Monday, July 26, 2004


Tomorrow's the day my life will change.

Tomorrow I re-enter the workforce, so to speak. I renew my effort to freelance full-time.

Tomorrow, Helena enters "daycare," as I've chosen to think about it. Though she is on waiting lists for many of the centres in the area, no one has called yet to offer her a space. But my mother-in-law is available.

So three days a week, I'll be glued to my desk, long workdays. I'll squeeze in a few more hours here and there, as I have over the last few months, during the other four days. We even pay a token fee for the child care. That's the plan anyway.

It'll take a couple weeks to work out the bugs in this arrangement — the logistics, the timing and the driving, on top of regaining the discipline of working from home in a serious kind of way and catching up to the schedule for the books I've already agreed to edit, while grappling with the sheer emotional and gut-wrenching experience of being separated from my daughter. How hard can it be?

This isn't a sudden decision — we've been giving this some thought for months. But already there are wrenches thrown into our plans. For example, the proposition that Helena stay the night. Somehow, it feels wrong, dreadfully wrong, that on top of devoting hours of my energies to paying work instead of to doting on my little one she should make her bed elsewhere. Like I'm deserting her.

Sigh. We'll figure it out. It's not like I'm the first mother ever to go back to work.

Helena's been doing weird and remarkable things. Like crafting "hats" for the plastic ducks at the wading pool out of various toy flotsam. "Apo!" (Chapeau.) Like having tea with her teddybears. Like growling back at the neighbour's dog (through the apartment door). Like filling her watering can with tiny Fisher Price people (the primitive kind I played with 30 years ago) — it's raining men.

And the dancing!

She must have about a hundred words that I can make out, though there's an awful lot of gibberish she seems really confident about. The only "sentences" she's uttered are "Papa gone," and "Papa come," though she doesn't always use them appropriately (as far as I can tell).

Mostly I'm going to miss Helena's bug watch. We have ants. Not too many, but enough to make me think, "Eeeww." The first time I squashed and disposed of one I even made sure Helena was otherwise occupied — I didn't think it wise to be drawing her attention to something which may intrigue her to the point she do something with them other than squash and dispose of them. She must've seen something. Now she points her little finger, tracking them, and very clearly articulates, "Bug."

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