Sophie keeps telling her baby-doll, “Your daddy will be home in half weeks.” It’s the most exciting thing that she can think of, especially now that her own daddy is home after his latest 8-week absence.
Now that her daddy is home, Sophie giggles even more. She chases him round the house and he dangles her above the bed. She convinces him to dance to her current favorite song — Hullabaloo’s “Hey Everybody” — and he shows her how the stereo volume can be turned up far beyond anything Momma ever revealed. Then he washes her hair, and Sophie, eager to reciprocate, stands in the tub next to him, carefully washing his hair, lovingly, generously, empathetically. They’re adorable together.
This means that I get more time to myself, finally, to catch up on months of postponed work. I also get to take a shower in the morning without having to first make sure that Sophie is fed & warm & comfortable & occupied with something relatively non-destructive — and without having to worry that, when I emerge from the shower, I will find Sophie has covered herself and the floor with metallic magic marker. It’s an incredible luxury to simply get to take a shower.
At work, people ask me, “Did you get your hair cut? Something looks different.” That is how much more relaxed I am, now that Ben is home.
It’s a huge relief having Ben home, but it’s also a challenge to reunite after a total of four months apart (two months last spring, two months this fall). Now, I go to ride my bike and find that Ben has removed my bike-wheels (he likes to tinker with every bike in the house, and apparently they were his bike-wheels). I go to sit in my car and find that Ben has moved my driver’s-seat and Sophie’s carseat too (he likes to borrow my car). I go to read in bed and find our bed full of clothes that he half-finished sorting. I have to adjust to living in a house that is messier. He has to start remembering to bring his half-eaten cereal bowls to the sink, instead of leaving them in every room. It’s a challenge for both of us to adjust back from independent living habits. I’m trying not to nag.
Instead, we finally tried the simple, common, pop-psych solution of date night. If it’s good enough for the Obamas, it’s good enough for us. And it was good: surprisingly relaxing to simply have dinner and a walk on the beach, just the two of us, giving each other our full attention, for once.
Sophie is blossoming, too. Now she likes to sing her versions of common songs: “Twinkle tinkle star, how wonder watch you are…” “Q R S, L-M-N-O-P, Next time won’t you sing with me.” She likes to wear her big-girl underpants with sparkles, and to try out every potty in every place we visit. (She still hasn’t mastered pooping in the potty, but she is a whiz at peeing.) She is so tall and skinny that no toddler pants fit her (2T is far too short in the legs, while 3T is far too baggy in the waist) — until Ben discovered that leggings look fabulous on her, as if they are pants. She can stay up later, now, too, so we can join other friends for dinner. Yesterday, she proudly helped our friend Christine carry bowls of strawberries and whipped-cream to everybody at the dinner-party. The day before yesterday, at our friend’s campfire, she stood by herself, playing air-guitar and singing, “Hey everybody, I say hey everybodies, the party starts right now.”