I felt angry at my husband this morning as he stayed in bed until the last possible moment. I understand the temptation, but I need to get ready for work and G. needs attention and breakfast. I shouldn't have to nag him, like the mother of a teenager, to please get out of bed.
Once it gets cold outside, I don't want to leave and I envy him for being able to stay home. In some ways it's harder to leave G. to go to work now than it was when she was a baby. My homecoming at the end of the day isn't always met by her running into my arms. Sometimes she has to be coaxed to come to me, either because she's in the middle of something or she's at the point in the day where she's not going to do anything anyone else wants without coercion. When she finally does and we can relax into a giant hug, I feel like I'm really home.
The evenings are hard because she's already tired, we're all hungry, and she peppers me with all the things she'd like us to do together while I try to pull together a quick, but somewhat nutritious dinner. I almost just wrote that I, too, would like to play this, that, or the other thing, but I really just want to eat dinner, get her into her jammies, snuggle her, read stories to her, and then have a little time to relax before my own bedtime.
I also know that it's no picnic being home all day, either. We love her irrevocably, insatiably, insanely. But every day is a test we must do our best not to fail.
The test is sometimes oral/verbal in nature: "Mama, can I have a marshmallow for breakfast," says the little blond cherub in the Hello Kitty pajamas, while smiling lovingly at you. The right answer is, of course, you cannot have a marshmallow for breakfast. Marshmallows can make for a delicious snack, and you can have one later today, but we need to eat healthier things for breakfast.
Sometimes the test is physical: When G. doesn't like something we tell her to do (or not do), especially at the end of the day when she's tired, she will make a grunting noise (oh, so everlastingly charming, this) and kick, slap, or even punch me. This is usually like being kicked by a tiny puppy and doesn't hurt, but obviously can't be tolerated. I usually try to move away from her if I see this coming, telling her that there will be time out if she does this. But almost every evening I end up putting her in one or more time outs while I'm trying to make dinner. It's very frustrating. Sometimes if she has eaten already, I just forgo my own dinner until I have her in bed so I can give her the one-on-one attention she craves, but I'm not quite as loving as I could be if my blood sugar wasn't low.
And yet, and yet. . . she just turned three and half. Two years from now she will be in her third month of kindergarten and she will spend more of her day with people we scarcely know than with us. As we try to navigate the parenting tests of this age, we must make sure we are taking pictures, doing fun things together as a family, and making memories.
This morning we went into the bathroom, which has a window that looks out onto the back yard. I lifted her up to show her that there was a dusting of snow on the ground. She got so excited. "After we go to the bathroom, I'm going to put on my hat and mittens and coat and go out in the snow! Where are my boots?"
Oops, didn't pass the materiels management test question of the day -- I need to get her new boots, asap!