Thursday, April 24, 2008
More from Chicago
My daughter is in a tough situation. She and her husband are separated, and she's full time with Beanie. This is because her husband makes choices that are heartbreaking: he would rather watch American Idol than have Beanie overnight. He would rather play golf than have Beanie on his normal weekend time. He would rather drink beer until he's blind drunk than be a father. So my daughter does it all, and frankly, she is wound tighter than a top.
Beanie, meanwhile, is incredibly smart. I mean she's shockingly smart, and hilariously funny, and stubborn, and sweet, and sensitive. Therein lies the rub. She feels the tension. She knows something is rotten in Denmark. But she doesn't quite know what caused it. Daddy yells at her. Daddy then tells my daughter that there is something wrong with Beanie - why? Because at 3, and in a big girl bed, she no longer naps. This is the truth for all parents - put the kid in a big kid bed and kiss nap-time goodbye. But if she doesn't nap, how can he have an afternoon snort?
So I got to town, and my daughter was down with the flu - partly from stress, partly because she had the flu. And she's demanding - and in that place where NOTHING I can do for her is right. Whatever it is, I've done it incorrectly. I'm sleeping on the sofa, and I'm not putting the dishes in the dishwasher the right way. I clean up the kitchen and I'm not paying enough attention to Beanie. I try to play with Beanie on her level, and I'm not reminding her to go potty enough. Yesterday, while I was theoretically working (I am working from my remote desk), I also wound up with Beanie at home because (no surprise here) her Daddy could not be bothered to take her. So Grandpa (my ex) took her to the zoo in the morning, and I had her in the afternoon, and we had a bit of a tantrum, and I told my daughter I lacked the skills any longer and didn't know what to do. My daughter's response? I don't have to come back here again. WTF?
I adore Beanie, but really, it's been 30+ years since I've dealt with little kids on a full time basis. It is NOT like riding a bicycle, you do forget. I adore this child, but I don't remember what 3-year-olds are like. She's work. Real, honest-to-god work. And I keep thinking I'm screwing it all up, and she's got my number. She out-thinks me. I raised one of those (my son) and believe me, there is a difference between a gifted child and a smart one. I've had one of each, and I sense that my daughter has a gifted child. This is not bias, it is some level of experience.
Meanwhile, because my daughter was ill, I wound up taking Beanie to my ex-husband's for both Passover Seders. I have to tell you that at some level, my life is often funnier than the best situation comedies - it was a complete comedy - me, in the house I designed, with my ex, and his wife, and first night my brother and cousins; second night it was my ex's cousins. Just so bizarre, and funny, and messy, and with Beanie as center of attention - oh, my god.
But I am tired, really. Partly because the situation for my daughter just breaks my heart, and partly because Beanie is a bundle of energy. She's at school today, but we've made big plans for the weekend. Gorgeous weather, so far. The expected rain has not materialized, so this is good. Wish me luck.