Well, today is my last day at home with Mae on maternity leave. But if you're picturing a long and languorous mom-and-baby farewell, a morning of coos and cuddles, with sunlight streaming in our living room window, you've got the wrong idea.
The day started out okay, with a happy baby and a happy boy waking up at about 6:45. I got breakfast for everyone and then Arlo helped me wrestle Presley (our Himalayan cat) into her carrier for a trip to the vet. Ahem, I mean, the salon. She goes in a couple of times a year for a lion cut, when months of not-often-enough grooming have left her coat in tangles.
The trip to the Cat Clinic was fine; Mae fell asleep in the car (oh glory!) and only woke up to squawk a few times as we got Presley checked in for her appointment. She also snoozed through a stop to get cat food and dropping off Arlo at day care--perhaps a whopping 25 minutes, all told.
Macy and I got home, where I was expecting her nap to continue for at least another hour. Okay, at least another half-hour. But she awoke, squalling, and I did my best to tend to her. I changed her, nursed her again, and cuddled with her until she dozed off in my arms. Five minutes later, she awoke with a start, screaming, and from there things just did not improve.
I know when she gets this way, her eyes rimmed with red, and all my efforts to soothe her in vain, she just needs to sleep. But she's got it in her head that there must be something else missing, that she simply cannot just go to sleep and get it over with. I waffle between the cry-it-out approach and the attachment parenting approach (I know, that's a big sticky waffle), alternately leaving her to cry herself to sleep and breaking down in agony to pick her up and try (usually unsuccessfully) soothing her or nursing her.
I spent 90 minutes this morning in this pattern, until finally I put her in her crib, rubbed her back for 5 minutes, and then put myself in the shower, where I couldn't hear her caterwauling (at least not very well) for 10 minutes. She was still crying when I finished my shower, but her eyes were closed and I was feeling a little more sane.
Finally, I did something I know I'm not supposed to do, but something I know she likes, and I rolled her onto her tummy. A few hiccups, a prolonged snuffle, and she was quiet. Now she sleeps, though God only knows for how long.
This is not the idyllic snugglefest I envisioned for my last day of full-time mommyhood, but them's the breaks. I hate to say it, but I think I'm ready to go back to work.