April 19, 2012

Last night I worked late and N took Dot for a Daddy & Daughter’s Night Out. They went shopping, played at the park, had dinner at a restaurant, and then came to pick me up. Dot was happy as a little, well, happy thing. N looked exhausted.

He isn’t allowed to try to teach five classes in a single semester. Not ever again. It’s bad for our collective health, and it almost breaks my heart to see how tired he is.

After getting home, convincing Dot to get out of the car turned out to be impossible. End of a long day. She had to be carried, screaming and kicking, into the house where she proceeded to tell her father, the man who’d just drained all his reserves to keep her safe and happy and entertained, the man who’d lie down in front of an oncoming train if it would protect her, that he needed to “Go away!” She wailed and lay on the floor and let me know that she’d wanted to play in the car and that she was really mad that I wouldn’t take her back to the car. And I waited until she asked for milky and then we cuddled on the bed.

Yes, she still nurses. We’re going to do more with weaning very soon because I am finally so tired of being the amazing human pacifier that I’m willing to give up my few daily moments of guaranteed peace and quiet, but it will wait until the semester is over, because our collective family sanity is hanging by thin threads and I don’t want to add any further stressors to the mix. And, at times like this, I’m so glad that there’s a shortcut to ending the tantrums. She’s a very passionate little person, and learning to process all those feelings is hard for her, I think.

While cuddling, she said, “I don’t have to be scared anymore,” which is the sort of thing that makes the back of my neck prickle. “Were you scared, Sweetheart?”


“Could you tell me more about why you were scared?”

“Yeah.” And this was followed by a long pause, and then, “He’s a big guy!” And then, “I need a hug.”

And I hugged her as my brain began to panic, wondering if someone has been trying to molest or kidnap my two-year-old. I know, I know. Overreaction. And then I realized that she wasn’t upset, not really. She was just reflective and cuddly. So I let it go for the night. I talked her into pajamas and books and going to bed, snatching bites of my own dinner between all of this. I told her the story of the water fairy and Delilah, the adventurous froglet as we curled up together and both drifted off to sleep.

This morning I mentioned that conversation to N, who knew all about it. Yesterday at the park they encountered a big and bouncy ten-year-old. That was Dot’s “big guy.”

I worry about the truth of that statement. You don’t have to be afraid anymore. I wish it were true, and I hope we can keep making it true for a long time.

I whisper it to the listening air, You don’t have to be afraid anymore, either, Teddy.

And because my imagination is very good, or possibly because I’m so tired from waking up in the middle of the night to a toddler grasping for me that I’m hearing things, or maybe (maybe) because it’s true, I hear this –

I’m not, Mommy. It’s okay. I’m not afraid.

Okay, then.


  1. Oh, another little spirited toddler. I have one of those as well and this week has made for some intense times. For all of us.
    I feel for you all. Dot is lucky to have such amazing and caring parents.

  2. I worry about those statements too. The ‘it’s alright now’s and ‘mummy’s here’s and ‘you don’t have to be afraid’s all seem to ring a little hollow at times. But what can we do. Other than hope and wish?

    And I hope and wish that response is true. I hope he’s okay.

  3. Your Bea reminds me of my C. So much spirit in such a little body, no? And so much going on in their little heads.

    I feel the same way about the soothing and comforting. How much of it can I really back up? On the other hand, I think C knows that I’ll back it up with everything I have until my last breath. Hopefully that’s somewhat reassuring for her.

    And I think you’re right about Teddy.

  4. It’s so good to know that you can find out what was really bothering her – late, but still, she could process and tell you.

    Beanie is still a nursing fiend too. I just trust she will wean, because with her passionate personality and stubbornness, I just can’t see anything I try to do working… but sometimes I night I too am so sick of being constantly groped

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