I'm starting to get nervous, and tip-off is still days away.
For the first time, we are leaving Eleanor for an evening out on the town. Our Alma Mater, the University of Dayton, is playing the University of Akron in Akron, and we have tickets. This means we'll be gone around 5 hours, between driving and the game itself.
I never intended to be the kind of parent who won't leave her child with a babysitter. But, well, you can't plan on the child. And, for her first 4 months, Eleanor refused to take a bottle. So that made the decision for us.
We've snuck out of the house a few times before. When Keith's parents visit, they send us out for coffee or a quick meal. My Mom has watched Eleanor one afternoon while I went into the office for a meeting. And we even went to a friend's wedding in October—we just skipped the ceremony, showed up at the reception in time for the meal, and left before the dancing really got started.
But every time I've been gone, I've felt the clock ticking. And I knew if I didn't get back within 2-4 hours at the most, there would be a hungry baby meltdown. Which is much more ferocious and scary than it sounds. As time passed, I could feel myself winding tighter and tighter as I worried about what was going on at home. I couldn't truly relax and enjoy it.
A few weeks ago, that started to change. I don't know if the 20th bottle we tried was the charm, or if she had just decided a bottle wasn't all that repulsive. But she started to show a little interest in it. We've been working on it since then, and I'm completely confident that Eleanor is fully capable of taking a bottle.
Will she choose to take it? Well, that's a different question entirely. My parents have graciously offered to be the experimental babysitters, and suffer Eleanor's wrath if she chooses to refuse sustenance. They have seen and lived through her hungry frustration before, so I have every confidence that they can handle the situation. Between the rocking, bouncing, singing, shh-ing, and more, they could soothe their way out of World War III, if necessary.
So I'm really looking forward to this basketball game. I know that Eleanor will be lovingly cared for, and is completely capable of being fed and happy when we get home. I no longer worry that I'm abandoning her and scarring her because she's going hungry while I sip my latte. So we just might have to stop for a leisurely latte on the way home.