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Mommy Mojo

Yesterday was kind of funny. Our house was thrown completely off schedule by a scheduled air duct/couch/carpet cleaning and two afternoon meetings of mine that occurred past my regular hours and required Matt to cover me for.

The carpet and couch cleaning wasn’t a big deal, but the air duct cleaning made the house sound like an airstrip for two hours and frayed my nerves. Alas, Simon chose this of all days to be cranky himself and dependent on a routine we could not follow. There was not time for toddler dawdling and a trip to the park (so no park), there was no couch to sit on when we got home (it needed four hours to dry), and his much needed nap ran short because of the noise from the carpet cleaning. My own testiness precluded gentleness on my end, so the entire afternoon was just a domino effect of ill-temperedness that reflected badly on both of us. Whatever mommy mojo I have was nowhere in sight.

Given our rotten day, I was a little nervous when our neighbor Ruby came over to spend the evening with us. Her Daddy had something come up at the last minute, and we offered to watch her and settle her down for the night. Simon perked up for the company, and two children happily ate dinner together, went to the park together, and shared some frozen yogurt. It was a good evening, and I felt my mojo returning a bit.

The acid test came at nighttime. I gave Simon a kiss, explained I was taking Ruby home, and left him with Matt. Once we got next door, I acted out a familiar bedtime scenario with a different child than normal. I changed Ruby’s diaper, helped her put on her pajamas, combed out her long hair (that was new!), helped her brush her teeth, and then cuddled up in her bed with her to read stories, sing songs, and usher in sleep time.

Then I turned off the light and left the room, only to hear Ruby’s soft cries turn into lusty wails as she realized that her Daddy was nowhere in sight. It was then that I realized that Ruby had never been put to bed at her own home by someone other than her Daddy and that it was unrealistic of me to think she’d not notice the change. It was time to muster up some serious mommy mojo and see what could be done.

So I got her up, sat her on the couch next to me for a late-night snack, and then tried again, thinking this time about how to make her feel better about her Daddy’s absence. First stop was to look at photos of Greg and Ruby together and talk about them a bit. Next stop was Greg’s room, where I somewhat guiltily yanked a pillow off his bed to tuck in with Ruby.  Then I read some stories about bed-time, sang a few of my favorite nursery rhymes, and traced lines on her cheeks and eyebrows the way I remember my Dad doing when I was small and the way Simon likes me to do today. Just as it was time to say goodnight again, I could see her lip begin to tremble and her dark eyes well up. So I sat back down next to her, stroked her hair, and explained simply and repeatedly that I’d be here while she slept, that her Daddy would come home while she was dreaming, that she’d never be alone, and that when she woke up he’d be back. And that he loved her very much.

The lip stopped trembling and the eyes cleared up a bit on about the fourth repetition, at which point I smoothed her hair one last time, kissed her forehead, and snuck out of the room. To my utter relief, she fell asleep quickly. Also to my relief, Simon awoke today missing me and wanting nothing more than to sit by me and hold my hand. It would seem that even on a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day, I can summon up some mommy mojo.

One Response to “Mommy Mojo”

  1. blg says:

    awww, shucks!

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