Revenge of the Abandoned Toddler!


abandoned totEvery time the wife and I leave the tot with a sitter, we pay for it. And what do they say about payback? It stinks.

Though we assure our son that we’ll be back, and that we never have or ever would disappear on him which of course is a lie, as we could die tragically, but then, isn’t saying “see you soon” always a bit of lie? An assumption that you’re impervious, that your continued existence is assured? But he doesn’t know that yet, and despite our kindest, most loving promises, Felix works himself into a frenzy when we go out on a date.

He did so even as an infant, when sweet friends would volunteer to watch him for a few hours while we went out childless friends who imagined, I think, a lovely baby bonding experience. Once Felix realized we weren’t on the premises, he’d wail and cry himself red in the face until we returned. “He didn’t cry the entire time you were out…” one frazzled sitter told us. “Just most of it.”

These days, Felix holds it together till the sitter comes, and then rattles off excuses for why we need to stay with him, or complaints about how the sitter doesn’t put him to bed properly, until finally he just breaks down, sniveling about how he loves us and is going to miss us. And we never leave him with strangers, these are sitters that he knows, trusts, and loves.

Ok, so that’s a minor upset to deal with, a mini-trauma on the way out the door. Felix recovers after we’re gone, and once my wife and I stroll out of earshot we enjoy ourselves. The bigger problem is that it carries over, throwing his whole night off. Sometimes he wakes up in the wee hours, wondering if we’re home and what happened to the sitter? If he makes it through till sunrise like he did last night, when date night meant seeing a dance performance he wakes up very early, and with a manic energy. Either way, it’s a bit of a downer knowing that, no matter how much fun my wife and I have on our own or how late we stay out, we’ll have to drag ourselves up early to be extra-cheery and ever patient the next morning.

I tell ya, the life of the parent, eh? It can be a bummer, that feeling like your independent life is under siege by a demanding tot. Still, my wife and I try to go out at least once a month, if not more. Eventually he’ll get that Mommy and Daddy need to have time to themselves, having dinner, seeing a movie, meeting up with friends; it’s healthy! And doesn’t mean that we don’t love him, or won’t come back.

If only he’d get the memo sooner.

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