Eric and I have a standing date night every Tuesday. Every once in awhile we manage to do something out of the ordinary and act like we’re still in our 20s.
But most nights we end up home by 8 and asleep by 8:03. Call it a side effect of living with toddlers.
We also try to talk about things other than the kids while we’re out, but we often fail at that too. Sometimes I’m able to text him updates during the day, like:
(When Evelyn first moved into her big girl beds we had a policy that every time she got out of bed, a lovie got taken away. This was 5 minutes into naptime.)
But more often than not, I have to catch him up on their day when he gets home at night – who dropped what in the toilet, who accidentally dialed my ex’s Mom while running away with my phone, who ate an entire bag of raisins apparently without chewing them and pooped out full grapes 24 hours later. (All Alex) So most of our conversation gets dominated by the kids.
This week we found ourselves the youngest patrons of Chucks Place by about 30 years, and again spent dinner talking about the kids. This time we took it a little deeper though and instead of talking about the kids in the present, we talked about the kids in the future. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we ended up with at least two of each gender” … “I hope one of them wants to take over the business one day” … “I hope we can keep everyone off drugs and our daughters off the pole,” … you know.
At one point Eric asked me what I’m most excited to teach Evelyn.
“To only pick her nose in private and to not pee in her pants at night and to sleep later than 5:15” were the rapid-fire answers that popped into my head, but I think I said something like “baking”. I’ve been thinking about it all week since then though, and I think I’d like to change my answer to “authenticity.”
I spent far too long pretending to like certain musicians or pretending to like the bar scene or pretending to hate certain movies when in reality I just wanted to go home early, turn on Notting Hill and admit that “Making Love out of Nothing at All” by Air Supply is my favorite song of. All. Time. And that’s just the petty stuff. All to impress people that in hindsight I have no idea why I cared about impressing.
It took me a long time to learn that after all is said and done you just have to be honest with yourself (and others) about certain things, like:
So. How do I teach my daughter to be okay with who she is, exactly as she is, without pretending to be someone else?
I wondered all week about the words I could say and the wisdom I could impart, until yesterday I realized the BEST (and maybe only) way I can teach her is to model it for her.
A few weeks ago we went to the vet to pick up Pippa’s HeartGuard and Interceptor Plus, and brought along a fecal sample at the vets request. Evelyn was of course very interested in the latter, and I explained it the best I could in toddler terms, dropped it off, and moved on.
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon when Evelyn finished a puzzle and asked what we should do next. I looked around. Alex was occupied pushing the doll stroller for its 37th lap around the house and there was a stuffed horse lying on the floor, so I suggested we play Vet.
“Okay!” She said, and handed me a block. “Here’s my poop.”
“Excuse me?” I said.
“Here’s my poop,” she said again.
“No I heard you, I just need an explanation,” I told her.
“To check for bugs,” she said matter-of-factly. “At the vet. My poop.”
It was all starting to come together, the fecal sample and my measly explanation that the vet needed to check to make see there were no bugs in there (I’d specifically said bugs and not worms because she’s obsessed with worms and I don’t need her digging through Pippa’s land mines looking for them.)
I realized then just how much of what I say and do she picks up on, even if it’s a non-event for me. I know kids are sponges, but I forget until I see them do something to prove it.
So, I turned on Air Supply and turned out some of my worst dance moves while I made dinner, in an attempt to show her that it’s okay to be an absolute dork about music and an even worse dancer, as long as you own it. Which, at least in the dancing category, she seems to have picked up on already.