Conley and I are very close.
I shocked everyone when I announced that I wanted to stay home with her. I had a great job that I liked, and even loved some days. I traveled to fun places, I stayed in fancy hotels, and I had just made Assistant Vice President. Furthermore, I brought home 40-45% of our annual income so we did not consider staying home an option.
We had an optimal day care situation as Conley's day care was on the same floor as my office. It was a great day care - as it should have been considering it cost more than our mortgage. I had visited the daycare often during my pregnancy. We shared a restroom with the daycare employees and I often chatted them up - to get to know them and to make sure they washed their hands in an acceptable manner. I was comfortable with them.
About a month before I was planning on going back to work, my mother-in-law, Mary, came for a visit. I scheduled a tour of the daycare for her as I knew that she was worried about her grandchild going to daycare. She had been a stay-at-home mom and my sister-in-law stayed at home with her other grandchild. It was the first time that I had taken Conley in.
We were shown the safety precautions that were implemented, we were shown the different rooms, and then we were shown the cubbies - the personalized cubbies. These personalized cubbies wrung out my heart. I am normally very pro-cubby, and I am damn-sure pro-personalization. I have to keep myself from buying monogrammed toilet paper. However, thinking about my two month old's stuff all labeled up in that cubby almost brought me to my knees.
Mary and I had not looked at each other for the longest time. There was unspoken agreement between us to keep staring straight ahead because we both knew that would burst into an ugly cry if we made even the slightest of eye contact. I was pretty much in a daze. It was an out of body experience by this point.
I was snapped out of the daze when the manager of the daycare introduced us to the woman that would be Conley's primary care giver, her PCG, as they called it. PCG seemed like a fine lady, no-nonsense with a soft edge. However, when the manager said to me, Conley has spent the last two months bonding with you, and now she will be bonding Ms. PCG.
I shook my head, at first slowly, like that of a person that has just received devastating news, and then more rapidly, like a prize fighter that has just gotten the shit knocked out of him, but it has made him more angry and determined than hurt. Ring that bell. Ding-ding.
Did this woman just say to me that my daughter would now be bonding with Ms. PCG? My daughter, the one that it took me, someone that things have always came easily to, a year to get pregnant with would now be bonding with Ms. PCG? My daughter, the one I carried for nine months, and stopped drinking wine and coffee, and threw up every day for would now be bonding with Ms. PCG? My daughter, the one that I fed from my body and the one that I often just sat up looking at adoringly, would now be bonding with Ms. PCG?
I'll be good and goddamned if she would.
I went from all Sophia Loren eye cutting Jayne Mansfield's breasts,
to Whitney Houston all hell to the no'ing Bobby,
Bitch, hell to the no!
to straight honey badger in the matter of seconds!
Bitch, the honey badger don't give a shit!
This was not going to happen.
I had to get out of there, get some air! Mary and I left - quickly. We still didn't make eye contact. We had two cars because she had just met me on her way in from West Virginia. I was glad. I needed to do some crying, some really undignified crying.
Mary and I took a long walk on the greenway and I told her that I couldn't go back. I couldn't leave this magical little person that made my sky bluer. I had to figure out a way. She assured me I would.
I crunched the numbers, and re-crunched the numbers, and re-crunched them again. Whoa! It was going to be tight. At first very tight, but we could do it. I then pumped because I needed to have a drink before I informed Tony of this.
After he got over his initial shock and regained his color, he said, I would love for you to stay home, but you are the one that has been saying it can't be done. Also, are you sure you will be happy staying home?
I assured him that it could be done if we were both willing to make some sacrifices. I also told him that while I did like my job, and it had offered up some extremely cool perks, that if we strip everything down that I am basically just cleaning up messes and wiping asses either way. And, that I'd much rather it be Conley's messes and most definitely prefer it to be her ass.
It was nerve-wracking at first. We had a strict budget and pretty much wouldn't buy so much as an extra pack of gum if it wasn't in the budget. We had some fights. However, it worked out, and we still can't figure out what in holy hell we were spending so much money on before we had Conley. Well, we act like it is a mystery, but we know. Booze.
Staying home was the best decision I have ever made. I know that it is an extremely individualized and personal opinion, and I understand that some people are not in a situation to stay home even if that is what they prefer. I am thankful that I am, but I've got mad respect for working moms and for stay-at-home moms, alike.
Conley and I spend the vast majority of our time together. We have only spent five nights apart since she has been born. Now, this isn't to say that I don't enjoy a nice break from her, and she from me. We go to the Y almost everyday to provide this break for both of us.
We were off to the Y today, but first we had to swing into my gynecologist's office for my annual exam. I would have preferred to not take Conley along with me, but it was just easier to take her than to arrange care for her.
We were running late because as were getting ready to leave Conley spilled the remnants all of her Cheerios and milk on the carpet. We zipped in to the waiting area acting as if I would be seen at my actual appointment time. After filling out the new year, new paperwork stack of forms we took a seat in the back of the waiting room. Most of the patrons in a gynecologist office are either moms or moms-to-be so you don't get too many, I wish you and that miniature person would burst into a ball of flames, looks (I don't hate, I used to give these looks).
I had brought the iPad, some books, some writing materials. This was not my first rodeo. Conley was doing well. She was telling me some long, intricate story - loudly. However, that is just her natural voice. She gets her natural voice, naturally. Tony says that he doesn't know why Meredith and I bother with phones as we could easily holler between Charlotte and Orlando.
It's not long until another woman and her daughter come in, and they too beeline to the back area. The mom offers her child a piece of gum. Naturally, Conley starts digging in my purse, and asking for gum. I have never given Conley gum because I know that she will just swallow it, and I usually don't keep gum because I too have a bad habit of swallowing it. The mom asks if it is okay for her to have a piece, and although I wasn't keen on the idea I didn't want to sound all judgey about a piece of Trident. Conley chewed the gum for about 3 seconds and then I heard her gulp. Like mother, like daughter.
Conley showed the daughter a coloring app on the iPad and they played nicely together. The little girl had on a cat sweatshirt, a fancy velvet skirt, some pink leggings, and sneakers - on the wrong feet. Conley and I liked her style. Conley kept commenting on the cat on her new friend's sweatshirt and her mom felt the need to qualify that she had dressed herself. I assured her that there was no need to explain as Conley had spent the majority of yesterday in her hot-pink, jingly Zumba skirt and her personalized super hero cape (told you I loved some personalization).
The mom and I chatted. She was visibly pregnant. She was pretty and stylish without trying too hard. She had on a pair of well worn Wallabee's and purple striped socks. I liked her. She was a stay-at-home mom, as well. They had just joined the Y and often went to the same branch that we do.
She said that her husband had just got done with seminary. Crap. There goes the imaginary friendship I had already started building for us. Quirky socks or not, someone married to a man with a degree in the big J.C. would probably not want to hang out with heathens like us. Oh well, it was good being imaginary friends with them if only for a while.
We were called back by the nurse. A new nurse. Ugh, change. I liked the old nurse.
First stop, the dreaded scale. Naturally, Conley hops on before me, her weight pops up and the nurse nicely says, oh wow, look what a big girl you are! Conley smiles and jumps down.
My weight pops up. The nurse writes it down and then says, oh wow, look what a big girl mom is!
It was good natured and she seemed to have a fun personality so I decided to let it go. We go into the exam room, do the normal stuff, then the talk turns to Conley.
Nurse asks, how old is she? Three?
No, two and a half. She'll be three in June.
Wow, she is tall!
Yes, I know. We have no idea where she got that, my husband nor I are particularly tall.
Haha! Are you sure he is the dad?
My doctor comes in. I like her and am pretty sure that she is not going to question my daughter's DNA. She is nice, and smart, and efficient. Most importantly she is calm. And, she always wears Crocs with white socks. It is endearing.
We chat. She chats with Conley whom has become completely fascinated with the light at the end of the bed. She employs Conley as her intern as she checks my heart and lungs. When it is time for my exam, she instructs Dr. Conley to hold mama's hand because she thinks I may be scared. Conley hangs on every word, does just as she says. I am hanging out in the stir ups plotting how to kidnap her toddler whispering self and make her live with us full time.
She is not the type that finds it necessary to chat incessantly when she is down there. She isn't stone cold silent, but she also isn't rattling on about the latest episode of Toddlers and Tiaras.
Therefore, I was thrown a little off when she asked me if I had been riding a bike lately. My first instinct was to go for the joke and tell her, yes, but not to worry, I lost my hymen a long time ago. Fortunately, I resisted. And, said, yes, I've been doing a lot of spin classes. She said, yeah, I see the saddle abrasions. Ohhh, yes, those.
Considering that she is efficient, she was done quickly. Lickety split. All I had to do was get dressed and Conley and I were off to the Y. She was entertaining herself with the spinning stool.
When I bent down to put my shoes on my eyes glanced to the counter. The pap smear kit was sitting there waiting on the nurse to collect it. My brain registered that something was amiss and it was at this moment that I glanced at Conley. She had grabbed the swab stick.
In her defense, it does look a lot like a paint brush.
I could see where that could be confused for
I jumped across the room as I did some slow motion screaming. I managed to knock the trajectory off. It did not go in her mouth, but it grazed her check. Oh, for the love of all things holy!
I didn't even take time to explain. I just set the swap stick back in the little hole, grabbed Sani-Wipes and Purell from my purse and wiped her down.
It was at this point that the panic set in. I am sure that even with the slightest graze against Conley's cheek the swab had to pick up some Cheerio dust or remnants of the lip gloss I had let her apply in the car. I certainly did not want to have to endure another pap smear. However, then I thought what if they send this off and think that I have some exotic disease or that I have been smuggling Cheerios and lip gloss in my va-jay!
This is what I pictured happening when my results came in:
Therefore, I decided to tell the nurse what happened. Well, kinda. I told her that Conley may or may not have gingerly touched the swab stick to her cheek for a nano-second.
She looked at and said, Nah, I think it will be fine. How she ascertained this from a quick glance I'll never know. However, I didn't ask any questions. I just got the eff out of Dodge.
I just hope that when the people in the hazmat suits come, they remember to bring one in a 3T size because Conley will be right here with me.
We are very close.