Monday, June 22, 2009

"daddy getting angry"

This weekend I had the girls for 2 nights while M was off at her old college, planning for a reunion. It was a good father-daughter time, and it was a hell of a time, and I learned just how lousy a parent I would be if I was doing this without M.

Both girls slept poorly, by which I mean K woke up between 5 and 5.30 Saturday and Sunday mornings and came to join L and me (L in our bed isn't news any more, and since M was away, there was room enough for both of us, so I don't count that as "sleeping poorly"). Came to join L and me and wake up L and me.

So we started every day early. Quite early.
And had this conversation roughly 20 or 30 times a day:

K: "What (insert name of relative/neighbor/random zoo animal) doing?"
me: "Sleeping."
K: "Why sleeping?"
me: "Because for the rest of the world, it's still night time."

We made it through Saturday w/o too many problems, though K had a string of timeouts in the afternoon centered around hitting L with her doll ("Sammy" -- "Sammy boy daddy." "I know." "Why Sammy boy?" "Um... because you told me he was?"), pushing L, stealing toys from L.... the usual I suppose.

Sunday was a little harder, probably due to an accumulation of lost sleep (my lost sleep. I'm pretty sure K wakes up at this time every morning). So I was starting to get touchy. And when the dog nipped my hand while I gave her a treat for coming to let me know she'd pooped, and L was screaming in her highchair and K wanted to come outside to help me pick up after the dog, I said firmly, "You stay inside."

K: "K want to go out..."
me: "You stay inside!"
K: "Daddy, K want..."
me: "Stay inside!!"

And she did. And I stomped around the yard picking up the dog's poop and wondering how M manages every day like this. Then I went back inside and thanked K for staying in (she was standing with her face pressed against the glass of the kitchen door, unhappily obedient) and explained that I was frustrated because the dog had nipped me and L was crying and and and....

K: "Why nip you?"
me: "She wanted her treat and I wasn't being careful."
K: "Why not being careful?"

And so it went.

Thankfully M caught an earlier flight home and got there in time for all of us to swarm around her in grateful mobs and even in time for us to do a family dinner out at our local pub-grub joint.

I have to say, I have a new-found respect for everything M does to make it through each day. And I realize why it's not efficient for solitary, morose dads to be the primary care-givers. The children wouldn't survive.

After M got home, I heard K talking to her. M asked how the weekend was, and K said "Daddy getting angry." I sat on the couch in the other room, wondering what, exactly, she was thinking about when she remembered me "getting angry." I can only hope it's a small stone in the passageways of her life. I'll work the knife out of my heart over time, or at least learn to ignore the pain.

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