Having a stranger watch your child -- adore your child -- is a complicated pill to swallow. On one end, you have the smooth, round satisfaction of knowing that somebody cares for your baby at some fraction of the level that you do. On the other end, you have the spiky, serrated edge of jealousy.
I hate that Jack comes home and smells of another woman's perfume.
I know it's Y.'s perfume. I just know it. She told me not to tell other women about how great Jack is -- they might get jealous. She told me that she tells her own sons all about Jack when she gets home. She's fawns over him constantly. And I love it and hate it all at the same time.
You can't have him, Y.. I'll fight you to the death if I have to!
Sometimes when I work on my laptop at Jack's daycare, I'll take a break and go in to nurse him in one of their rocking chairs. One day, we had finished nursing and were enjoying a little lunchtime snuggle. L. walked in: "Oooh I haven't held Jack yet! Let me see him". She held out her arms expectantly.
I'm here to snuggle with my son, L., why would I give him to you?
G. is constantly -- with good intentions -- harassing me about Jack's health. "What did the doctor say about his cough?". "What took so long to get that prescription for the diaper rash ointment?". "Did you take his temperature this morning? I think he feels a little warm"
You're not Jack's mother, G., and you're not a doctor, either! Hah, I'm both!*
*OK, OK, I'm not really that kind of doctor...
Trust me, they mean well, truly, they do... they love the babies in that room as if they were their own.
Except this one's mine. That makes it tough to see how much Jack loves them back. Jack really like's Y.'s face. She has dark eyebrows and is highly expressive, with an interesting accent. L. can make Jack laugh almost as hard as Greg can, and that's saying something. G. swears that Jack falls asleep easily when she puts him down. S. takes him in her arms for most of the late afternoon, when he's cranky.
Yeah, I know, I should be happy -- he loves them, they love him... that's a good thing... if only I felt sure of being loved, too.
Today, I came to pick him up, and he was pretty low key about the whole affair. Sometimes Jack will get really excited when he sees me enter the room, but it doesn't always happen. Y. kept saying, "Where's your mamma?" and he just kept staring at her. I think the teachers like watching the moms get all happy when the babies notice them, but it kind of backfired today.
I put him in his carseat. G. leaned over: "Do you see your mamma there, Jack?".
G. : "You know it's like when you're in the grocery store and you see someone you think you know but you're just not sure"
Nice. That's, really, just, well... perfect.
I bit my tongue and felt like shit for the whole car ride home. I am officially that Grocery Store Lady that my son doesn't quite recognize.