"But if you come undone / It might just set you free / Everything is good for you / If it doesn't kill you"
Today was my second Monday back to work and it was my turn to drop Diana off at daycare. I signed in, said hello to the caregivers and the kids getting ready for morning snack, and got Diana's snack and milk out for her. I knelt down to say goodbye to her and took a deep breath to brace myself for The Wailing.
The Wailing was pretty epic on my first day back. I carried Diana into the baby room and set her down on the floor while I put away her things. She refused to let go of her Winnie the Pooh lovey and just sat there, looking suspicious. As I was completing the routine and reassuring her that I would see her at the end of the day, she started to cry. Check that. She didn't just cry; her eyes were pools of immense sorrow and betrayal cascading down her rosy elfin cheeks. I picked her up and handed her to one of the caregivers. She stretched out a shaky hand and cried out, "Mama!" as Lauralee coaxed her to say bye-bye and go read books. My heart was not just outside my body, it was sitting in the middle of the floor, too overwhelmed to play with anyone.
It got worse on the second day, when I tried reading her one story before I left. After we read the book, she got up from my lap and crawled over to the toys to pick one up for me. If I had stayed this long, I was going to stay and play, right? Craaap. I stood up and said, "Mama's going to go to work now, love." Melissa picked her up, hugged her, and started to read a new story. As I exited the reading area, Diana opened her mouth wide for The Cry With No Sound, the kind that all parents know is the windup to The Wailing. I counted in my head "3-2-1..." and Diana shook the rafters with her grief. Worst. Mama. Ever.
The dropoff got better on Wednesday, but there was still crying. I told Dusty I didn't think my nerves could take much more abuse, so we decided to follow our co-workers' advice and have Daddy do the dropoff while Mama does the pickup. It is tremendously unfair, but everyone's experience has taught them that mamas should NEVER do the dropoff. Mamas get howling. Daddies get "Okay, Daddy. Bye-bye!" On Thursday, Dusty and I tried a joint dropoff so Dusty could learn the routine. No crying. Hunh. On Friday, Dusty dropped her off by himself. No crying. Eureka!
Now, the problem with exclusive Daddy Dropoff is that we only have one car. Dusty usually rides his bike to work, so he would have to walk home if I pick up Diana or leave the office with me at 5:00 PM every day. My guy is the most popular guy at school. His design team already has to fight for meetings and reviews with him, and that's when he stays until 7:00 PM. That's why we are alternating pickups and dropoffs. Dusty can then ride his bike at least one way between home and work.
So this morning, after the dropoff routine, I gave Diana a big kiss and reassured her I would see her later. She grabbed a handful of Cheerios and shoved them gleefully in my face. Good sharing, baby. Okay, Mama has to leave for work. Aaand cue The Wailing... NOW! Hunh. No wailing... yet.
Mama takes a few steps toward the door and turns around to wave. Bye, baby! Mama loves you. Have a good day at school! Aaand... Wailing! Hello? Wailing? No wailing? Not even a little? Fine! Go ahead and grow up! See if I care.
In other news, being back at work has been pretty awesome. I picked the right time to return to BioWare and Mass Effect 2, as ME2 KICKED ASS at E3, a major game developers' conference. I've spent most of last week and today catching up on the story, characters, and gameplay through review meetings and documentation. HOLY NAMELESS ASARI GODDESSES OUR GAME RULES! I never thought I'd say this, but I'm actually excited to work on the manuals because it means I will get to play the game. I may be singing a different tune when it takes me a whole day to play through a 30-minute level, but right now, I am totally psyched. Plug up your ears, third floor. There WILL be screaming.
"Everything is Good for You" by Crowded House