Avery and I had a first tonight.
Sean and I have been working so hard. Trying to co-parent is not easy. It’s easy to fall into the role of defending the child-
It wasn’t that bad. She didn’t mean to. She’s two. You need to lighten up.
Unfortunately, I am learning, that parenting can be really not fun. Getting to know Briar’s remorseful face, recognizing the “I’m going to misbehave” stutter step, it stinks. Then the Today Show goes and does a show on Mommy Anger disorder (WTF?!). 2 year olds are going to make you angry. And boy did she make us mad tonight. I sound like a haughty, religious nut, but the word defiant is very appropriate so are:
spirited <---that one cracks me up, it's the equivalent of "unique" for a blind date
Anyway, it was going to be a bath night. I had given several warnings. The she earned a timeout. Then she blew it on the time out. Then we talked. Then there was a reprieve. Then back to the table. And back to timeout. And then the final straw, with full knowledge that getting out of her chair would result in forfeit of bath privileges…She got out of the chair. Huge grin. I went to pick her up and she tried to weasel her way back in the chair. Damn I had to agree. There were no excuses, she went too far.
I took Avery upstairs for a bath, leaving Briar behind the closed door at the foot of the stairs saying, “Mommy. Mommy bath now Avery Briar.”
One foot in front of the other. You can do it. Keep walking.
She knew the consequences. You have to stay strong or she won’t learn.
It’s hard not to say, “My god, it’s a bath. We’re all entitled to bathe.”
But I didn’t.
I ran the water, added some lavender bath wash and set Avery in the tub. She spread her little legs out, looked at me with delight and clapped her hands on the water’s surface sending droplets into both of our faces. More squeals. One of my favorite things about Avery is the way that she looks to me to make sure that I am enjoying the experience too. Her wide, expressive eyes look up at me, then that high wattage grin erupts across her face, dimples popping up all over the place and she dives back into whatever she is doing. She’s already so strong and coordinated. She is sitting in the tub, chasing toys and keeping her balance. She was eager to swim tonight so I put her on her belly. Her pink little backside peeked out of the water, the perfect rolls on the backs of her legs glistening as she kicked and scooted forward chasing an orange star. After a while I sat her upright. For the quickest moment she turned her face to mine and a slow, knowing smile spread across her face conveying so clearly her gratitude and delight in being in the water, and I swear it was my grandfather. The way the smile moved across her face, the way her eyes danced as she watched my face, and the way one eye seemed to sparkle a bit more, it was a look I have seen on my Grandpa Davie’s face a million times. I don’t know what made me happier, the montage of memories of Grandpa swimming that flitted through my mind or the idea that this little, dark haired daughter of mine has harnessed a bit of my grandpa’s magic to live within her forever. I am still learning about the love I have for Avery, it’s rooted within me differently. She is deep inside of me as if she’s been with me forever and is growing out to the surface and beyond. Loving her and knowing how deeply she loves me back is dizzying.