… it’s back to work I go!
This week I returned to work, something I’ve been partly dreading and partly looking forward to.
I was looking forward to having something to stretch me mentally again, and to a bit of a rest in some ways as well – or at least a change that is as good as a rest. Anyone who’s had to look after a young child knows that while it’s not perhaps as intellectually challenging as rocket science or brain surgery, it’s certainly not easy: you are constantly trying to keep one step ahead of what they’re going to get into next.
That’s not to say I haven’t loved being at home with Amelie, and I feel incredibly privileged that I have been able to take a whole year off work, to see her develop in these first 12 months has been brilliant.
However, I’ve been dreading leaving Amelie – our childminder is absolutely lovely, and it goes without saying that I trust her, but Amelie and I have been with each other pretty much 24/7 since she came along, and when I’m not with her a feel like a big part of me is missing. Amelie’s a really happy, confident little girl, and loves socialising with other people – but still, I imagine that when she’s had me around her whole life, it was always going to be pretty tough to get used to there being big chunks of time when I wouldn’t be there and she would have to come to trust another adult to take my place.
So this week hasn’t been easy at all – I never expected it to be, and I’m sure it will become easier as all 3 of us get used to the new routine.
One of the challenges has been having to make sure I send Amelie off to the childminder with enough food to keep her going the whole day: she has breakfast and lunch there, and snacks too. I’ve found her appetite has been very up and down for the last month or so, and so predicting what size portions to give her has been tricky – she’s also started being a bit more faddy with what she wants to eat on a given day. I can completely empathise with this: there are days when I just don’t fancy certain foods. Thankfully I have more control over what I’m going to eat than Amelie, and of course the ability to articulate my whims in ways other than throwing the offending foodstuff around the room! Then there’s the concern of not sending her with food that is going to make too much mess in someone else’s house, and providing food that doesn’t require too much preparation… all in all, I was a bit nervous about the whole food thing, and consequently ended up sending Amelie with far more quantity and variety of food than she probably needed! I think the childminder must’ve thought I was crazy when she saw the size of Amelie’s lunchbox…
On the menu this week has been: a fairly unimaginative breakfast of mini shredded wheat followed by some sort of fruit (I really need to come up with some more breakfast ideas…); lunch was sandwiches for the first 2 days, which really didn’t go down well, so that was swapped for a yummy spicy carrot and lentil soup on Friday, which I know Amelie loves (she’s been suffering with teething and a bit of an ear infection, so I think the warm soup helped soothe her a little). For snacks, I provided more fruit (banana – always a firm favourite, and blackberries from the garden which she hoovers up), and biscuits (either a fig roll, or some little Annabel Karmel apple & cinnamon biscuits).
On Tuesday & Wednesday, Amelie hardly ate anything much, so as you can probably imagine, I was getting a bit worried that it was the new environment upsetting her appetite. When the doctor diagnosed a small ear infection on Wednesday afternoon, I felt hopeful that this was the cause of Amelie’s loss of appetite – after all, she’d eaten quite happily at the settling in sessions, and it usually takes a lot to put Amelie off her food! Thankfully after resting up on Thursday, Amelie was a lot better on Friday, and as expected her appetite returned (she even managed to pinch a couple of breadsticks from one of the other children – other people’s food always looks more appetising…)
The other knock-on effect is that on the days I’ve worked, we’ve been living off freezer meals (home-cooked), and I’ve not really been able to contribute much to the dinner-making process as Amelie just wanted to be held and cuddled by me once we got home – and I wanted to cuddle her too of course, knowing that I’d only have a very short, precious amount of time with her between returning home and her going to bed. That’s all good, but we’ll quickly deplete my stock of home-made freezer meals at this rate, so Dan is going to have to step up and do a bit of cooking!
So we survived week one, despite difficult circumstances. I’m off now to work out food plans for next week…