at about 6:30 (breastfed), between noon and 1 p.m. (frozen breastmilk and a few ounces of solid food), when I get home from work around 5ish (breastfed) and right before we go to sleep (breastfed). I no longer pump a bottle during the day, and we've just about exhausted our frozen supply. I think Theseus said this morning we have two servings left.

So here I am, reluctant to wean any further, but it's increasingly difficult not to, especially now with school. I suppose the next feeding to go will be the 5 p.m. feeding - we'll switch to formula (we have to anyway for the noon feeding) and maybe a little more solid food. That will leave me with two breastfeedings a day, neither of which really interfere with anything. Do I continue with those for now? I know I set 6 months as a goal, but maybe I should go a little longer. I'm not quite ready to give up our time together. 6 months went by too quickly. :/

I've been directly responsible for his nourishment since he was a little group of cells. I took care while I was pregnant to eat responsibly, and have continued to maintain a healthy lifestyle since he was born. It saddens me to think of not having that special link to him anymore. I know, I know, before long he'll be fixing his own meals in the kitchen and not long after that he'll be able to drive to the store to buy his own food, but for now... for now I think I'll wait on weaning any further.

But our other, unavoidable issue: day care. Theseus and I have both taken pretty much all the classes we can online - this semester I have one class online and Theseus has two, but next semester we'll likely not be able to take anything online. Everything from here on out will have to be taken in-class, and night classes are only held during the week (and only one of us can be in a night class at a time), so we'll face this for the next three years: day care.

It kills me. Austin's first day was last Thursday; I got out of work a little early and had a little time before I needed to leave for school, so I dropped by to see him. [I know, I know, parents should not do this, it only makes it harder on the child/child care provider, blah blah. Spare me. It was his first day and this is hard for all of us.] He was lying in a crib crying - not wailing, but crying. I picked him up and cuddled him for a few minutes. He calmed down, the woman put him in a swing, he looked content for a moment but started to cry again as I left. I cried on my way back to the house, and on my way to school.

But that's to be expected, right? Austin had never been in the care of someone who isn't family. And maybe he was just having a rough first day. There were other babies there when I stopped in, and the majority of them seemed content. The women working there were all very nice. There are toys to play with and bouncers/swings/walkers for him to sit in. Still - I hate it. I hate leaving him there with strangers - sick strangers! He's been sniffly since that first day. [I've actually been sick since his first day too, sick enough to call into work today, something that hasn't happened in literally years.] It makes me feel so incredibly sad to think of him there by himself. But short of delaying our classes, we have no other choice.

So that's where we're at. Wish I could wrap this post up with something cheery, like, But I'm sure it will all work out in the end! but I feel so crummy about everything that I can't bring myself to find the positive in it all. Our baby is growing up, he needs me less now than before, and we can't handle all of his care ourselves. Not much to smile about.

- Antiope

 


Comments

Angel
09/07/2011 4:25pm

Sweetie.....

He will ALWAYS need you. We've all gone through what you are...yes, it sucks to think of him growing up and becoming independant - and ALL his first steps toward that will break your heart - preschool, kindergarten, not wanting a hug or kiss goodbye (Mom, not in front of my FRIENDS!!!)...but every so often, the boy will come to you for something, anything, that will remind you of how very much he DOES still need you.

Example: Patrick will be 15 on Monday. Yes, 15. When we're out in public he walks behind or in front of me...no longer beside me. He refuses to talk to me about ANYTHING, and we have some hellacious battles over his room, homework, chores, etc. BUT - the other day, he wandered out of his cave & came to sit with me in the recliner...when I asked if something was wrong he replied "no I just wanted to sit with my Mom for a minute, is that ok??" and then proceeded to snuggle up to me as much as his teenage body would allow. It might have lasted about 10 minutes (because he got a text...from a GIRL...and went back to his cave to reply) but it reinforced my belief that no matter how old, hairy or tall he gets, he will ALWAYS be my baby and need me, even if only for a quick snuggle.

By the Goddess, now you got me sniveling....

Point is, no, Austin will NOT remember your not being there 24/7, so yes, it IS better to get the schooling done and over before he does. And, let me say how proud I am of you - you are the mother I knew you could be. Love you all.

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Meg
09/08/2011 1:06pm

Rhea spends 32 hours a week in daycare. It sucks for me. I feel so useless as a mom when I drop her off.

The bright side of it is that SHE IS THRIVING in daycare. She has babies to grow and play with, she has caregivers who make her smile and giggle.

So I totally understand the guilt and sadness. But Angel is right, he won't remember and in the long run you will still be an awesome parent.

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Angel
09/08/2011 6:11pm

Meg brings up a good point - only children tend to have trouble making friends and interacting with other kids if they're not exposed to them early on...so his being in daycare now, though it may not SEEM beneficial at this point, actually is. He's learing how to "play nice with others". :)

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09/10/2011 6:07pm

@Angel - Thanks. It's just so hard! I'm trying to toughen up. Or maybe I should just chain him up in a closet so he can never leave me... >:)

@Meg - After his first day (which was TERRIBLE, though probably worse for Theseus and I than for him), it has been better. Theseus picks him up after he gets out of class, and the last time he went to get him, he said Austin wasn't crying or even sad, just playing contentedly in a swing. So it'll get better, I guess, when he's a few months older and can play with the other babies. Wish I were closer to you - playdates!!

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