Kind folk tell me it will get better. I am sure that over time, it will.
Thanks to my wife leaving and moving out to her own apartment, someone has to get up with the kids in the morning. I thought about it for a while and realized that this means me. Not a big deal you think? Then maybe you are in Europe or Australia or somewhere sensible. In the USA, it is very different. Brigitte has to be outside for the school bus at 6:40am and Charlotte gets picked up at 7:05am. If you get a calculator and do the math, this means I have to get up … very fucking early. And I haven’t even got to the “bad evening” discussion yet. In fact, why am I waffling on about the morning? *sigh*
The segue here is that getting up early means getting to work early and, therefore, in a perfect world, getting home early.
So … getting to the point at last … I was able to come home a little earlier. This turned out to be a Very Good Thing because I was not far from home when my phone rang and Charlotte and my oldest, Amélie, started a stereophonic argument over the phone about who wasn’t washing (something), who wasn’t letting who out of some room, and so on. I followed for a while until the girls went higher and higher and, eventually, ultrasonic. I still struggle with why my girls don’t realize that my phone doesn’t have a Cone of Silence wrapped around it and if they bicker like that when I’m in the office, people three offices away are going to wonder who’s killing my children.
Arriving at home, I intended to be Solomon, hear the arguments for and against, and make a just and clever ruling that left both of them a little miffed and both of them a little relieved they didn’t get into too much trouble.
Ha. So much for that.
Amélie had completely lost her temper. Charlotte’s version of what had happened was a little lopsided (surprise!). The problem isn’t new; all kids squabble sometimes. The real problem is that tensions are high because mommy is gone. Instead of simply sorting out the problem themselves or letting a snarky comment slide, battle lines are drawn with little provocation.
Half the evening had raised voices, me included sometimes. And I hate that. I hate it. But there are lines that can’t be crossed without consequence, comments that cannot be easily ignored when I too am not as level-headed as normal. I was very glad when I could put my young ones to bed. It seemed as if nothing would go right tonight.
And then it all changed when they settled down for the night. Instead of Amazon warriors, they became my little girls again.
I love that before-sleep time with them. I hear about the problems they forgot to tell me about. Sometimes the tears flow, but we forge a stronger bond. Even after a difficult evening, they’re still my little buttons. (Except for my oldest, the college student, who is now officially a vampire after sleeping days instead of nights for weeks now.)