Monday, March 29, 2010

Milestone missed

So in my previous post I mentioned being afraid of missing some of Sophie's "firsts" that I experienced with Emma. First crawling, first steps, first words, things like that. Those will be the beginnings of a lifetime of "firsts" - first boyfriend, first kiss, first time driving, first job - milestones that mark our babies' growth into adults.

Emma recently had another first, and one that she chose NOT to share with me: she had her first period. Wanna know how I found out? I found a wrapper in the garbage and knew it wasn't mine and asked her about it. She still wouldn't even admit to knowing what I was talking about until I asked her point-blank if she had started her period. I was floored when she said yes! I mean, it's still two weeks until she turns 12. I was not ready for this (emotionally, I mean. She's been "ready" for a couple years now and knew what would happen and what to do). But, I never in my wildest dreams thought she just wouldn't say anything about it at all.

And to be honest, it kind of hurt. Ok, it really hurt. I don't expect her to come to me when she has her first kiss. Most of her upcoming "firsts" she'll go running to her friends with before she ever gets around to us. That is a normal part of growing up, I know. But this one - I'm her MOM! I'm SUPPOSED to be the first to know about this, right?

We've always had a very good relationship. I've tried to make her feel like she can come to me with anything at all. And she has - until now. So now I worry about things that may not even be real: if she didn't tell me this, what else is she not telling me?? My imagination has been working overtime.

I have to trust in her, though. We're raising her, I hope, to know right from wrong and how to behave. And she is still young - it's not like she's a teenager yet with the freedoms of movement (transportation) that allows. She and her friends still have to rely on parents to go anywhere or do anything. She doesn't spend a lot of time at friends' houses right now, either. Her friends group has changed with the new school and the parents haven't caught up yet. So it's not like I really have to worry yet.

I have realized one thing, though. I am terrified of her becoming a teenager. I am losing my baby girl to the grownup world!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Almost time to rejoin the "real world"

I have two weeks left of my maternity leave. Sophie will be ten weeks old when I go back to work. I know that is four weeks later than many other moms have to leave their babies, but it still seems way too early to me! With Emma, I didn't go to work until she was sixteen months old. I was there for her first word, her first steps, first solid food, first everything. I am so afraid of missing one of these milestones with Sophie! I also worry about how she will be taken care of (not at first, my amazingly wonderful mother has offered to stay with her for several weeks until she is a bit older). No matter how good a babysitter might be, or how long we've known her, no one can care for a baby like her parent (or grandparent).

Oddly enough, when Emma was smaller I never wanted to be a stay at home mom. She was always Daddy's girl - she loved me, too, but unless she was hungry (nursing) she wanted her Daddy. That didn't change for many years, either. She just didn't seem to NEED me as much. She loved her daycare and was even a bit spoiled there. When she started school, homework night was one of the two nights a week I was working so she didn't need me for that, either.

Once she moved into middle school, though, things changed. Homework is harder and more involved. I can no longer trust she finishes it at the babysitter's house. By the time we get home from work and picking her up, it's dinner time, then bath and bedtime for her. We don't have time during the week to just catch up, relax, enjoy each others' company. I miss that.

Now we have Sophie. The past eight weeks have been wonderful. I have time with her during the day, time for myself when she naps, then time with Emma in the afternoons. I help her with her homework, we talk, we play, we do things together. She has time to go outside and play. We're more relaxed. We eat better meals, and earlier so we have time for family time after dinner.

Don't get me wrong - I love my job and will enjoy being back at work. It is challenging, and interesting, and I work with a lot of wonderful people who I miss interacting with. But I also have a financial obligation to my family to go to work. We just can't do without my salary in the mix.

But if one of us came across a winning lottery ticket, guess where I'll be...