As difficult as it is to leave Baby C at school each morning, I’m very glad that I went back to work as early as I did. I’m also very glad Baby C is already accustomed to having other people watch him during the day.
When I dropped off Baby C at school today, there was a little boy, probably about 10 months old, standing in the crib next to Baby C’s crib. He was crying – sobbing, really – and my heart just broke. I said to him, “Hello, there! I don’t think I’ve met you before!” The teachers told me his name was M and that today was his first day. I continued talking to him. “M, you’re doing just fine. This,” I said, holding up Baby C, “is C. Hopefully you guys will be able to play together.”
Baby C was blissfully asleep this whole time. I put him down in his crib, at which point he opened his eyes and began to fuss. When this happens, I turn on the mobile over his crib, then tell him where I’m going and what I am doing, and he settles down. It takes all the willpower I can muster to keep from scooping him up again, but I know it’s a necessity. Today, he was staring at the turtle.
Once Baby C quieted down, I took his bottles to the refrigerator and put them away. One of the teachers took M out of his crib, and he walked over to me, still sobbing.
“Oh, M, are you having major separation anxiety?” One of the teachers nodded knowingly, and M – without any prompting – crawled into my lap and put his arms around me.
Now, M looks nothing like me. Baby C only resembles me in passing, and he’s even got my dark hair and brown eyes. M is a little blond boy with bright blue eyes and hardly any hair. But needless to say, M gave me a hug and, when I hugged him in return, stopped crying almost immediately.
“You just want to be held, don’t you?” I said, releasing him so I could stand up, and the water works began once more. “Your mommy will be back,” I assured him. “It may be a while, but I promise she will be back.”
And as I made my way back to say goodbye to Baby C (still studying the turtle on his mobile), it dawned on me once more how sweet my little boy is. He doesn’t cry unless he needs something, and even then, I think he knows his needs will be met. At times, I wish he would miss me a little bit more, but when I walk into the room and his whole face lights up when he sees me, I know he’s happy to see me. And after seeing poor little M today, I’m suddenly grateful that Baby C is as confident as he is.
Let’s just hope this continues on into adolescence.