Amazing how a little perspective makes an old routine new again.
See, I make it a point to get as much time as I can in with Olivia when I get done with work. Its a short window of time from when I get home to when she goes to bed. I do my best to squeeze in a little dinner or playtime before we start the bedtime routine... but sometimes I'm flat-out tired, so I skip a few pages in the book I'm reading her, and I cut a few lullabies short, if you catch my drift. I'd hurry her along, because once she went to bed, I could finally relax.
Well, about a week and a half ago, when I came down with that nasty cold, Joel had to become "Mr. Mom" around here. He was doing ALL the cooking and cleaning and taking care of Olivia. We jokingly dubbed him the "Primary Caregiver" as he bounced between sick ol' me and energetic little Olivia.
Once I got well, and was ready to take back some of my evening responsibilities, a strange thing happened.
From a two-year-old who liked her new routine.
Olivia was enjoying her daddy time... she liked having daddy do dinner, daddy do bath, daddy do books, daddy get jammies, and "daddy put in crib."
I was trying to put her to bed last week, which is my favorite time, because we sing songs and cuddle. Instead, I got stiff-armed, with a "no no mama, daddy do."
At first, it was cute. Joel and I laughed, and he strutted up the stairs with his daughter in tow, a little too proud of himself.
A few nights later, I stopped laughing and started to feel sad! I kept waiting for the night where I was requested by Olivia, and it never happened! All I heard was "daddy do." And although I was glad they were getting this sweet, quality time together, I couldn't help by think: "Hey guys... I want in this club!"
So last night, as bedtime was approaching, I started in on our routine. Normally Joel gives Olivia a bath, but he seemed busy with projects, so I started in. I thought he'd come up and help, but time passed and before I knew it, I'd bathed her and dried her hair, and we'd picked out pajamas and a few books. When we went downstairs, Joel was no where to be found, but I could hear some things in the garage. So I started reading...and then I thought to myself.... he's doing this on purpose! I smiled. I knew he was making himself scarce so that I could have my Dee Dee time again.
Sure enough, 8:00 came around, and because daddy was nowhere to be seen, Olivia accepted me as Primary Caregiver. I know I don't do songs the same way he does, but she seemed not to mind. With her sweet-smelling head resting on my shoulder, we walked upstairs. And I found myself breathing her in with a new found thankfulness, just because of something so simple as a small shift in routine. I had taken for granted putting my baby to bed. But not last night.
When I tip-toed out her door, I went down to the garage. Joel looked up from his project and grinned.