I am talking about leaving Baby L in the church nursery, a decision that Hubbs and I have been going back and forth on for some time. Mommy and Daddy have their own separation anxieties to deal with, apparently ;)
Anyway, our normal routine at church would be to sit in the service with Baby L until she starts fussing or making too much noise, at which point one of us (usually me) will take her out to feed or calm down.
Well, on Sunday when she began fussing, I did just that. And outside of the "sanctuary" (which, in our case, is a theatre), I tried to visit with some friends in the lobby, feed her, and walk around with her. However, Baby L just kept planking in my arms, energy levels on high and not really wanting to be held. I suspect I was cramping her style, but I couldn't just put her down on random dirty floor so that she could crawl around! So fussing it was, and for a good long while too.
Until my arms got tired, which happens after a while of trying to restrain an active baby. In an attempt to distract, I brought her over to the nursery to just look at the other kids playing in there. She got excited. One of the nursery volunteers asked me if I wanted to drop her off, and I explained my anxieties about leaving her and having her melt down. She offered to take Baby L for a scant 5 minutes, and would give me a buzzer so that if my girl had a tantrum during those 5 minutes, I would be notified to come immediately.
As I contemplated this offer (which sounded very appealing to my tired arms), Baby L began reaching her arms toward the nursery worker to take her in. To me, that was a sign. So I handed her off, took the buzzer, and headed back inside to let Hubbs know. I wasn't going to stay inside the theatre, but near the nursery just out of view (but within hearing distance) in the event of a nuclear meltdown.
The meltdown never came. In fact, when Hubbs went to retrieve Baby L after service, she was sitting there on her own, playing with (and gnawing on) toys around her. The nursery volunteer told us that Baby L had been on her best behaviour, and sat so adorably with her legs folded in a diamond shape, just playing around and crawling to explore the area.
So, experiment success! Afterwards, Hubbs and I decided that on Sundays, we would read Baby L's cues to see if she was in a good or a bad mood, well-rested or tired, hungry or fed, and hyper or sedate. In the event that she was in a good mood, well-rested, fed, and hyper, we would drop her off in the nursery for just 10 minutes, and the next time 15, and the next time 20... until she could handle it on her own. Each time we drop her off, one of us will stay within hearing distance until she has transitioned into nursery life.
Good plan, eh? I'm looking forward to being able to enjoy a full service again. And my baby girl...she's growing up! :)