The trouble with short hair is that it eventually gets long and untidy. The trouble with vanity is that it starts to bug you after 2.5 months, when your hairdo looks less carefree and vogue, and more careless and vague.

The trouble with being a SAHM of a newly-walking tot is that you can no longer hope to do your hair while she sweetly lies in her pram asleep, or thoughtfully munch on baby biscuits while watching MTV Classics for the entire duration of your revamp.

Thus started my serious look into ad hoc babysitting options.

I was initially going to foist my daughter on the Family Kirkpatrick but after an unforeseen late nap which destroyed my carefully strategised afternoon, that plan had to change in a tremendous hurry. Enter Mommy Lisa, who lives up the road from me and whose daughter has been a constant companion and friend to Arddun. Lisa, emboldened by her husband’s day off today and not having seen Arddun crack an absolute fit yet, volunteered to watch Arddun as I dashed into town for my haircut.

I was so grateful, but also apprehensive because

  • I would be cutting it real close to Arddun’s bedtime by the time of my return.
  • I’ve never left her with non-family before, and didn’t know how she would take it.
  • She hadn’t napped much the whole day, which meant she would either bounce off the walls, or sit quietly like a happy drunk.
  • I didn’t want to unwittingly hand over a baby that would unexpectedly
    • produce a lethal diaper
    • projectile-vomit, and/or
    • regress to that crazy period when she’d cry non-stop from 4pm till 1am.

Slightly irrational and over-imaginative? Perhaps. But it’s one thing to cart your baby off to childcare or the parents’ place. It’s quite something else to hand a child over to friends, only for that child to not cope when you’re gone.

But brought her over, I did. And then I scuttled away when Arddun got distracted by Charlie’s impressive toy stash. And even though I knew she was in terrific and experienced hands, and even though I knew this was a good exercise – both for me and Arddun – my heart felt rather funny.

As usual, I got stopped at every traffic light, and my hairdresser was especially chatty and artistic tonight. I’m partly convinced that he spent about 45 minutes trying to even up my hair on both sides – and quietly failing. Which meant I got out a half hour later than expected, looking like a button mushroom had landed on my shoulders.

As usual, I caught every red light on the drive back. And got stuck behind a lady driving 60 in an 80 zone. And a 4WD driving 50 in a 70 zone. And missed the turn to Lisa’s place. Which meant that by the time I pulled up their driveway, I was about ready to pole-vault their back fence, just so that I could get into their house ASAP and hug my child.

Turns out Arddun was fine. She didn’t projectile vomit. She didn’t release a stealth bomb in her pants. She finished her dinner without drama and she didn’t maim her friend. There was apparently a moment when she got over-enthusiastic and knocked Charlie over, but both girls literally kissed and made up. She also ran laps around their kitchen island, and apparently gave Lisa lots and lots of cuddles towards the end of the evening.

But then she saw me, and smiled. And lunged for me, as if to say, “I really enjoyed myself, but I missed you.” And then kissed me repeatedly on both cheeks like an Italian mobster at a wedding.

And it was a small milestone for both of us, but a necessary one. I knew we’d survive it. But it was surprisingly harder than I thought it’d be, emotionally. I guess that’s what happens when we’ve been each other’s company for a week shy of a full year, huh.

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