Sunday, March 14, 2010

Peaceful delegation

The husband has started taking care of chores during The Lad's mid-night feeding. While I nursed and rocked the other night, he folded a load of boy laundry. He flopped a pair of pants over onto themselves and then half rolled, half folded them into a square. One onesie was folded in quarters; the next one had its sleeves tucked in before being folded into thirds.

"Do you realize you fold no two onesies alike?"

"Huh? They're like snowflakes," the husband grinned. I laughed.

"You know," I said. "I think this is a sign I'm maturing. Two years ago, I would have had you refold those -- or just folded them myself and been angry."

A night or two later, the two of us were trying to wrangle both boys into the tub. The Boy was running around in his diaper and socks between his bedroom and The Lad's, where I was stripping the baby, and hooting "Look at me, Daddy!" as he ran past the bathroom where the husband was filling the tub. I corralled The Boy toward his daddyman who took off the kiddo's diaper, swept him up under the arms and deposited him into the water.

"Ah! My socks! My socks are in dere!"

The husband and I laughed, diffusing The Boy's distress over his soaked socks. We all giggled.

"I think this is another sign," the husband said.

His take surprised me. Being angry over a pair of already-dirty socks getting wet never occurred to me in that moment with my arms full of naked baby, two boys to wash and a lengthy to-do list waiting for after bedtime. But you know, he's right. A year ago, I probably would have been really annoyed at the very least. HOW could he forget something as simple as taking off the kid's socks? NOW they would have to be hung up before going in the dirty laundry. Do I have to do EVERYTHING? He can't even handle a BATH? I would have felt bad about it later, probably, and apologized -- likely after a lengthy fight -- but the irritation would have happened. I'm a perfectionist. Learning to share parenting with my husband has been one of the hardest things for me to learn since The Boy's arrival.

But I am learning, and having a real partner -- allowing him to be a real partner -- has made all the difference in the return to work. I never felt overwhelmed last week, the first one where we both were at work and both boys were in daycare. Yes, I had to pick up and drop off the boys, but the husband took his lunch hour to replenish the diaper supply. Yes, I had to get dinner on my own before the husband got home, but he made lunches every night. Yes, I'm handling night-feedings, but, as I said, the husband is picking up extra chores during those wee hours.

With my more relaxed attitude, I've even been able to appreciate help from The Boy. He tells me if The Lad is sleeping in the car or if he's lost his pacifier. He rocks The Lad and shares germs, as evidenced by The Lad's snotty nose. He's even serving as a translator.

I was rocking The Lad today in his bedroom while the husband and The Boy ate a late lunch after their run. The Lad was unhappy, screaming and wriggling and squirming on my shoulder.

"C'mon, Lad. What is your problem?!"

All I got in response was more screaming, until the husband came to the door chuckling with a response from The Boy.

"He said, 'He don't want to nap.'"

Helpful. Never would have figured that one out.


d e v a n said...

I love this. :) It's wonderful to have a supportive partner!! And it's amazing how much little kids can make us grow up!

Gerbicks said...

woah, does chores in the middle of the night?! what a keeper!

& the older kid translating gives such insight into the older kid's thoughts...

samuraistrong said...

Ah... I feel ya. The other day the Robot was making the bed (my duty now since I'm still in bed when he leaves for work). As he finished up and put the pillows on the bed I noticed that the decorative pillows were all upside down. I almost said something to the tune of "How long have we had those pillows and how do you not know they go the other way?" but I bit my tongue, happy to not have to do that chore for the day. I've realized that I have to let go and it's taken a lot of conscious effort. ;)