2nd July 2012 , Posted by Yi Lin
I had previously blogged about our experience of temporarily coping without our helper when she went home for a week in ‘A Week Without Help‘.
Two weekends ago, we experienced the opposite: a weekend without the baby!
My parents-in-law had offered to take on Coco from Friday to Sunday. This isn’t the first time that Coco has stayed with them for days at a stretch. However, it isn’t a regular arrangement as my mother-in-law is still working full time and Coco is becoming quite a handful for my father-in-law to manage on his own. So Coco only stays with them occasionally when my MIL has the opportunity to take leave from work (and when Coco’s slightly possessive mother is willing to let the baby separate from her hip.)
Prior to weaning, I wasn’t very keen to have Coco stay apart from us because that required me to express more frequently in order to provide a sufficient stock of breast milk to see her through the entire duration of her stay.
I admit that the reluctance to hand my baby over to the in-laws was also due to the fact that I had started working again and didn’t get to see her much during the work week. I jealously guarded my time with Coco on weekday evenings and weekends, and would rather sacrifice rest time or couple time in order to be with her, than to hand her over to other people again.
However, now that Coco is no longer dependent on breast milk for sustenance, we have flexibility to plan for more ‘staycations’ with her paternal grandparents for her. I have since learned how to let go and allow Dan’s family to care for her in their own way, without interrogating my MIL on what time and how much Coco ate, drank, slept, pooped or had her last diaper change. The only rule that we ask that they strictly abide by is not to allow the use of mobile phones and iPads during meal times and while travelling in the car.
I have also come to realise that it is not only necessary, but also healthier, for Dan and I to take mini breaks from parenting and to reconnect with each other as husband and wife. Sure, spending a good part of the week at work may take me away from my baby. But it also takes me away from my husband — and he is just as deserving as she is of love and attention outside of office hours.
While Dan and I do occasionally pop out for a movie date or dinner with friends without Coco in tow, I always feel guilty about leaving Coco at home with my parents, who also work full time and already chip in to take care of her on a daily basis.
With my in-laws, since Coco only sees them once a week for dinner on Sundays, leaving her with them for a few days at a stretch seems different. I try to convince myself that it’s a special staycation for her to bond with her paternal grandparents and vice versa, and it’s a better arrangement than palming her off to my parents again!
So last Friday, with Coco at my in-laws’, Dan and I headed down to the Marina Bay Sands to catch a ‘live’ performance of songs by Queen! We had a great time catching up with our friends over dinner, without having to tend to a fidgety baby in her high chair. Instead of rushing home to put a tired baby to bed, we took a leisurely walk along the Marina Bay waterfront to our parked car. We enjoyed a quiet ride home, just listening to music and chatting, instead of hushing and coaxing a cranky baby to remain belted up in her car seat.
We stayed up late on Friday night, knowing that our sleep would not be interrupted by a waking baby. We slept in till 11am on Saturday because there were no little hands to rudely rouse us by smacking us on the head to read Brown Bear or lift 1,001 flaps to look for Maisy’s panda or Maisy’s friends or Maisy herself at 7am.
We could read the newspapers, while the information therein was still news. We spent the afternoon shopping and enjoyed a relaxing facial, before collecting Coco from the in-laws’ (all fed, bathed and dressed too!) for dinner with friends, before returning her to them for the night.
We hobnobbed at the grand opening of a friend’s new restaurants at the Gardens By The Bay on Sunday morning:
This was followed closely by an invigorating (read: painful) 2-hour massage and an indulgent 2-hour nap.
Come dinner time, we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed over to the in-laws’ and relaxed while my MIL bathed and dressed Coco, so that we could bring her home all nice and clean and ready for bed.
It was a glorious weekend indeed.
More importantly, Dan and I reconnected as a couple. Not just as Coco’s mother and father. But as husband and wife. We talked about blogging and discussed comments received from readers. We reflected upon our past ten months as parents, things that we have learned since embarking on this journey, and how we – and our views on certain aspects of parenting – have changed.
All too soon, it was Monday morning once again and I found myself back up on my feet at 7.30am on a work day, bopping energetically (as much as I could) to “The Wheels On The Bus” *groan* But having recharged over that relaxing weekend and missing my baby dearly, I really was not complaining!