I've often compared my relationship with Tye to having another limb. We're connected and live as one unit. When she nurses, I nurse her; when her diaper is changed, I'm changing it; we go everywhere together, from taking Mico out to the bathroom to getting the oil changed; and at the end of every day, we sleep together, only to wake together the next morning. Co-sleeping moms and their babies even share sleep patterns, waking within minutes of each other. While part of me can understand how some women might find a relationship like this suffocating, it brings me more joy than I've ever experienced before. Everything is better with Tye, as if she's that fifth limb whose sole purpose is to bring happiness to my life.
I realize this close relationship comes more easily to us because I am blessed to be able to stay home with Tye (moms who work can have the same close, attached relationship with their children; they work really hard to achieve that relationship- something for which they deserve tremendous credit). Most of my friends with children work and have told me how difficult that first day and week back to work are. I'm afraid I would literally feel as if I'd had a limb- or maybe my heart- removed.
This weekend, I had a taste of being away from Tye. Tyler and I made our annual trip to Lollapalooza, Chicago's huge 3-day musical festival. We can take the L in to the Loop, then walk to Grant Park for the festival. Last year, we endured the heat and crowds even with my hugely pregnant belly and dreamed about having a daughter in a year. Tyler's mom, Annette, has been looking forward to babysitting Tye since then. When we bought our tickets this past winter, I thought for sure leaving Tye with Annette during the days would make for a fun mini-weekend away for Tyler and me.
Tye had a great time with Annette. They sang, read books, went on a walk, and played. Because Tye is eating a good amount of solid foods now, the few bottles I was able to pump over the past weeks were almost enough for the weekend (just a touch of formula topped us off). I came home each evening to a contentedly sleeping baby in a happy Grandma's arms.
I, on the other hand, had a hard time. Friday night, when 9pm hit and I had been away from Tye for 5 hours, I threw a hormonal tantrum and insisted we leave before the bands finished their sets. (I think it had a lot to do with watching a 5 for 6 year old boy a the concert trying fitfully to fall asleep under a sheet while his mom flirted with another concert-goer, thinking instinctively that I just wanted to rock him to sleep peacefully, but still, a hormonal tantrum occurred.) Saturday was easier because I knew Friday had gone so well, and after two good days without me, I was able to leave Tye for almost 9 hours on Sunday. Of course, I had some great distractions, too, but being away from Tye was hard.
Something else hard? My boobs, full of milk at the end of each night. I was concerned my milk supply might be affected after 3 days with reduced nursing, but I haven't seen a significant decrease. That might be in part because Tye nursed literally all night long Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, but I knew to expect that after being away from her. Honestly, I didn't mind because I had missed her so much, but I was glad it was only 3 nights- and not indefinite.
I feel like I grew this weekend. I pushed my self to a place where I wasn't comfortable- leaving Tye- and we all survived, and I now know that she'll be fine without me for longer periods of time. Already, Tye is becoming more independent and needing me less. I know I need to get used to this feeling of mixed pride and sadness as it will continue for the rest of our relationship. What a reminder to appreciate this time with Tye and our current close attachment. She may not always be my fifth limb, but she'll always be my daughter.