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A funny thing has happened over here on Tuesdays and Thursdays. These are my Agotich days, the days that Gabriel drops her off at my house between 7:15 and 7:30 in the morning on his way to work.

In the beginning, I was happy to help but found these days long. Between the child-minding, the extra driving, and the getting up a full hour earlier, I was pretty tired by the end of the day. (Parents of more than one child, feel free to groan at this point. I know….)

Then, as Agotich got used to me and my house and began to understand our routine and a bit of English, things got easier. Simon needed less hand-holding to have her in the house, and she needed less hand-holding to be here. We still had to monitor things closely, and Agotich still didn’t like it if I dashed upstairs and left her down, but for the most part she was content to play with toys and follow me around. I still had to get up earlier and drive more, but it seemed a smaller thing.

Now, unexpectedly, she’s been a real boon in the morning. Simon has decided that she is funny. He peppers us with questions about her and interacts with her sweetly. He’s also a bit competitive with her. If she puts on her shoes, Simon feels the need to show me that he can put on his shoes faster. If she tries to put on her coat, Simon races to put on his. And if she makes for the door, he bolts ahead to get out first.

Conveniently, all this rushing about is happening against a backdrop of increased opposition and sluggishness on non-Agotich days. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, we argue about eating breakfast, we argue about going to the bathroom, and we argue about putting on his coat and heading out the door. It’s part of the mini-adolescence I had been warned about, it’s tedious, and it makes us very nearly late every day.

But on Agotich days, everything is different. Simon puts on his clothes to show her what a big boy he is, he is proud to show off his ability to use the toilet, and he bounds out the door for school with a smile on his face. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we arrive at school at least 15 minutes early, and Simon runs to the door with a spring in his step.

Would it not be an unkindness to Agotich herself, I’d ask to borrow her on the other days to hustle Simon out the door. And so long as she confines her upcoming terrible twos to her parents, I can see that this arrangement is going to be quite helpful until Simon works through the whiny/dawdling phase.

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