In a fit of un-mommy like behavior, Saturday I agreed to drop off my three week old newborn with my in-laws so M and I could go out and gorge ourselves silly in honor of our 5th anniversary. We showed up with a ton of gear for both girls, diapers, sippy cups, milk, bottles, more diapers, wipes, a couple changes of clothes, etc, etc. Unlike each time I’d dropped C off, I had no instructions for them on how to handle Little L.
“She, ah, tends to start eating around 7pm and keeps going until 10 or so when she crashes for the night. I know that’s vague, but it’s all I’ve got.” Both my in-laws looked at me blankly. Where was the detailed list of instructions? Where was the strict schedule?
What could I say, she’s a second child, we’re taking it day by day and letting her call the shots. She’s gaining weight and sleeping well, it’s all we need to know. Gone are the tracking charts and lists that we used to make sure that C was getting all her feedings and filling the requisite number of diapers. When the pediatrician asked me how often she was eating, all I could do was shrug. It feels like she’s constantly eating.
Anyway, there we were, diaper bags in hand, children at our feet, dressed to kill, ready to head off into the night and pretend that we were child free. I handed Little L to her grandfather, kissed C goodnight and skipped off into the night. I felt more guilty about not feeling guilty than about leaving my newborn for a few hours, but I got over it quickly.
Dinner was amazing, the wine was plentiful and for the first time in months I felt like a wife rather than a mom. We ate course after course of fancy shmancy French food. We drank glass after glass of kir and wine. We laughed and talked and hardly mentioned the kids. After our insanely expensive dinner we ambled around the neighborhood for a while until we sobered up enough to drive back to the in-laws to gather our brood. I didn’t once feel the urge to rush home to rescue my baby. In fact I was almost dragging my heels.
When we walked into the house reality rushed down the hall and threw herself in my arms. 10pm and C was wide awake, too homesick to go to sleep. Little L was splayed out on her grandfather’s shoulder, having refused to be put down all evening. We bundled everyone into the car and headed home, the evening already fading into hazy memory. By the second night time feeding I was convinced the whole thing had been just a wonderful dream, a dream that left my mouth feeling fuzzy and disgusting, but a dream nonetheless; the night I wasn’t a mommy for a few hours.