New Mommy recently returned to work after spending Little Bird’s first four months together. With this new transistion in parenthood, I thought back to when I returned to work and felt a sense of withdrawal from baby and mommy 3 weeks after Bird’s birth. Not being home to witness some early milestone moments with Bird was heart breaking. But being away for 8 hours did have it’s ups. I had time to really miss him, and have him miss me too. On my second week back at work, I came home and found New Mommy watching Bird on his changing table. He was just beginning to learn to make eye contact with us a few days earlier. He glanced at me, realized who I was, and gave me the biggest baby grin I’ve ever seen. Not a grin for gas, or because he pooped, but a real happiness induced, first of many smiles, for me. My heart melted. It was one of those moments a new dad can never forget.
The day New Mommy returned to work, however, was a tough one. We may both spend quality time with Little Bird, but her time with him is a little more special. They’ve built an amazing bond while breastfeeding, sleeping and napping, and just keeping each other company all day. I’m sure the separation anxiety she felt was 100 times what I experienced. Regardless, New Mommy was a trooper. She may have left for work teary-eyed, but she also had the reassurance that Bird was in the caring hands of her mother. Bird did okay too, minus one small detail. He couldn’t help the frowned lip and sudden tears that would overcome him at first sight of New Mommy arriving from work. That’s when he realized she was gone all day.
New Mommy’s bond with Bird amazes me everyday. I’m in awe of this bond, and sometimes a little jealous of it. For his first vaccinations at the pediatrician, Little Bird cried so intensely, it pulled tears from New Mommy’s eyes. It even forced the nurse to feel the need to owe us her sincere apologies for sticking him with needles. As soon as Bird felt the warm grasp of his mommy’s arms, he immediately calmed. Then he crashed for about 4 hours straight.
I’ve been accused of trying to “out mom” New Mommy sometimes, not by fault, it’s just my enthusiasm for giving the best of what I have to offer Little Bird. I feel awkward if I’m not the one pushing his stroller. I’ll have the baby carrier strapped on me before New Mommy can even volunteer. I love burping him and cat napping with him. I even love changing his diapers! Any time I can spend with Little Bird is precious to me. But I’m quickly learning what may take me an hour or longer to do, like putting him to sleep or calming his crying and irritable mood, she can acomplish in 30 seconds. It’s the mother and son bond. It’s her motherly intuition. It’s stronger than an ox. And it’s something New Daddy just can’t mess with.