Well, I've done it. I've gone and booked a meeting with a childminder because oh-my-god-i-cannot-believe-it, nine months have come and gone and I have to go back to work in a few weeks. The days of living in my jammies and rolling around on the floor with Rukai are going, and I will need to make conversation about other things than bodily functions, milestones and sleep patterns. I will need to park my silly faces until I get home. I will have to use Outlook again. Go to meetings. Dig out my work notebook and try desperately to read through what I was working on, if I can see past the many doodles I made in the later days of pregnancy when my mind was adrift in anticipation and worry. I think my new doodles will consist of little more than to-do lists. I cannot live these days without lists. I truly cannot remember anything aside from squidge requirements. That is all.
Oh dear. I think re-entry is going to sting.
But back to the childminder selection. I can honestly say this is a bigger decision than the one I took to move to England in the first place, largely because adult me can handle bad decision making (not that the move was a bad idea, but HAD it been...) 7-1/2 month old Rukai cannot. Like everything else we have done with and for him, we have to get this right. I think this is where that maternal instinct and the old 'gut feeling' will kick into overdrive. It's been a remarkable discovery, since before I had a child the only gut instinct I had regularly was the massive belly ache after an overly spicy curry or football sized burrito. This maternal thing is just a bit supernatural. Now that I think about it, if I ever grow those magical eyes in the back of my head I'll have to sell myself to MI6 or the CIA and save the world while I'm keeping Rukai from bashing his head on table corners and such.
I wonder when the time will come that this decision-making-about-the-bubba will stop feeling like brain surgery? Stop feeling like 'if I don't get this right, they will take away my mommy credentials and send me off to summer camp to climb trees and learn underwater basketweaving.' I suspect it's easier when you have more than one kid - instead of worrying so much about what you are doing with kid number 1, you have sudden expertise with kid number 2 because you've done it already. The stuff that is so worrying right now would go in the background for kid number 1 because the littler the person is, the more fragile. The more fragile, the more attention you have to give and the more attention you have to give...the more wine.
Yes, that is also an essential part of the big picture. Like many other things I did not really understand before I became a mother, I 'get it' now. And although wine is a four letter word, it is a socially acceptable four letter word that prevents overfrayed nerves and utterance of other less acceptable and dangerously repeatable four letter words. So essentially, a nice glass of wine will keep Rukai's first word from being 'shit'. That's not to say he doesn't find it at around word number ten or eleven but if we don't dare to dream, where will we be?
In other news, our little man is coming along like gangbusters since we started him on solids. The floppiness is fading, and he is now - for lack of a better description - 'baby planking' when I pick him up and raise him over my head. That little neck is strengthening day by day and to our delight he is well and truly doing everything he should be doing, only just the littlest bit later than his NCT pals. To have this group of friends has been a godsend to both of us - to him for familiarity and to me for great friendship and to be able to gauge where his development is against ordinary children.
When describing his latest acquired skills on a recent visit with the health visitor, I detected the slightest hint of surprise as if to say 'I can't believe he's doing that already. He shouldn't be able to. Most babies with Down's syndrome can't do that at this age.'
Yes, yes, yes. But we have determined already that he is not MOST, my good woman. And I truly think she knows that. This is why it is only a hint of surprise followed by a slight grin and more note writing. Ok, good good. She gets me. More progress.
As each day goes by I see more of a grit, a determination, a stubborn streak, a warrior. Although sometimes I fret, these days I am not afraid of my son's ability to soar.
The only thing I fear is getting back on that cursed Central Line again. So I guess at the end of return-to-work-day-1 it will be for bubba: bath, bottle, bed. For mommy: cuddles, watch him dream. Then dinner. Then wine. Yes.