Thursday, August 28, 2008

All this evolution, and for what?

I am freaking out. We are moving the day after tomorrow, and I think that will be okay, in terms of getting things packed and getting the truck set up and all that. What I'm really concerned about right now is Charlotte.

I'm sort of concerned that she's going to be confused and upset that suddenly her room is not her room. 11 1/2 months is a little young to explain about moving. We have explained it to her, telling her that we're moving, and that all our stuff and us and the cats will all be in a new place, but we'll all still be together. Charlotte just blows raspberries and continues smearing beets everywhere.

The other thing just completely weighing me down is what we're going to do with Charlotte during the actual move. My mother-in-law has agreed to watch her all day, which is very helpful. Unfortunately, the plan that she proposed, and that we somehow agreed to, is that she is going to come pick up Charlotte at 8:30 am, take her to her home, 1 1/2 hours away, and watch her there until 6:30 or so, when my father-in-law gets out of work, and then drive her back. I am so nervous and uncomfortable about this.

It has very little to do with my mother-in-law actually watching Charlotte. I know that even if she doesn't agree with my parenting tactics, she does respect me (or fear me) enough not to, like, feed Charlotte peanut butter or anything. But I've been to their house, frequently, and I know that nothing is really childproofed. I'm scared Charlotte is going to hurt herself because MIL underestimates Charlotte's mobility. I'm scared that Charlotte will be so excited that she won't nap or eat, and when she gets back to her new house she'll be too freaked out to sleep. I'm worried that Charlotte's recent mom-clinginess will make her sad the whole time, and that my MIL will leave her to cry it out. I'm worried that being away all day is going to exacerbate her current separation anxiety once she's back.

Mostly, I just don't want to be that far away from Charlotte for that long.

I know there are people in our family who think I'm ridiculous about this, but Charlotte is still really little. I know other people go off and leave their 3 month old baby with family for the weekend - but that's not me. I don't think it's good for kids, and I know it isn't good for me and Charlotte. We're buds. We hang out. And she's only going to be little for such a short time - I want to take advantage of every minute.

And, of course, I am afraid that something horrible is going to happen and I won't be there with Charlotte.

I've always been a worrier, but since I've had the baby, it's gone overboard. Just anxiety over stuff that I can't help - what if a car crashes into them on the highway? What if she eats something in the garden that she's allergic to and we have no idea? What if someone drops her? What if *I* drop her? What if she dies in her sleep? Just all the shit, all the terrifying things you can think of. Every worst case scenario, horror story, blog post on Strollerderby...all of it just floats around in my head constantly. I haven't been this anxious about random shit since I was in high school and constantly lying and hiding things from my mom (smoking, boyfriends, girlfriends, self-destructive behavior) or when I was in middle school and had constant overwhelming nighttime fears(mostly about aliens and alien abductions). It's not fun to be this anxious, this vigilant. I feel like Mad-Eye Moody and Mrs. Weasley had one asingle, very nervous progeny.

I think I mostly do a good job of covering it. I am somewhat nonchalant in what I let Charlotte eat (though if it's a vegetable, it's gotta be organic). I allow her - nay, encourage her! - to crawl around on the ground and pick up dirt and grass. I let her climb around her room, and play with random stuff, as long as it isn't blatantly dangerous. My sister comes over and watches her occaisionally. Charlotte is free to explore, and I let her get small bumps so that she learns to keep her balance. But still I know I seem like the most ridiculously overprotective, overanxious parent. I guess I just still can't shake the feeling that something is going to happen to Charlotte and I'll lose her. I know it's something I need to get over. You can't worry about this all the time or you'll go nuts. I think my imagination is just a touch too vivid, and that I've read to many books. I can't stop imagining what it would feel like to lose her and what I would do.

I feel like an idiot. I know this is ridiculous, and part of being a parent, and that I should just be able to get over it. Every separation shouldn't fill me with terror. I have, for the most part, realized that a lot of this is unreasonable, and I try to calm myself down. For the most part, I do a good job, I think. I mean, I know there are others out there who are more panicked than I am. Not in person, but hey, there are blogs. It's just so hard to know what's a reasonable fear and what's an unreasonable fear. And I'm sharply aware that for some poor family every day an unreasonable fear is suddenly reasonable. I don't want to win that lottery, I dread it.

So, yeah. That's my big revelation of the week. I'm a mom, and I'm scared stiff. I feel kind of embarrassed and helpless. I can't really laugh or shrug it off. I'm just one big ball of maternal instinct, constantly locked into fight-or-flight. And you know what? It's exhausting, and I can't turn it off.

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