February 22nd 2010 was therefore set as my return to work date. On Friday the 19th, I was informed Monday was an inset day (which I don't have to work). Unfortunately, I'd already booked J-cub into nursery, and would have to pay whether he went or not. Part of my job involves working at the home of the child I support, so I elected to do that on the Monday, to gently ease me back in. And ease me back in it did. I had a lovely day, sorting out all the paperwork from the last year, familiarising myself with where we're at, and planning our way forwards. The day flew by, and before I knew it, it was time to pick J-cub up from nursery.
He hadn't had a good day. He'd refused all his milk, and food, and slept for just under an hour (rather than the 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon to which he is accustomed). He cried when I walked in, a "Whyyyyyy?" wailing type of cry. It broke my heart.
On Monday night, he started coughing like crazy, waking himself up repeatedly and making himself retch so that he threw up his night-time milk everywhere. Poor Jamie hadn't got to bed until 2am, and was up with him again at 5am. His back was killing him, so I took over at 5.30am, and sent him back to bed. When he got up, he said he had little chance at coping at work on 3 hours of sleep, so he might as well stay home and look after J-cub, as my work wouldn't be very impressed if I called in for dependency leave on my first full day back.
So off I trotted to school, to try and cope on around 5 hours of sleep. And oh, I had forgotten the noise. All those children screaming with delight at seeing me (which was quite nice), and bombarding me with questions, and telling me all about every second of the last year that I had missed ("And then, Miss, ANOTHER tooth fell out! And I got a TV for Christmas!"). A mum accosted me at the end of the day, to say that she'd been concerned all half-term when her daughter kept asking "Mum, how many days until we go back to school?". She eventually asked her why she wanted to know, and was told "Because Beth is coming back!". Bless. (The child in question went on to tell me that I looked "much older than you did last time I saw you, your hair's more grey around there, but you're not fatter!". Well that's a relief).
Tuesday is my short day, so I was home by 4pm. I was exhausted.
On Wednesdays, J-cub stays home with his Daddy, who went part-time after J-cub was born, to stop me going entirely mental. So I didn't have him to worry about all day, and just concentrated on trying to keep going on my longest day, working from 8.45am-6.30pm. And I did, just.
Jamie took the boy to the GPs in the afternoon, as his cough was worse. She said it's just a virus, and to keep on with the fluids and the Calpol. After several months of a good-during-the-night baby, it's very hard to go back into getting up every hour or so to rock him back to sleep.
When I got home, I had about 20 minutes of play and cuddle time with him, before he needed to go to bed. Again, after a year of spending no more than a few hours apart during his nap times, it is excruciating being away from him for 9 hours one day, 7 the next, and a whopping 10 and a half the next day. On Thursday, I barely put him down all day; I just wanted to cuddle him, and kiss him, and hold him and feel him breathing all day long.