So I did it...we did it... We finally left Squirmy for a few hours. I know a lot of moms have already left their children plenty of hours by the time they are 10 months old, but I hadn't. For better or worse, that's just not been something I'm interested in doing. But Hubby bought us tickets to see Disney's Beauty and the Beast on its nation tour, with a friend of mine in the cast.
When the tickets came in the mail, I ripped open the envelope! I didn't know he'd bought any theater tickets and it was like September. I WANTED to know what he bought. I LOVE the theater. Four amazing seats tickets lay inside. At first I was elated...then extremely nervous. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, Squirmy WILL not take milk from a bottle/cup of any sort. If it's not from the tap, he's not interested. The prospect of leaving him for 5+ hours was nerve wracking in itself, but add to it that he might be without milk and the fact that he won't sleep without nursing.... Nervous might have been an understatement.
But maybe he'd be eating enough solids by then and maybe we could work on getting him to take milk by then and maybe it would work. Yeah....months of bottle/cup trials and errors (all errors) proved that he was NOT going to take milk from anything but the tap. But he was doing well with solids...
Who we would leave Squirmy with was a no brainer. We both quickly agreed to leave him with my brother and his wife. We trust them and Squirmy loves them and his cousin. Christmas Eve proved he was very comfortable at their house (as long as the big, scary, mean dogs stayed away...you know, the ones that wouldn't know how to hurt a fly, much less want to). They were more than happy to oblige. We all agreed that a trial run would probably be best, so we went out to lunch one day. Squirmy was blissfully unaware that we'd left and played with his cousin for an hour. When we got back, he cried hysterically and reached for me. I don't think he noticed we were gone until we got back. We all laughed and he quickly calmed.
Fast forward a couple of weeks. We had done everything we could to prepare Squirmy to be left. I pumped milk, packed an insane amount of food (all his favorites), tossed several different types of cups and his favorite toys in a bag, and made sure he'd napped well during the day. I even made sure to have his velcro/aplix/hook and loop diapers clean and ready for easy changes. I even sent some disposable diapers I "stole" from Squirmy's playmate in case she didn't want to "bother" with the cloth diapers. Our timing was impeccable until 2 wardrobe malfunctions tied us up (a zipper broke on the shirt I was going to wear and then my pants ripped!!).
We totally forgot to make/grab dinner as we rushed off to my brother's house. Also totally forgot to take his PnP. Though, he hates the stupid thing and we had no anticipation he'd sleep anyway. When we got there Squirmy FREAKED out!!! I mean FREAKED! He remembered that we left him there last time. No amount of coaxing or favorite toys would calm him. I knew in my mind he'd be okay, but he was breaking my heart. Finally I gave him a hug and a kiss and told him I love him and that we'd be back later for him. Sure, he doesn't understand what that means, but I still think it's important to tell him.
We left him there...screaming. :( I choked back tears, determined not to cry. I focused on the drive and the evening ahead. Hubby texted to check on him when we arrived at the theater and grabbed dinner: coke and twizzlers, don't be jealous. He'd stopped crying within 5 minutes and was happily playing. He even sent a video of Squirmy TOTALLY perplexed by my niece (who's 7) trying to get him to play patty cake with her. They told us to let them know when we got out for intermission and they'd send more updates.
The play was amazing! Allyson was great!! A little piece of me wished I was the one up there preforming. But then I squeezed my husband's hand, remembered my sweet boy waiting for me, and the lyrics from one of the songs reminded me that my life is wonderful and preforming would have meant a TOTALLY different life. "I never thought I'd leave behind my childhood dreams, but I don't mind. I'm where and who I want to be. No change of heart; a change in me." I got choked up knowing how different my life is from the life I dreamed about...how much fuller and better it is than I could have ever imagined.
So we rushed back after the play to find that Squirmy was *gasp* sleeping! My SIL drug out my niece's old pack and play for him. Apparently at 9:30, he was walking along, let out a BIG yawn, then fell to the floor and completely unraveled. My SIL, who is a CIO fan and thinks a baby shouldn't be rocked to sleep, scooped him up, cuddled him, and rocked him to sleep. Ten minutes after his collapse he was blissfully snoozing in his cousin's PnP. He never signed for milk and since he was doing fine, they never tried to offer it (why rock the boat). They never offered him any of the food I left. Just let him snack on freeze dried bananas and strawberries they'd bought for him.
My heart about leaped out of my chest (or maybe that was my rack trying to free itself from the confines of a real bra) when I saw him sleeping peacefully. I nearly cried when I reached out and stroked his back. I picked him up and my heart exploded...akin to the feeling of belonging and joy I felt when I first held him. As quickly as I could, I closed the door and started feeding my sweet boy. I could say it was all about getting him milk after going 6 hours with basically nothing to eat. I could say that it was about calming him down because he was startled by being awoken. I could say it was my own need to feed him (6 hour is a LONG time to go when you're used to every couple of hours). I could say it was a need show him that I was there and back and everything was okay. I could say it was a selfish emotional need to feel the closeness and connection. I could probably say all of those things and more. But really, it was just a moment...a beautiful moment when all was right with the world.
We had a wonderful time at the theater, one of my favorite places ever. Squirmy had a great time playing with his cousin. It's wonderful knowing that I CAN leave him safely and he'll be just fine. Though, honestly, neither Hubby nor I have any intentions of doing it again any time soon. :)