This week was a first: first time (deliberately) leaving Pip with a (non-family) babysitter.
Sure, we’d had a smattering of outings in which my parents or J’s brother and sister-in-law watched the little guy, and there was our dark St. Patrick’s Day, when various true friends took shifts watching Pip while we writhed and moaned from a stomach bug, but I’d never, you know, written out a list of emergency numbers and set out a bottle and kissed my baby and handed him over.
It took almost six months for me to do it! This is mostly because my net pay does not much exceed the cost of a babysitter and more importantly, but whatever.
At the beginning, I would have given anything to have someone watch him. Why isn’t day care socially acceptable in those bewildering first days? (Don’t answer that.) Back then, I had no belief that I, despite being his mother, had a better idea than anyone else how to care for him. Sometimes I even felt guilty that he got a beginner like me — though I’d remind myself that J and I were both first babies, too, and we managed to survive.
It used to scare me to think that I was the world’s authority on this little person, but I realized, leaving him with a friend on Monday afternoon, that it doesn’t scare me anymore. I may not know everything about the care of baby Pippin that I may someday know about his siblings when I’m a more seasoned parent, but I know a lot — maybe even more than a general baby expert — about this one little person.
So I left with a mix of pride and trepidation, glad to see how far I’d come, terribly nervous for Pippin and his babysitter both. And then, at work, just before dinner, I got this video in my email.
I am raising a functional, happy baby, with the help of loving family and friends. Sometimes I’m still scared, but it’s a lot better.