Cataclysmic panic

Butter is going to walk with us to school tomorrow, and then I’m going to bring him to the playground where I’ll hand him off to his new sitter for a couple of hours.

I’m terrified. I’ve never done this. And I think it’s too late to change my mind.

We never had a sitter for Peanut. We have since found someone who has taken both boys for outings maybe a handful of times. A few friends have read a book in our living room after the boys are already asleep so we can go to meetings or birthday parties.

Otherwise, it’s been all me, Spouse, and grandma.

This is a bigger leap of faith than walking onstage alone. This is a more terrifying leap off the ledge than submitting my novel to agents. This is a bigger step into the abyss than marriage, natural childbirth, or the first few strokes of a triathlon.

This might even be a farther stomach-plummet than watching Peanut line up for kindergarten. My innards fell seventy-two stories that day, and splatted in the basement as he walked into the classroom.

And this feels even worse.

I will hand my baby over to a virtual stranger, fake a smile, and walk away.

And just thinking about it makes me want to vomit.

Remind me again why I said I wanted this?

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16 thoughts on “Cataclysmic panic

  1. The first several times I left my kids with a sitter, I opted not to leave. So, I guess I *didn’t* leave my kids with the sitter. But I gained (or lost, depending) trust in their abilities, my kids became more comfortable with them while having the comfort of mama, and, perhaps most important, my kids saw a personal connection between me and the sitter, which is helpful for all parties.

    I know it’s kind of a waste of money, but feel free to stick around until it doesn’t feel so scary (and Butter seems totally comfortable with her.)

    Sorry of this sounds obnoxious. I’m so tired that my filter for appropriate commenting is down.

    Miss you! Hope some relaxing time off is in your future.

    • @Joyful Learner I love that advice. I’ve done that twice with the new sitter, so he’s spent a total of four hours with her already, with me nearby. I trust her. I like her. And I’m still gonna puke.

      @Daryl the thought of a weekend away is absolute heaven. And it probably won’t happen until ours are 9 and 5. I have a hard enough time leaving them for a few hours with grandma. And when Peanut has sleepovers we all check our cell batteries and check the landlines and have long lists of routines and pediatrician stuff. AND Peanut knows where grandma’s phone is and how to call 911. And I still don’t sleep. But have a nice weekend away! ;-)

      @Kristin That made me laugh so hard I forgot to be nervous. Excellent point, yoda Mama.

      @Elle Thank you. He’s going to start a very wonderful home-based day care thing in the Fall so I can get more contract work. And I’m less nervous about that because it’s further away. ;-)

      @Dana you’re hilarious. And colic is a whole ‘nother ball of wax. I would leave a colicky baby with any neighbor who smiled at her, no questions asked.

      @Matt Excellent point, sir. Excellent point!

  2. This weekend, my wife and I are doing our first overnighter away from the two kids (5 and nearly 8), and I have similar anxiety. They’ll be with their grandparents just two hours away for two nights and what amounts to 1.5 days. It’s not long, really, and I made it to adulthood, so they’re probably safe, but knowing this didn’t keep me from writing a very long email addressing all possible contingencies that might arise. Now I’m off to hunt for a big bat signal lamp just in case the phone system goes down while we’re away. My point being: I can identify, and: why do we do this to ourselves in the name of fun or freedom or whatever?

  3. Leaving your child with a sitter is tough. When I returned to work, the thought of leaving my daughter with a virtual stranger nearly killed me. But a few months later, my daughter is rockin’ at the daycare thing, and the caregiver is not a stranger anymore. She shares a lot of my child-rearing philosophies and she is really patient and gentle. Everyone is a stranger until you give them a chance. And my daugher’s socialization is rocketing forward as she learns to interact with new people and play with other kids. It was a hard decision, but it was the best decision for us both. I can do what I need to do, and she is being given lots of time to play, learn, and grow at daycare. Bite the bullet – if you need some time for yourself, for any reason, take it. Butter will be just fine.

  4. You trust her, but it’s still the first time, and of course you feel this way! Completely normal.

    You are doing this because you have work to do. And that is important, too. (((Nap)))

  5. So I’m reading this on the day after you posted it. How did it go?

    I had no problem leaving my eldest at daycare when she was 4 months old. I was desperate to get back to work and be among thinking adults.

    But my second child? The opposite. Couldn’t even dream of working full time. Freelanced out of the house while I had a sitter downstairs with her. I don’t think I left her with a sitter (and her older sister) who wasn’t a relative until she was 2.5 years old.

    Now? Hubs and I throw the kids at the sitter and run out the door. I think you’ll adjust eventually. :-)

  6. I hope this went well for you. I know what it’s like. When I dropped my baby off at the daycare at my gym for the first time, I sat in the locker room and cried for close to an hour. I was 200 feet away. I could have just gone and gotten her, but I didn’t. I knew the time away from me would help her grow. It expanded her world. And I have been taking her there 3-4 times a week ever since. It’s only for an hour or two each time, but she loves every second of it. To see her happily playing with other children, with new toys, interacting with grown-ups that aren’t me… It’s priceless. It really is. And you know what? It still hurts. I’m sad every time I take her in. But I do it for her, despite my sadness. I won’t let my deep attachment hold her back. You won’t either. :)

  7. I admit to a few unannounced drop-ins to see what was going on the first few times I had to leave my little ones…

    You can do it, you can do it, you can do it (it’s sooooo hard, and then that bit of breathing space is sooooo wonderful).

  8. dude. c’mon. you know why. if you can’t remember, go home afterward, stare at a wall for a few hours. in silence. the second time won’t be so hard.

  9. Oh, I hear you. It’s our ten-year anniversary next month, and I’d really like an overnight with my husband, and my kids love their grandparents, but it’s looking like the toddler does not want to spend the night. And I’m okay with that, and okay with not pushing it, but I’m also disappointed.
    There is no easy way to let go of your kids if you’re not feelin’ it. Or if they’re not. And that bond is precious, no?

  10. @CK Yeah! I count, too! I have important…oh, dear gawd, is it too late for a full background check?

    @HonestMom I’m sure I will adjust. Butterbean is our second, and is *way* more independent and into other people than Peanut was. Heck, if I left the room to get something Peanut was apoplectic. Butter turns a corner and comes back to hold up his hand and holler, “Mama, NO!” so I won’t come with him.

    @mw I am definitely doing this for my development, not his. But I know good things will come of it. Even the puking is useful, if I look at it the right way. ;-)

    @Karyn I know them both pretty well, and with the eldest the panic is almost always his. With this little guy, the panic is almost always mine.

    @BigLittleWolf Now I feel like a dreadful person for just enjoying the time alone (in an abject panic, working faster and more efficiently than I ever have in my life) without thinking of dropping in. She gave me a full report, and he did, too, later. They both had a lovely time.

    @j That’s what I keep hoping. I’m guessing by the tenth time I’ll forget his food or clothes or something. And not care.

    @Heather the not feeling it is why the eldest was never with anyone at all except me and Spouse. Even grandparents were dicey for him. But this guy doesn’t get upset leaving me. He says, “No,” but then kisses me and goes off to play.

    And thank all the stars above for that.

  11. The first time is always the hardest. But once you’ve tasted freedom you are going to love your babysitter the way you love your savior. In the really horrible “Sex In the City 2” Kristin (?) told the truth when she was more scared of losing her really awesome babysitter than her husband.

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