September 14, 2006 at 9:05 am | Posted in Sophie stuff | Leave a comment

I remember the day I was discharged from the hospital after having Sophie.  We had to “repeat” a parenting class that ran over the basics of diapering, bathing and general baby care before we left the hospital.  I remember thinking it was kind of ironic seeing that the baby was already here and if we were ill prepared to care for her, well honestly, who was going to stop us from taking her home from the hospital?

 I remember sitting in a room just off the nursery going thru the basics of bathing when I heard a cry.  It was obvisouly a new born cry and what really killed me was the fact that I didn’t know if it was my baby or some random stranger’s baby.  I immediately felt like a horrible parent that I could not recognize their own baby’s cry.  I honestly thought I was going to have a full out panic attack.  First off, why wasn’t a nurse coming to the aid of this poor newborn and instead just letting him/her wail on and on?  Second, how could I not know what my own baby sounded like?  I mean, it had been two days and you would think that by then the strange mothering ear would have kicked in and I could have recognized her wail from 2 city blocks away.  I decided to cut myself some slack and came to the realization that my post-partum hormone imbalance was to blame for my over-sensitivity to the situation.

Fast forward almost 3 years to yesterday morning.  The first day of “school” for my baby.  It’s a bit difficult to call it school considering it is only 2 hours a day, 2 days a week.  Yesterday was the orientation – just an hour to let the parents meet the teachers (yes, I signed my daughter up for school without meeting the teachers in advance.  Even I can’t believe it) and the kids the opportunity to explore their classroom while parents were present.  I was prepared to leave her alone the following day.  The first day of school.  Not today.  So imagine my surprise when the program director suggested that parents give their little ones a kiss good-bye and exit the room.  As in out of their site.  As in I’m leaving you with a complete stranger for the first time in my life and I’m not sure I can do that without bawling like a baby.  I was prepared for this tomorrow but not today.

So I bravely crossed the room in a daze of confusion and planted a smooch on Sophie’s cheek.  I told her I had to go into the other room for a minute but I would be right back.  I turned and started to leave when I heard her.  Mommy, mommy, mommy…..I turned back ever so slightly, just enough to see her out of the corner of my eye.  She was standing, arms outstretched, tears welling in her eyes.  And in an instant, I fell back into that moment in the hospital.  I felt like a horrible mother for leaving my child.

I know that she only cried for 15 seconds after I left because she is so susceptible to diversion.  The teacher even reassured me upon my return that she stopped crying almost immediately after I was out of eyesight.  She had started whimpering again when the teachers announced that the parents were on their way back to the room but the bigger fuss was over a toy airplane she didn’t want to leave behind…rather than the mother that left her behind.

So today is the big test…2 hours, all alone without mommy.  I wonder who will cry more…her or me….probably me.  My baby is growing up…


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