Let me start by saying that I know that Justin would like nothing more than to be at home with Ella. Especially for the milestones. Let me also say that I know that other working parents miss milestones too, and that many of them would rather be at home with their children than working somewhere else. I also know that other stay-at-home parents experience many of the difficulties of raising a child alone while their partners work Monday through Friday all day. And that many people in many professions also work on weekends and irregular hours. And that somehow single parents do all of the above on their own.
And now let me say: Why? Why? Why?
Why is Justin usually working for the harder milestones?
He was working a night shift when she sleep trained.
He was working when she threw up all over me in a restaurant and had a sudden fever over 104F.
He was working when she threw her pacifier away and had to learn to sleep without it.
Today, he is working and she has decided she will not wear Pull-Ups. He was here and awake for 1.5 hours this morning and was wonderful--he read to her, pretended he was baking potatoes and vegetables in her kitchen with her, and let her sit in his lap while he did some computer work.
Then, when I dressed her before he left for work, she insisted on panties. She's been casually potty training for months, and she uses the potty frequently each day, but still also expels waste into her Pull-Up. She's started noticing that her older friends wear panties, and she wants to do everything they do. (Which will be a different kind of interesting when they're teenagers.)
I've been telling her that she can wear panties when she goes pee-pee and poo-poo in the potty, instead of in her Pull-Up. That if she goes pee-pee or poo-poo in her panties, it will be very messy and she likes to be clean. She has agreed that these are important factors in the switch to panties, so she has willingly continued to wear her Pull-Ups.
"Panties!" she said, while sitting on the potty after breakfast. Her Pull-Up was still dry from the morning change, so Justin and I knew she had to pee, but she was just sitting there.
"You can't war panties til you pee in the potty." I was thinking long term. "Do you want me to get you a book?"
When I came back she was reaching for a wipe. "You don't need a wipe until you go pee-pee in the potty. Did you go pee-pee in the potty? Let me see."
She smiled and leaned forward, having pulled a wipe out of the box.
"Good for you, Ella!"
"Panties!" she grinned and pushed aside her still dry Pull-Up.
We talked some more about it, and I tried for the training pants, but as soon as I put them on her she said, "No!" and asked for panties again.
I felt the same heart-racing excitement and dread that I felt when she threw her pacifier away. Justin was getting ready for work. She insisted, and walked over to the diaper drawer that also has panties in it. She picked a pair with Minnie Mouse on it and pulled them up herself.
"OK. Let's show Daddy."
"Oh my gosh!" he said, and we looked at each other with wide-eyed anticipation and disbelief.
With a kiss and a hug goodbye he left me and my proud girl at the front door, waving goodbye as he left for work.
I know, I know, I know that he is having a harder day than I am. I know that he is dealing with sick people who are having harder days than both of us. I know that I am really blessed to be a stay-at-home mom and that it is my dream job.
But I've been listening to her crying "Up Mommy! Up Mommy!" in her crib for quite a few minutes now and a nap does not seem imminent. I decided to leave her in there for a while anyway, because sometimes she does fall asleep even if she objects at first, and because I need a break after playing with her, and helping her brush her teeth and putting her hair in a ponytail and playing and reading and making sandwiches (all with her "help") and seeing her pee all over the step stool and floor despite having sat on the potty each of the three times the Potty Watch went off after 30 minutes. And cleaning it all up and changing her clothes and putting clean panties on (She does not want to go commando. She wants to wear panties.) and feeding her lunch and clearing the dishes and having her pee in her booster seat and cleaning all that up and brushing her teeth and telling her it's nap time.
I just want her to nap. Fifteen minutes of quiet, even.
But no. It's the crying "Mommy!" So I give up. We have to walk to Main Street anyway, to pay rent and run errands and at least I won't have to listen to "Mommy!!!" for a while.
Plus, she's going to wear Pull-Ups when we're out in the world.
So there's that.