Last week I was childless for two days. Almost three. I left Eric with the kids in Maine and came home to work.
Initially, I was anxious about separating them (to put it mildly). I had never been away from Charlotte for a night; she's been my little buddy since birth, and has gone everywhere but work with me. In my head, I was getting all sentimental, as if I were sending them off to a foreign country with nothing, possibly never to see them again, rather than simply leaving them with 3 capable adults who love them and reuniting with them a few days later.
I panicked about leaving Charlotte behind, and called my mom (who babysits on Tuesdays and Wednesdays) to see if she was free to babysit so I could bring Charlotte home with me. Her response? "No. I have plans." So that was it- I was leaving my baby behind.
Then I started to fantasize. I dreamed that my time at home would be plenty of free time, sleeping in, maybe even a girls' night out, it was pretty much my normal routine. My body is accustomed to waking up early, so I was up at 7 both mornings. I had so much to do (clean, run errands, go to work, exercise) that I didn't even have time to relax. On top of it, I caught a "killer cold" and felt completely run down and lousy.
I missed my kids, but not as much as I thought I would. I was very excited to see them when they arrived Thursday evening, but probably could have managed another day or two on my own. When I saw them on Thursday, they were happy to see me- but after a quick hug and kiss, they were back to their usual activity. No harm done to any of them, it seemed.
It did seem to bring a complete end to breastfeeding. Charlotte was still nursing once or twice a day, for short periods of time. Friday morning she nursed, but she hasn't really nursed since. It certainly hasn't helped that we were both sick, and in desperation, I took a decongestant on Saturday. It seems to really be over. She keeps asking, and I will sit down with her to nurse, but she is immediately distracted by something more interesting. It's time, though- she is almost 20 months old and I had said I didn't want to nurse until she was 2 like I did with the boys. And I would absolutely rather it come to a natural waning and end, rather than a date I arbitrarily pick and force on her.
The days apart were great preparation for October, when I go away for a week with my mom and sister. Before these few days away, I was bitching and moaning about "how am I going to leave my bayyyy-beees?", but now I know everyone will be just fine. I'm very lucky that Eric is a great dad, and involved in every aspect of their day and care, so no one will suffer when I'm gone. In fact, they'll probably love it because it will be more TV and more treats from Papa Nick. In the end, I'm glad my mom lay down the law and gave me the opportunity to separate from my kids. I'm not as important as I thought I was!