My little girls have spent a lot of time with their daddy. While my husband was working from home he took my little girl to mommy-and-me classes. He took her to parks. They went to playdates with my friends. He also spent quality time with the big girl. He got her up and out every morning since she and I clash when we’re tired. (I handled the lunches since I usually work very late so my husband would let me sleep in.) Every day his BlackBerry alarm sounded at 3:27 to remind him to take her off the bus. This week, though, something changed. My husband started consulting in the city. I was worried my kids would freak out. They didn’t. And they did.
Little girl loves, loves, loves (sorry, Chris) being with Mommy more often. Loves it. She’s like a different child. Where she was wild and crazy with Chris, she’s quiet and thoughtful with me. This morning we woke up, ate a leisurely breakfast and then did “school.” We talked about our colors. For once, she identified them all — no joking around. (She’s been pretending not to know them telling us purple for everything. We were actually worried she was colorblind.) Then she started with her letters. She wanted to write them. I’ll be darned if she didn’t actually write some of them. We got dressed. We went to Gymboree. We came home and had lunch. She went right down for her nap. When she woke up (the sitter was downstairs with Big Girl) I realized she had stripped naked. She was shivering, poor thing. I picked her up, cradled her in my arms wrapped in a blanket and we rocked in the chair. She snuggled deeper in my lap and sighed. She actually sighed.
Meanwhile, Big Girl got up with me this morning. She got dressed. She ate a good breakfast. There was minimal screaming when I finger-combed her hair and put her sunscreen on. We were waiting for the bus when it came. The day passed quickly — what with me squeezing six hours of work into four hours. I was putting recycling to the curb when she got home. We chatted as she ate her strawberries, cheese and crackers. She showed me the big scrape she got in gym class. She started doing her homework.
After the sitter left I put them both into a tub while dinner was cooking. That’s where my husband found us: the girls seated in the tub; me seated on the tub with my capris rolled up and my feet in the water. He couldn’t wait to see them and talk to them. My big girl was amenable. The baby started losing her mind. “Mommy, hug you, Mommy,” she said. (Her shorthand for “pick me up NOW.”) And after I left to go to the gym it got so bad that Chris had to put her to bed. My big girl is acting out in other ways. She freaked out in the afternoon as we practiced starting her bike from a standing position. I’d say it wasn’t unexpected, but the fact that she got so upset that she threw herself on the curb facedown crying is definitely not like her. And she’s started saying things like the babysitter likes her sister more and how unfair it is that the baby got to spend time with my mother-in-law on Tuesday.
I spoke to someone today who told me that both girls are acting out right now because of the change. They need to make sure their needs will still be met. They’re not sure how Daddy working in the city will affect our family unit. Heck, I’m not sure, either, so I am going to be really careful to reassure them both that they are loved and that they can count on us — work or not.