Emma's Journey to Baby

“Some say love is holding on and some say letting go… “

So Teddie is 4 months old. It’s a bit early to let him go off and fend for himself you might say. Don’t worry  I would agree! But blimey ‘they’ didn’t tell you how hard it would be to let them go to be looked after by someone else did ‘they’?... Or maybe they did, but you just didn’t really understand until it was your turn. Ok so I class myself as quite an empathetic kind of girl so I did empathise with Mums (before I was a Mum) when they left their babies as we went off on our spa weekends or girl’s nights out. When asked if they were ok leaving them my girlfriends would respond  that they do miss their kids but they also need ‘ME’ time too.

So as well as ‘Me’ time, couples need ‘US’ time, I’m told, and our ‘US’ time was on the horizon. The first time we were leaving Teddie overnight. It was my 35th Birthday which is also our 2nd Wedding anniversary and Valentine’s Day! Yes I have one lucky hubby – only 1 date to remember and only 1 annual celebration making a dent in his pocket.

My step sister offered to look after Teddie so that we could go to London and paint the town red… how very exciting don’t you think? Though if I’m honest, I think deep down I thought can’t we just take him with us? It’s not like a dog where he can’t go into museums and pubs and shopping centres. But in reality getting the Tube and Taxis all over London wouldn’t be quite as free and easy with a Pram and ten tonne of baby paraphernalia. Maybe we will save our family trip to see the Queen until Teddie can walk…

I was apprehensive about leaving him but it wasn’t that I was worried he wouldn’t be totally looked after in my absence. My Step Sister is very attached to Teddie as she spent his first days with him in hospital when I was in Intensive care. So whilst we were off gallivanting in London, even though I wasn’t there to check he was breathing whenever I felt the urge, I knew she would be doing it too. She did tell me when we returned that she did check him lots when he was asleep as he is such a quiet sleeper! Unlike his Mother my husband might add…

So I knew he was in good hands and I had even got my head around the fact that someone else would be driving him in their car without me being able to see him in his car-seat via a special mirror I have. I’m still undecided as to whether that mirror is a help or a hindrance. I swear Teddie doesn’t blink, well obviously he does but rarely. So I often sit at traffic lights calling his name in the vain hope he will look up or avert his eyes from whatever it is he is gawping at so I know he is ok. When he isn’t staring into space he is mostly just asleep but how do I know he is breathing?!! I have been known to pull over just to check him mid-journey. I am told by friends I am not alone in this and they have also been known to stop several times to check on their precious cargo.

I do realise that one day my baby will have to go in other people’s cars and oh my god one day he will actually drive himself, but that’s ages away isn’t it? Though I’m told it goes so quick…

I now know why my Mum wouldn’t let me go in boyfriend’s car when I was 17 until he had been driving for 3 months. “Emma, you don’t learn to drive from passing your driving test, you need to get used to the roads!”  I now know how sensible that sounds, and I didn’t betray my Mum on her ruling. No meant NO and I wasn’t about to disobey her. I thought she must have her reasons and I abided by her rules. I wasn’t an angel but I was really quite good and I do believe that it was due in main, to my Mum’s stern but fair discipline that I turned out ok ;-).

So we can discipline our offspring, and set boundaries and instil rules but in spite of all that we do have to let them go … We have to let our kids go to other people’s houses, we have to leave them in other people’s care, at friend’s parties, watching other peoples televisions, playing in other people’s gardens… we have to let them go in other people’s cars. We just have to hope that all that time we spend going on and on about the do’s and don’ts when they are with us, stays with them when we can’t be with them. Unfortunately you can’t sit in class at school with your child every day, or god forbid go on their first date! Teddie has to get used to the fact that some days I won’t be there. I’m sure some days he will be glad… 

So yes we went to London and we had a great time. No checking our watches to see how long it was since his last feed, no looking for the Baby Changing in Harrods… But I did wake up in the night wanting to know if my baby was ok and I think I even expected his Moses basket to be next to the hotel bed!

Teddie was spoilt rotten in our absence. My niece flew over from Germany as a surprise to spend the weekend with him, my other Step Sister and Niece visited and had Teddie-time too, he is loved so much. But when we returned do you think he would look at me?  I could not wait for a cuddle and a big grin but my heart sank as my family witnessed Teddie snubbing me as I eagerly tried to coax him into giving me one of those gorgeous smiles I usually get every day, all day long. He was holding his ground. I imagine him thinking “I am not just going to be all smiles for you Mummy, you left me and I didn’t know that you were coming back, I am going to make you sweat for a bit…” And boy did I sweat, I think it wasn’t until about 30 minutes later that I got my beautiful boy to smile at me properly. I read an article that states at 4 months babies do not know when you aren’t in the same room that you are still ‘somewhere’ because they don’t understand that something still exists if they can’t see it.  So as briefly upsetting as it was for Teddie (photos prove he was smiling all day when  I was gone) and as mortifying as it was for me to not get smiles on demand, I do know how important it is to teach Teddie that if I am not there I do still exist. 

Teddie just so you know, I’m going to be coming back all my life as long as there is a breath in my body because... I may not be able to be with you all the time. But the truth is, no matter how big you get and how much I learn to let go, when I m not with you there will always be an invisible tie that links me to you for all time. Even when your hand is too big and you’re too grown up to want to hold mine. Whenever you need my hands, to feed you, to hold you up, to cheer you on,  my grip is on you… and even though I will let go on the outside, inside I’m always holding on.

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