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Friday, 7 March 2008

"Good things Dady Dose"

Ted Danson-esque or not, Paul has steadily been adapting into fully-fledged house husband. The evolution from Rob Fleming to Sam Holden more or less complete, he would be the first to say that despite having learned to cook, how to operate a washing machine and how to do coffee mornings (when pressed) with the rest of the school gate parents (a healthy mix of mums and dads, round our way), he still finds the day-to-day of staying at home with three small children pretty damn exhausting and more than a little stress-inducing.
After a challenging week dealing with some of Eden's more precocious tendencies, relations between them were wearing a little thin. I received a harried phone call just as I was about to walk into a 4pm meeting on Thursday:
"Sara, could you please try to talk some sense into Eden?" he begs. A hysterical Eden comes on the line. Between gulping sobs, I make out the words, "I want Daddy to go to work and you to stay at home!"
"Well, that's not really possible now, is it?" I reply, trying to keep my voice reasonable and calm even as I observe the rest of the meeting attendees peering through the glass-fronted meeting room at me, wondering who I could be speaking to that it is urgent enough to keep them all waiting. "Why don't you find something fun to do for a little while and before you know it, I'll be home and we can talk about it properly then?" I suggest.
"But I want you to come home noooooooooooow!" she wails plaintively.
I quickly resort to blackmail, eyeing the waiting room-full before me: "I tell you what, I'll be able to pick you up from school tomorrow", I say. "It's the school book and cake sale so we can go to that together, just you and me. You can choose yourself a new book and we can buy cakes for tea."
"OK," she sniffs, cheering somewhat, "As long as we can go, JUST you and me, noone else. Not Nathan. Not Ava. And definitely NOT Daddy!"
Of course, as I leave the meeting and make my way home I discover, calling home, that the hysterics had subsided within minutes of the call, Eden has been playing happily ever since, that all is well and supper will be ready when I get home. The background noise sounds harmonious enough, and this time Eden doesn't even want to speak to me - she is too busy playing on
I don't think there is a simple answer to whether it's harder to be at home, dealing with the hysterics directly, or to be the one at the office, listening to it all over a phone line, feeling slightly helpless and more than a smidgeon guilty.
Whatever the answer to that eternal conundrum, I think Eden has the solution to family woes tied up. She won't be needing therapy when she grows up, that's for certain. On my return home, she tells me that she has dealt with her feelings of ill will towards Daddy by writing down two lists. The first, headed "Bad list of what Daddy dose", reads:

he shouts at me
he mons
he plas on the computer all day
he lasis in bed

The second is entitled, "Good things Dady dose" and reads:

he coms to pic me up
he gives me cudles at home time
he kisses mummy - sometimes
he mackes dinner

I humbly suggest that neither list is exhaustive, by any means, but by now Eden is ready to confess that Daddy does a pretty good job. And I think, to be honest, that he probably does the hardest one, too.

1 comment:

Dina said...

Wow!! that's so real!! I must admit however that life at work no matter how stressful(unless working in a control airport tower) seems nothing compared to situations like that one.