My upcoming birthday trip to see MBF Tracy has taken on a new twist. It was originally designed for me to visit for the weekend (plus a couple of bonus days) with Olivia, while Eric--assisted by sitters/friends/gypsies--would take charge of Jake. We've worked this routine out before, albeit with some flexibility from Tracy and her team of babysitters, and Olivia having to play docile possum in a stroller all day as we shopped and lunched our way through my hometown.
But The Weaning, or what we affectionately call The Day I Became an Epileptic, has released my charge of being the only one who can feed Olivia. So Eric has become point person, and will mother both the children as I fly off to Houston with absolutely no idea what to do with my new freedom. Currently when I sneak off alone, I periodically suck in my breath sharply with that fear I have left her, abandoned, in the back booth of Starbucks, or in the cart in the parking lot of the grocery store. These little jolts surely are taking time off the back end of my life, much like single cigarettes smoked while drinking out in the 80's, or that some days my exercise is limited to the reading of a pop-up book. Can you imagine the severity of these millisecond horrors when I have almost four days of zero-responsibilty? Men you don't have these brief terrors you've forgotten your children; if you're not with them it isn't a shock to your entire system. No, you are at work, or playing a round of eighteen, or in the bathroom. And as much as it sounds that I am complaining, I am okay with--some days in love with--that feeling of being totally responsible for a little person's, say, breathing.
Thus, confessing to you that I look forward to the next few days even with those little moments of confusion is not shameful. While I know Tracy will get irritated at my occasionally checking to see if she is hungry, or wet (sorry T, habits don't disappear overnight), I get to experience that male-hubris high of going to the bathroom alone.
I don't doubt Eric's abilities one bit. When I came back from the hospital, Olivia's outfit was on backwards, she was drinking her bottle with the orthodontic nipple upside down, and Jake had used an entire package of scotch tape (on delicate wood furniture) to secure his fort. But they were happy, safe, and Olivia was knocking back twenty-four ounces of formula per day. So who, then, can argue with a father's touch? Not me, for I intend to enjoy doing the "No Longer Breastfeeding Shuffle" by quaffing decent champagne and gormandizing caviar as an entree (MBF reading this, panicking, hiding American Express card). And enjoying that private guest bathroom, baby.