Wednesday, October 11, 2006

In which I am somewhat melodramatic

The weeks since preschool started—or specifically, since I started working—have been incredibly difficult. If you were one of my detractors on the going back to work post, please feel free to gloat. It is hard. Hard in different ways from being a SAHM, but still hard.

Apparently, the boychild is a perfect angel for his teachers. There is even one little girl who, when her parents asked her, “Do you love mommy? Do you love daddy?” responded, “I love Davis.” He is painfully adorable for his father, and sometimes when it’s just him and me, is even so sweet I fear my teeth will instantly rot and fall out of my head.

But not always. Every day when I get home from work, which unfortunately is usually the first time I see him all day, he grins and runs to me. And then it begins: the refusal to hug, the asking for something and then pitching a fit when he gets it, the gagging-slash-whining whose drone sounds for all the world like an ailing Chinook helicopter, the throwing, the running pell-mell into the street, and the tantrumming. I consider slamming my head in the dryer door at least once per day.

I try to stay consistent, explaining to him that when he goes in the street, we have to go back inside, when he throws things, they go bye-bye, and that I will not listen to screaming and tantrums, but I can tell you it is the hardest thing ever, because all I want to do is soak up his essence for a couple of hours in the hopes that it will sustain me through the other 22 hours of the day.

Most times, I’m able to handle it well enough--I laugh it off or ignore the bad behavior completely. But there are days when I don’t want to be responsible and can’t figure out who was nutty enough to put me (however provisionally) in charge, and I either lose it or let him get away with behavior that is incorrigible and doesn’t even have the side benefit of being cute.

Usually by bedtime, however, we are okay again. First, we have a bath, brush his teeth, put on his diaper, lotion and jammies, and turn on his fan. Then we gather up the cadre of creatures who have suddenly become mandatory bedfellows: Lambie has quite the paci-posse now: “Buggy” is a small fuzzy pink bunny with “Barbie” embroidered on its foot, then there's “Ice Bat”(also called “Cookie Monster” on occasion), and “Alligator,” both of whom are Softie-like creatures. Then we read either the bunny story or the “sinewyday!” story, and he turns off the light, announces that it’s “DARK!” and I sing him some songs.

I usually hold him long after he falls asleep, watching his face and smelling the aroma of Clean Sleeping Toddler. It's like I’m refilling a tank it’s only taken an hour to deplete. But as hard as it is, I don’t know if being at home is any better. He clearly loves school, and I like my job and the fact that it’s going to help us get out of debt. I’ve got massive guilt either way. So it’s not that I want to stop just because it’s hard. I just want to know it’s going to get better.