I’m going to Georgia this weekend for my niece’s Christening – alone! Hugo and I took a trip down last year to meet my niece when we only required one seat on a plane, but now that he’s two, an additional ticket just wasn’t in the budget. I know there’s nothing unusual about leaving a toddler with his dad (or grandparent, or other loved one) but I am sure going to miss him. Hugo is pretty high maintenance at night, and he only wants Mommy.
Each Monday that I’ve attended class at the School of Practical Philosophy, my husband and Hugo came with me to New York. Although it was a disruption to Hugo’s schedule, it seemed easier to be away from him only for two hours rather than the five plus hours including travel time if they stayed at home. This week, my husband opted to stay home with Hugo while I went into the city by myself.
It was definitely his decision to make, since I’ve never been away from Hugo for that long before. But more significantly, I would be away for bedtime. Hugo hasn’t wanted anyone but Mommy to put him to bed (or put him back to bed when he wakes up) for months now.
I kissed both men goodbye at 5:15 and was on my way. Around 5:50 I got a text from Rick that said “Fail.” It was too lighthearted to be a true emergency. Apparently Hugo found a way to take a header off the couch with Daddy standing directly in front of him to block. Rick took his eyes off of him for a moment to put a baby sling on in preparation for a walk. There were some tears that had since been quieted but all sounded well and I reassured Rick that Hugo must be fine.
I told Rick that Hugo should be ready for bed around 7:30 given his nap schedule that day. I told him what I do each night to show Hugo that it’s bedtime. I figured he would carry Hugo around while he cried until he fell asleep in his arms to be transferred carefully to the crib. After all, Daddy has no boobies and that’s what Hugo wants at bedtime.
I was in class with my cell phone surreptitiously behind me on vibrate, in case of emergency, when I received several text messages. I excused myself and felt my stomach drop as I read the texts. Bedtime was not going according to plan and Daddy was not happy.
There followed a short, angry phone call that made me feel worse. Hugo hasn’t been cooperating with me at bedtime lately. He’s been so full of energy that I have to rock, dance, swing, nurse, and switch it up for a half hour sometime before he gives up and drifts off. It’s hard to guess what’s going to do the trick and Daddy was frustrated.
One surprising thing Hugo has done this week is settle himself down when I dropped him in his crib. Then I would pick him back up and finish off the sleep routine. Trying to explain all of this is like – I seriously can’t think of a simile that does it justice. Anyway, Rick left Hugo whining in the crib for ten minutes before he fell asleep on his own.
Fine! It doesn’t even sound terrible when I read it. Unfortunately, it didn’t come out that way when we had our short, angry phone call. After class ended we had a much more serene phone call and laid down some rules for next time. He’s not going to tell me when Hugo cries. I don’t want to know. He’s safe and well off with his Daddy, who loves him very much.
Happy Fathers’ Day to all the men who love, discipline, support and provide role models for their children.