It lasted hours. Half the time I was sitting on the side of the bed, and the other half I was curled up next to the twins’ mattresses. Crying. Sobbing. Freaking out.
And here’s the context.
Since I was little, there have only been two things that I’ve ‘wanted to be.’ A teacher and a mother. What was very difficult for me to accept, and what contributed to the meltdown was the understanding that for me to be both, fully and successfully, was not possible at this point in time.
Wednesday night was the night before my professional day. In teacher world, that is the start of our school year. We get schedules, class lists, duties, etc. I was returning to a school that I was eh about, to a group of people that I was also eh about. I had worked with these people for four months before being pulled out on medical leave and had formed what I thought were good work relationships. I left before Christmas break and was due back in April/May. In that time, I had not one phone call, not one email or text inquiring about my health, about the babies, etc. Not. One. It’s no wonder I chose not to finish the year (well that and the no day care thing). I love teaching. I did not love teaching at this school.
Wednesday night also marked the moment in time when I would say goodbye to my girls and entrust them to someone else’s care. I have no issues with day care. I think the socialization and the organization are great for kids. And there have been many days this summer when I really really wanted to drop my whiny toddler off somewhere to cry to someone else and stop pestering her sisters.
And the twins? I can’t. Not yet.
The twins, developmentally, are closer to their corrected age (4 months 11 days) than they are to their actual age, six months today. They have some neck control but not enough to sit in their Bumbo seats for more than a few minutes. They have each rolled, but only a handful of times. They won’t be sitting unassisted for a while, nor trying food. The most they have had is watermelon in a mesh pouch and a teething biscuit. Taking them out for walks in the triple stroller is hard because they don’t have the control to stay upright and will flop to the side. By comparison, our oldest had two teeth and was gnawing chicken wings at four months.
I’m not worried about their development. They are on track for being born seven weeks early. I know what they are capable of at this point and I know how far I can push them. I just don’t want to entrust their special care to someone else right now. I want to be there for these developmental milestones, albeit how small.
But the bigger picture here is the quality of our time together. Evie was in a home day care for five months last school year. The husband dropped her off and I picked her up. For those of you without children, count yourself lucky that you don’t have to experience the very special time known as the witching hour. It’s that lovely time in the early evening when some cuddly happy babies are inconsolable for no reason and toddlers are little assholes. So my time with my children, if I am working, would consist of picking them up during this crotchety hour, bringing them home, feeding them dinner, giving them baths and putting them to bed. And on weekends? Well that’s when I would have to run errands and do all that other household stuff that I’m too tired to do after standing on my feet teaching all day with one ten minute lunch break. I would have little to no quality time with them. Not to mention that we are still scrambling to find placements and the only solution at this point is splitting them up to get them enrolled in care.
I want to take Evie to the park. I want to watch her gleefully eat a donut for breakfast after I’ve broken the blender and can’t make fruit and yogurt smoothies. I want to sing and dance to Raffi with her and let her bang away on daddy’s old laptop while I get some writing done. I want to crawl inside her pirate ship tent while she tries to climb in the door on top of me. I want to watch her try and write with crayons and pens and make a mess. I want to show her flash cards of colors and give her chocolate chip morsels (nem nems) as a treat after lunch. I want to watch her try to kiss and hug her sisters, try and put bibs on them or mimic their babbles. And I want to watch them laugh and interact with her and with each other. I want to cuddle them for no reason and let them fall asleep on me. I want to sing to them when they are upset because it’s instantly stops their crying and fussing. I want to help position jelly bean so that her neck gets a break and give her cool wipe downs when her helmet makes her sweat. I want to watch sweetness’s eyes go big when I blow raspberries on the bottom of her feet.
I want this time. Right now. I don’t want to give these moments to someone else. I’m sure there are many lovely, caring people on the day care industry. I know that they will be as safe and as cared for as they can be. But right now, I want them here with me.
And they will be. At least for this upcoming school year.
It was not a easy decision, yet not a difficult one. Will this year be tough? Yes, and in a lot of ways. Money will be tight. Very tight. We probably won’t take our weekend trip to the Big E and the Yankee Candle Village, or go down to New Orleans to visit extended family. Our tax refund will probably be spent paying the mortgage and for Christmas we will ask for grocery store gift cards.
But I get my girls.
And my husband gets a clean (ish) house, dinner on the table and packed lunches, and clothes to wear that come out of the dresser and not the laundry basket.
And he gets a happy wife.
Happy wife, happy life, right?
And next year, when we are at our wits end with a 2 1/2 year old and two 18 month olds, we can entrust their whiny little butts to someone else.
But for now, I’m going to enjoy being a stay at home momma.