Monday, February 13, 2012

Can I Join In?

While I was busy growing twins for six months (i.e. on bedrest and ordered to limit all physical activity), Nathan took over all parenting responsibility. If Eliza and I wanted to "play" together, she would crawl into bed with me and watch one of her favorite shows. If she wanted to do anything else, she went to Nathan.

I've said it before, but Nathan is a wonderful father. Eliza and he have an incredibly strong bond, and it is no secret that she would rather hang out with her dad than with anyone else. They have their own games, their own jokes, and their own routine.

The past couple of months, I have attempted to join their daily routine. From making breakfast with Eliza to putting her to bed, I have tried to take on a normal, active parenting role. For weeks, Eliza has resisted the change to her routine.

When she wakes up and sees that Nathan is asleep (because he has been awake with the twins all night), she immediately asks, "Where's Daddy?" When we play games together, she always needs to "find Daddy" or "show Daddy." When it is time to go to sleep, she insists that Nathan be the last person to tuck her in. Most of the time, it doesn't hurt my feelings; I realize she is trying to adapt to a new schedule and that change is hard for any toddler. Sometimes, though, I want her to ask, "Where's Mommy?"

Tonight, Nathan was falling asleep on the couch and had a sleeping Elliott on his chest. I decided I would put Eliza to bed and make sure she didn't come out of her room twenty minutes later, asking for Nathan.

We brushed our teeth, read our books, sang all of our favorites songs, and then finally said our prayers. Eliza can say most of the prayer on her own, but sometimes needs a little assistance. Halfway through the prayer tonight, Eliza stalled. I encouraged her to continue and directed her to list the people she was grateful for (she loves this part). The following prayer then took place:

Me: "We're thankful for Grandma--"
Eliza: "And Daddy!"
Me: "And Papa--"
Eliza: "And Daddy!"
Me: "And Ezra--"
Eliza: "And Daddy!"
Me: "And Elliott--"
Eliza: "And Daddy!!!"

"--" means that I couldn't even finish listing the names before Eliza interrupted me, saying "And Daddy!"

I told her "I love you" (to which she responded, "I love Daddy") and turned to leave the room. As I shut the door, she called out, "I wanna sleep with Mama. Stay with me, Mama!"

Eliza always want to sleep alone (or not sleep at all). I decided it wouldn't hurt to stay with her just once. I have never fallen asleep with her at night, so I just watched her as she dozed off. Her curls framed her cute little face and she put one hand under her cheek, while the other clutched her blanket. I was lost in one of those "mommy moments," staring at my sleeping daughter, when suddenly, Eliza's eyes flew open.

I nearly screamed and couldn't stop myself from audibly gasping. For a moment, we just stared at each in the dark room. Her eyes were sleepy and she looked confused for a moment. A look of realization then came over her face.  She sighed one word, "Mama," and instantly fell asleep. It mattered that was there.

I love how small moments like this can make every effort worthwhile. Yes, I was still tired when I left the room. Yes, I still had two other children to put to sleep. I felt loved, though, and I knew my daughter felt my love for her.
Maybe I've got this routine thing under control.


  1. Yay! Another step toward "Where's Mama?"!! Also, this picture of her is ADORABLE! Miss you all!

  2. Aww, that made me happy! Tell you what, that smile of hers is worth just about anything.

  3. Cecilia, I LOVE your blog. And that post pretty much made me cry. (I'm a wuss...I admit it!) I hope you and your cute family are doing great! (and sleeping more!)

  4. So beautiful! That is a special moment! I love your little family!


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