The first time I went outside alone after having the Dumpling I felt like an escapee from the local asylum. It had been all baby all the time for about a month. I felt like the nerdy neighbor in Ghostbusters after he was taken over by the spirits and let loose on New York City. People were walking about, going to dinner, laughing with friends, jogging, sitting on benches, buying groceries…going about their lives. To say I was disoriented in this sea of normalcy, is putting it mildly. My unwashed hair was shooting in every direction, I had wild eyes and mismatched baggy clothes covered in spit up. I looked like either an eccentric painter or a woman with a newborn. Or both. Although I don’t think this happened, in my memory, I seem to recall running through the street screaming, “Help, they’re after me! They’ll get you too! They’re taking over! The baby monsters! They’re coming for you! Run, save yourselves!”
Some people say, “I could never have anyone else watch my baby.” I’ve taken a slightly different approach. I scout people on the street who have that trustworthy look. Usually, it’s the grandmother types. I see these silver haired women in the grocery store or cleaners. They look over at my baby and beam and ogle. You can practically hear their thought bubble: “Oooooh, I remember those days with my kids. Now they’re grown and no matter how much I beg, they have yet to produce my grandchildren. I’m just dying to hold a baby and change diapers. What I wouldn’t give!” Well, I figure it’s a win win. I don’t need to ask background questions when they look as threatening as Mrs. Claus. It’s so hard to resist running over and saying, “Here, hold her for a few hours. Get your fix. I’ll be back eventually…maybe.”
Fine, I exaggerate. But, a girl can dream, right? As much as I fantasize about handing off the Dumpling so I can take a break, it took two months to go anywhere Dumpling free without feeling anxious and lost. I wanted terribly to have time alone but I couldn’t stop worrying that she needed me and that no one else knew how to take care of her like I did. I felt a constant struggle between dreaming of alone time and not being able to handle being alone.
The good news is, my anxiety diminished greatly after three months. In fact, as I write this, she’s sitting somewhere with a very nurturing looking grandmother type I met in CVS. I’ve started to let go of the stress, a little, and I feel better than I’ve felt in a long time. Ok, before you get all judgy, the lady in CVS happens to be the Dumpling’s actual grandmother. Maybe by month four I’ll be ready for the grandma babysitting casting call. Point is, so far, in month three, I have enjoyed some semi-worry free time away. Nothing major, a couple hours here and there. But, at least I can appreciate the time. I still dream of Josh and me taking entire weekends away and sleeping in until seven a.m. I know that won’t happen anytime soon, though. I guess that’s why they call them dreams.