First of all, I have to apologize. I haven't written many posts in the past few weeks. I have been busy (a bit), I have been preoccupied (a lot) and I didn't want to just moan for days on end, even though that's how I felt (there's only so much you can get away with). So, with the new month, hopefully, I'll have a bit more inspiration.
Since Noelie has been born, we have managed to go out a few times. We are lucky enough that some of Mr Foodie's relatives live close by, and they have agreed to babysit for us on a few occasions. The girls always have a great time with them and they surely enjoy looking after them too. Up to now, I was not comfortable with the idea of leaving Noelie overnight with them (or anybody else for that matter). Mr Foodie, on the contrary, has been ready to leave her overnight for the past 6 months at least. I don't know what it was, she was too much of a baby for me to even consider leaving her overnight. A few hours at a time was all I could manage. Call me overprotective if you want, I just couldn't do it. A few months ago, Mr Foodie pushed the idea a bit too far and I just started crying (I cry a lot remember?), I was almost panicked at the thought of leaving my baby. The thought just paralyzed me. Mr Foodie was very understanding though and didn't push the idea too much afterwards. I think that he knew that eventually I would come around and do it.
I was always very protective of Marie. I used to think it was because she was premature. The fact that she was whisked away to ICU after being born and was not with me on the first night had some profound effect on me. It was just horrible to be lying there in the ward with all the other mothers who had their babies beside them and all I had was a horrible Polaroid of her in the incubator with tubes coming out of her broken nose, and hooked up onto so many monitors. I could feel the other mothers looking at me and probably wondering where the hell was my baby (although I'd say they were thinking more along the lines of 'What the hell do I do now with a baby??'). I remember taking a trip up to the ICU at 3am, just to be with her. I was lucky enough though as she only stayed in the ICU for 24 hours. But I believe it had a lasting effect on me. That coupled with the first time I left Marie (2 months old at the time) with her father's parents to go out for a few hours. They had come to babysit and, upon returning, I found the house as hot as an oven (try leaving the heating on full blast for 5 hours and light the fire at the same time), and Marie swaddled in her bouncer, not strapped in, with another couple of blankets piled on her for good measure. I don't know how she didn't die from overheating. Let's just say that I found alternative babysitters after that.
So it's not easy for me to leave my girls. However, on Saturday night, I had a breakthrough. We had been invited to a birthday party and had organized to leave both girls overnight with Mr Foodie's relatives. So off we went to drop them off, everything packed but the kitchen sink (I am sure I could have fitted it in one of the bags). Everything had been checked and rechecked. Travel cot, enough food until the next afternoon, enough bottles, teddies, toys, clothes etc to last at least 3 days. I even put a little list of food and nap times etc in the bag. (cringe, does that say I don't trust you to know my child enough to look after her properly?). We dropped them off and everything was fine, until we realized that we had forgotten to bring Noelie's sleeping bag with us and had to take another quick trip down to drop it off. I'm sure she could have used blankets instead for that one night but I wanted her to feel as much at home as possible.
People around us think we are a bit, let's say, different (they probably say that we are weird behind our backs). I'd rather say that we have a more continental approach. We don't use blankets, we use sleeping bags. Now to most older generation Irish people, it is quite a novelty and we did come back once after leaving Noelie with Mr Foodie's parents, to find that she had decided to go camping in her cot. Instead of being in the sleeping bag, it had been put over her looking like a tent. We don't use a high chair, we use a table seat. Mr Foodie's parents had never seen it before. It is great and allows the child to be sitting at the table with you instead of in a high chair aside from the family. We also have a seat in the bath for Noelie. I have such definite ideas on what I want for her that I'm sure people are getting headaches trying to buy things even clothes (I have been known to put black on a 3 months old baby and I absolutely hate pink). And let's just not get into the food part of it. I'll let you imagine what people might think when I give Noelie lentils, or spinach, or couscous (I think she had potatoes only 4 times since she has been on solids). I am sure our dear babysitters looked in disgust at the green gloop that was the spinach dish or the pink one that was the carrots and cod.
Anyway, I have to admit I am quite proud of myself. I have managed to leave my girls overnight and not worry about them. We had quite a good night and got home quite late. The girls had a fantastic time and both enjoyed a reflexology treatment (must remember to book that appointment I got as a Christmas present!). Everything went really well and I am delighted. I thoroughly enjoyed the break. Getting up late, breakfast in bed and just watching telly in bed for a few hours. Nobody else to think about was a welcome change. So thank you to the babysitters for taking such good care of the girls and thank you to Mr Foodie for the breakfast in bed. I really enjoyed it, let's do it again (in a few months time).