"KYE!" My daughter was yelling at me yesterday, pointing upwards. I looked at my husband, not understanding.
"Yes, My Love, SKY!" he said. It was another word in her repertoire, one that I hadn't inspired.
Last weekend, when I put on her shoes I thought she was babbling. And then I realized what she was saying,
"BUT … BUT …"
She wanted me to put on her boots.
"Don't let her wear those socks," Jesse said, as I was putting a lavender pair on her little feet. "She can't walk around in those."
"It's not a biggie," I said, putting them on and then watching Liv slip and slide on the wooden floors.
Months into coming back to work I started to notice the difference, the disconnect. I could no longer correctly guess my daughter's every need as she needed it. I could not figure out why she patted her stomach, or screeched in delight. Daddy knew how to make her laugh, while with my attempts she looked at me, not unamused but perhaps a bit confused. I watched her like a student, waiting for a teacher to explain to me what I was witnessing.
I catch myself saying things to my husband:
"Can I give her this?" I ask, holding a cup of juice. I know he has a system and doesn't want her to drink too much juice at bedtime. And then I ask myself, "Why am I asking for permission?"
"Think we can take off her sweater when she eats?"
"I think YOU can," Jesse says.
I know that when I come in the door it's my turn to be the parent. But sometimes I'm rusty, especially when I'm coming from a business trip. I put my stuff down (forgetting to zip up my purse--big mistake as its contents will inevitably be strewn across the floor once she gets to it). I want to talk about my day. Jesse wants to finish the game he'd started on his iPhone two hours before, when he last had a minute to kill.
I didn't finish an email before getting off the plane, so I open up the laptop. I just need 90 seconds to get it done.
"Are you going to be with her, or are you going to do email?" Jesse asks. He's making dinner.
"This is going to take just a minute." She comes for me with her arms out. The email is going to have to wait.
With a few moments of exception, I've learned to stop trying to fit in emails before dinner. My goal has become to put everything down and have my hands washed before she comes around the corner with her arms up. I love that she's made it difficult for me; before her no one had succeeded.
Today I'm squeezing in a blog post, a few emails, and some online shopping into her nap time. Jesse's just come back from his Saturday bike ride--one of two or three times he gets to himself during the week. He comes in the front door, avoiding the garage door, which can sometimes wake her when opened.
"What time did she go down?"
I tell him what time. And I know it's 30 minutes later than he suggested to avoid her becoming overtired.
"Bummer," he says, walking his bike through the kitchen.
I don't worry about it. She'll get used to these days with Mom. When naptimes are off, when a bottle is forgotten. She knows that I live for this time with her, however imperfect it may be.