Yesterday afternoon when I got home from work, my daughter came running up to me. Did she say "Hi Daddy!" or "I Love you Daddy!" or "Glad you're home!" or even "Go outside, Daddy?" like she normally does? Nope. She came running up to me gave me a hug and said, "Hi, Nice to meet you, guy." She reminded me (more than a little bit) of Mindy from Animaniacs who always referred to her mother as "Lady" and any man (father, mailman, construction workers, etc.) as "Mr. Man." She does also call my wife & I by our first names (a habit we're trying to break her of).
A few minutes later we were upstairs in her room and she was trying to close one of her dresser drawers. Her dresser is wooden so the drawers are heavy. She struggles a little with them. As she was trying to close the drawer she said, "Oh shit!" My wife & I didn't acknowledge it as it's best not to. Then Sami walked away and I remarked, "At least she used it in the right context."
She started potty-training a little over a week ago. It was all her idea, not ours. Last Monday when my wife was getting her dressed she was insistent that she wanted to wear undies, not a diaper. So my wife decided that since she's asking, she must be ready for it. She's been pretty good about it for the most part. Yesterday she only had one accident... and a major meltdown.
I'm not sure what spawned the meltdown. My wife had gone out to exchange some clothes at JC Penney. Sami wanted to color so I went to the kitchen drawer where we keep her crayons and coloring book and started to take out her crayons and coloring book and she started crying hysterically saying "No color." So I'd start to put them back away and she said, "I WANT TO COLOR DADDY!" So again, I started to take out the coloring book and crayons... Rise & repeat a few times with increasing waterworks and more voluminous protestations. With nothing else working I took Sami upstairs and gave her a bath to calm her down. This was/is a bit of a no-no because the schedule is dinner - bath - stories - bed. We've been particular about this since we started potty-training her. The idea being that she's in her undies before her bath and goes into a diaper for the night after her bath. Because I did the bath before dinner, I put her back in her undies afterwards and then put her in a diaper after dinner. It threw her schedule a little out of whack and the wife person was not entirely pleased with this scenario as she's the one who has to deal with the wee one all day and throwing her evening schedule off could result in a messed up sleep schedule (ie. Sami rising earlier than usual-- as she had yesterday morning... at 5:45 am when I got up-- normally she sleeps until 7:30-8 am ish). Luckily due to her early morning, short nap, and long day yesterday she actually DID sleep through the night last night.
Over the weekend I took Sami with me to Blockbuster so she could pick out a kids movie.... big mistake. She didn't want to be carried, she wanted to walk around on her own and she didn't want to have to hold Daddy's hand. I won't speak for other parents but this was my first time EVER alone out with my daughter in underpants instead of a diaper. Given her age I wouldn't have let her walk around on her own in Blockbuster regardless, but letting her do so in undies while she's still being potty-trained seemed like an especially bad idea. This resulted in a more public meltdown than the one I experienced last night. I'd try to carry her and she'd squirm like crazy. I'd put her down and try to get her to hold my hand and she'd try to pull away and escape. The whole time of course the waterworks were in full force.
So I sped up the process and got the movies and got out. Luckily we made it home in dry undies (yes, both of us).
Last night my wife & I were watching Against the Wall. It's a new series about a female cop who gets a promotion into the Internal Affairs dept. of the Chicago PD. Her brothers and father are all beat cops who aren't at all keen with her career move as they have a very negative opinion of IA. Anyway last night was really playing up the father/daughter relationship and I was getting a bit misty-eyed thinking that some day that will be Sami & I. It's not entirely surprising that I was reacting that way as I can't even listen to songs like Bob Carlisle's Butterfly Kisses ("She'll change her name today, She'll make a promise and I'll give her away, Standing in the brideroom just staring at her, She asks me what I'm thinking, And I said I'm not sure, I just feel like I'm losing my baby blue"), Peter Cetera's One More Story ("I can't believe just how fast you're growing, I'm gonna cry when you're old enough to go and be on your own") Harry Chapin's Tangled Up Puppet ("I'm a tangled up puppet, all tangled up in knots, and the more I see what used to be, the less of you I've got") without getting choked up any more. It just makes me treasure my one on one time with Samantha that much more. I take over the parenting as soon as I get home (to give my wife a bit of a break) and I get up with her and get her breakfast on Saturday & Sunday mornings. It's our routine, it's when we bond and those are my favorite times of the day. And since my wife gets up with her Mondays-Fridays I put her to bed every night, read her stories... That's our routine and she seems to really like it as well. I've watched my nieces and nephews grow up so I know how fast time flies and I know there's nothing I can do to slow it down or stop it so I'm just trying to be present for as much of it as possible. I may not be able to stop her from growing up but at least I have some control over how many shared memories and experiences we have.
I'm still keeping my journal for her. Once every few weeks or months I write a letter to her in a journal. I'm going to give her that journal either on the day she graduates high school the day she graduates college, or the day she gets married (I haven't decided which, yet).