November 19, 2007

An Experiment In Terror

Around 6:00 on Saturday evening, Beth and I found ourselves horrified at the situation in which we found ourselves. Walking down her parents' driveway, we tried our best to make each other feel better about the heart-wrenching decision we'd made.

Her: I hate this.
Me: Me too.
Her: I don't want to do this anymore.
Me: I don't either.
Her: We can't go back?
Me: No, we can't go back. That would make it worse. But what the fuck were we thinking?
Her: No clue.

As you can see, we weren't exactly pillars of strength. But we kept walking. We made it to the car and drove off into the darkness. We went to dinner - a local Indian place - made small talk and occasionally threw a "this sucks" in for good measure. We tried to see a movie after dinner but there was nothing we wanted to see. Instead, we got a cup of coffee and headed home. We caught of up on a little TiVo and set the volume of the television a little higher than normal to obscure the uncharacteristic silence coming from the rest of the house.

If you haven't figured it out, what we'd done was left Mia in the capable hands of Beth's parents for the night. We have another kid on the way and, most likely, two or three days in the hospital as a result. It was time to see how Mia handled sleeping someplace else.

Lucky for everyone involved, Mia had, by Saturday night, reverted to her good-sleeping self. She spent a night getting spoiled by her grandparents and loved every single moment of it. Beth and I? Well, we made it but it was tough. Our house didn't feel like our house without all three of us in it. The absence of the baby monitor's hum nearly forced us to turn it on despite the fact that Mia wasn't in her room. The nightly pilgrimage to check on her - to make sure she's under the covers and quietly laugh at whatever position she's managed to get herself into - was replaced by a pilgrimage of my own. A trip to retrieve one of the many stuffed animals with which she sleeps and put it on my bedside stand.

We picked Mia up on Sunday morning and spent the rest of the day catching up - reading stories, singing songs, playing games and cooking dinner. It was wonderful to have her back. And then I broke one of my pinky toes. But that's neither here nor there.

So, long story short. This weekend? Great for grandparents and Mia. A little more difficult for parents and toes. This parenting thing is tough, guys. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Posted by Chris at November 19, 2007 6:39 AM

It's beautiful how much she's grown to be a part of, or really, the centre of your lives. At least you have each other to lean on when she has to be gone. :)

Posted by: Heather at November 19, 2007 7:02 AM

It is painful to realise that they are truly their 'own wee individuals". I mean, you want them to be; know that it healthy for them to be but it really is an eye-opener when you realise that in fact, you need them as much as they need you.

Posted by: Amber at November 19, 2007 7:37 AM

I have been in that exact place. I felt exactly as you did. Sucks, doesn't it?

Of course, it DOES get easier. And by the time she's six, you might almost look forward to an overnight stay at Grandma's.

Posted by: Alissa at November 19, 2007 8:01 AM

Glad to hear all three of you survived this "test" period of sleep overs this w/end! I don't look forward to our first "sleepaway night" when the time for us to have children comes... in theory we've spoken about doing it SUPER early, to rip that bandaid away quickly but...........

Posted by: Stephanie at November 19, 2007 8:16 AM

Yes, I remember the first time our boy had a sleepover at a friend's house. We had a nice evening planned but there was a cloud of regret overhanging us the whole time.

Next day, though, he is always extra glad to see us.

Posted by: Jeff St Real at November 19, 2007 8:32 AM

It is a hard thing to do. We've left our girl twice for a night and then just last week, we were both out of town for work and left her. THAT was hard, not being within driving distance of her.

But it's so good that you did it. The first time is hard but it only gets easier and you'll really need those nights away every now and then.

Posted by: donna at November 19, 2007 8:37 AM

Not to be a wet blanket, but it doesn't really get any easier... when they move out of the house to go to college...or get married... or just because they "think" they're grown up? Yeah. It's gonna suck. Just preparing you. Treasure every moment. It really does go too fast.

Posted by: sue at November 19, 2007 8:39 AM

So I must be a truly terrible parent. I never felt guilty for leaving our daughter for an overnight visit with grandparents. Never. We always enjoyed our "alone" time and she loved being spoiled. It never even occured to me that I should feel bad about it.

Posted by: daisy at November 19, 2007 8:44 AM

Stuffed animal on the bedside stand made me put my hand up to my mouth and gasp.

You are lucky to have this life you have. :)

Posted by: Poppy at November 19, 2007 10:04 AM

No calls in the middle of the night?

I mean from you to Mia.

Posted by: William at November 19, 2007 10:45 AM

OK, so the part where you went and got one of her stuffed animals to put on your nightstand? Awww!

Glad you guys made it through even if it was tough.

Posted by: Erin at November 19, 2007 11:01 AM

Awwww. I'm sure you missed you just as much.

Now, then: you broke your toe?

Posted by: Fraulein N at November 19, 2007 11:08 AM

I bet leaving your kid is a lot harder once they're Mia's age. Just 2 weeks ago we left our 11 week old son with my mom for one night while we spent some time at a Bed and Breakfast only 20 mins. away. I thought of him often but didn't worry and didn't feel like I needed to go back, even though I thought I was going to. I hope that doesn't make me a bad parent!

Posted by: Claire at November 19, 2007 11:12 AM

you guys are total first-time parents.
if someone wanted to take my kids for the night...i wouldn't think twice...i'd be out the door in 2 seconds. sure, i'd miss the kids and i'd be happy to see them when i'd see them again...

but...oh, time without the kids...BLISS!

Posted by: ali at November 19, 2007 11:41 AM

You survived! Yeah!!!

Nick really wants us to go away for our anniversary in January. Just one night. And he wants Zoe to stay at his parents house. I'm just not ready to go for that. I told him I might be OK if they would stay at our house with her. Their house is sooooo un-kid-friendly it scares me.

Posted by: Colleen at November 19, 2007 1:10 PM

Put me in the bad parent camp with Daisy. ;-) Lilli spent the night with my mom and stepfather when she was two months old. She's spent plenty of nights with both sets of grandparents. It really is nice to have couple time.

Of course, I was up in the middle of the night when she was two months old, but that's because I had to pump. ;P

Posted by: Kelley at November 19, 2007 2:20 PM

Ouch, a broken pinky toe! They hurt way more than a little toe should.

I think it is so sweet that you went and got one of Mia's stuffed animals.

Posted by: bad penguin at November 19, 2007 4:13 PM

Man, it seems like just yesterday that I left my daughter for the first time. Now 13+ years later we are looking at the finish line where she goes away to college (possibly out of state). She also goes out with this friend or that friend on a regular basis. I would love to say that it gets easier to be without your little ones, but I found myself sitting on the couch on Friday night wanting my house to be filled with annoying hip-hop music or the sound of her playing her video games. At least she remembered to text me and tell me goodnight. (smile)

Posted by: Tara at November 19, 2007 6:24 PM

She had fun with the grandparents? And they with her? Everybody came out in one piece? Congrats, I think you're doing it right!

Posted by: Sphincter at November 19, 2007 9:22 PM

My grandparents used to bring me home in the middle of the night. I'd beg to go, wake up at 3 am and beg to go home. Bless their souls, they did it.

Now - what about this toe?

Posted by: Emily at November 19, 2007 10:25 PM

My son is 2.5 and I've never spent a night away from him. Partly because our familes are so far away, I don't have anyone I'd leave him with for the night. My husband is away a lot. I know it kills him.

Sorry to hear about the pinky toe.

Posted by: Annie, The Evil Queen at November 20, 2007 1:03 AM

Oh, that's great. I know it must suck for the first time but I was really worried that Mia was going to spend the night with her grandparents for the FIRST time when the baby was being born. At least now you KNOW she'll be fine and you don't have to worry about it. I have a 3 year old and she's never spent the night anywhere, so I can understand...YAY...

Posted by: Leticia at November 20, 2007 12:12 PM

Oh, that's great. I know it must suck for the first time but I was really worried that Mia was going to spend the night with her grandparents for the FIRST time when the baby was being born. At least now you KNOW she'll be fine and you don't have to worry about it. I have a 3 year old and she's never spent the night anywhere, so I can understand...YAY...

Posted by: Leticia at November 20, 2007 12:13 PM