Sunday, April 01, 2007

Role reversal

I am not a morning person. I used to be a morning person. I think. But 11 months of midnight, two a.m. and 4 a.m. feedings – not to mention the subsequent Internet addiction that followed as I furiously searched "Sleeping Through The Night" and found dozens of moms like myself trolling the Web at all hours looking for small shards of useless advice -- has robbed me of my early-morning zeal.

Gone are the 6 a.m. walks with the dogs and the-greet-the-dawn yoga classes with television gurus.

These days my husband wakes me up at the crack of daylight and tells me "If you want a shower, now's the time." Meaning I've got at least 20 minutes before he's got to hit the road.

So under the pulsating needles of hot spray, I linger for as long as I can possibly manage before my skin turns all pruny and the water turns icy.

It's a test of strength really; his strength.

If I stay lost in the steam of the shower, I muse, maybe he’ll have managed to wrestle Ittybit into her clothes. If I rinse and repeat just once more, maybe he'll have managed to get her to choke down a few bites of cereal or a purse-sized portion of pancakes.

It's not often that it happens this way, but when the universe aligns and I emerge from the shower to find a little girl already dressed in her Wednesday best and sporting a big-old milk moustache as she bellies up to a plate of cottage cheese waffles, I think I should probably buy a lottery ticket because this is my lucky day.

Of course the decadence of it all goes straight to my head as I take more time to get ready for work. I'm even so bold as to check my e-mail messages and the New York Times Web site before relieving him of toddler duty.

When that happens I notice there's enough time to indulge Ittybit in an online video game filled with dancing bears and jumping squirrels before I have to coax her into the car seat.

The husband frowns at me as we sit calmly on the couch, giggling as the animated squirrel misses the berries and falls of the window ledge for the gazillionth time. "This is really hard," she says, commiserating.

"Could you at least clean up the kitchen a little before you go," he asks with a familiar sigh. It's the mantra of the one worker, one slacker household.

I turn off the computer and tell Ittybit we’ve got to get a move on. As she pulls on her coat, I grudgingly gather dishes from the table, depositing them into the dishwasher, and clear the counter of the breakfast debris. I apply some spray cleaner to the globs of pancake batter on the stove and wipe.

It occurs to me that this day, of all days, has felt like a role reversal. For the briefest of moments I understand what it feels like to be the proverbial dad. To have someone taking care of the nitty gritty of everyday life because, let's face it, during this window of development all roads usually lead to mom. ...

I want MOM to read to me.
I want MOM to help me get dressed.
I DON’T want DADDY to make me breakfast.
MAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMAMMAMA ... .

By the time I've grabbed my own coat, Ittybit is halfway down the stairs and headed to the car as her father is heading up the stairs, having forgotten his keys.

"Hey, is your mom on her way?"

"No. She's just wasting water."

1 comment:

rivergirlie said...

enjoy it while you can, i say. wasting water, indeed!
x