What’s New: Daddy’s Home
The daddy finally returned home on Friday night, hence my extended silence in this space. It has been so very good to have him back with us. He didn’t make it in until around 11pm, so both kids were already in bed. On Saturday morning, Annabelle woke up and started down the stairs, saying, “I don’t need to ask if daddy is home, because I know: he’s not home.” Most mornings prior, her first words each day had been, “Is daddy at home!?” She wasn’t sure whether she could believe me when I told her otherwise, so I sent her in our bedroom to check and the excited snuggles began. They still haven’t really stopped.
We were meant to get a snowstorm this week and, unfortunately, did not, but because Washington, D.C. is the worst during a snowstorm, schools and the federal government were closed. We canceled class in anticipation of the 8 inches that never came and spent a relaxed day at home together, during which we turned the dining room table into a blanket fort, sipped hot chocolate, and spent most of the day in pajamas. A fabulous treat thrown into what would have been an ordinary first week back for Andrew.
Annabelle will be three next week, something which is incredibly hard to grasp, both because it seems just yesterday that I learned of my pregnancy with her, and because she behaves in many ways like someone much older. In my last few solo parenting days, a good bit of extra stress came on that made it even harder than it had been to juggle everything here at home, and I was in a funk. Annabelle was constantly reminding me, “Just close your eyes, and take a deep breath.” She would probably make an excellent birth coach, now that I think of it. I’m noticing a shift in the way she speaks and processes things, one that makes it clear that she has left the toddler years behind. She’s wise beyond her years, this one.
Everything that she does, too, is done with more purpose. She asks for materials that aren’t readily available when she needs them for something she has set out to do, whereas before she seemed only to make use of what was on hand and move on to something else if things didn’t work out as planned. As one small example, she took a refrigerator magnet that is in the shape of a sun and began to organize animal magnets in a circle around it, but did not have enough to complete it. She knows that more exist, somewhere, so she informed me, “Mom, I need two more animal magnets so I can make a circle and a sun.”
Late last week, I fell asleep while putting Elliot down for a late morning nap. I could hear Annabelle in the bathroom, running water, and I knew that she was probably creating something that would require a great deal of cleanup later on, but I was too tired to be concerned with that and I let her be. I was surprised when I got up to investigate, that there was only a small amount of water in one spot on the floor. I said something to Annabelle about needing to dry up the floor from when she had been, “playing with the water.” She sounded quite offended when she corrected me, “I wasn’t playing with the water. I was making soap!” I apologized, as this had obviously been a very serious undertaking for her, and then went about my business, forgetting about this interaction until the next day when I announced that we were going to the store because we needed soap and a few other things. Annabelle was incredulous, “but I made soap already!” She has seen how I refill our soap dispensers, which is typically by filling them halfway with soap and the rest of the way with water, so when she went to wash her hands after going to the bathroom and found that the soap had run out, she knew just what to do: She opened the dispenser and filled it with water. Problem solved.
No sooner had Elliot started crawling than he began standing up, all by his own strength. I was shocked the first time I saw him stand up suddenly in the middle of the room, and even more surprised when he started doing it for more than a few seconds at a time. Now it’s old hat, and he stands up constantly, keeping his balance for very long periods of time. Here’s a video from several days ago, when this was a new skill. Other than that, he continues to be a snuggly, happy, delightful baby. I am seeing more concentration and more purposeful activity from him, for sure, though. He found a refrigerator magnet on the floor last night and began trying to put it on the fridge, and he holds and inspects everything he picks up, passing it from hand to hand and really focusing as he does so. In the past week, too, he has learned the classic infant game of dropping things from his high chair over and over again for the sheer joy of watching them land on the ground and seeing how others will pick them up.
It is quite interesting to have him in the classroom at this stage, because he is driven to move and to get exactly what he wants, when he wants it. After class on Monday, Annabelle was working with the Sandpaper Globe while I changed Elliot’s diaper and he was squirming and twisting and screaming all the while. He has never appreciated diaper changes, so this was no surprise, really, and it wasn’t until I finished and was able to let him loose on the carpet that I realized what he had wanted all along. The moment I let go of him, he crawled with purpose, right for the globe. Fortunately, with his daddy back home, we can find more age appropriate pursuits for him during class for the rest of the semester, but it has been interesting since he learned to crawl!
I’ve been busy making plans for our Fall semester, but have done very little else. I’m just so happy to have the husband back here with us, and to be able to enjoy his company again. I’ve been so distracted by the work of taking care of Annabelle, Elliot and the house that all I could think about was how much I wanted him back home to help. When Friday night came, though, I realized how much I had missed the simple joy of his presence and his companionship. I found myself looking out the window constantly, watching for his car. I love that guy a lot, apparently.
How was your week? What has your family been up to? I’d love to hear all about it!