Initial reception was AWESOME. Mazzy and Harlow were so excited to see us, they were practically jumping out of their skin. I was attacked. In the best way.
Harlow imitates everything these days and I think her reaction was half excitement and half trying to imitate Mazzy's excitement. She kept running around in circles making these squeals that would go from low to high pitched like she was dizzy. Then she would run into my arms, bury her face between my neck and my shoulder, back herself up, and run into my arms again. She did this little "welcome home" dance over and over.
The squeals and hugs went on for at least a half hour and will probably go down as one of my favorite moments with my girls ever. Which is a good thing, because they definitely made us pay for being away after that.
I don't want to say anything bad about Grammy because having her watch the girls and knowing they are both safe and happy is the best gift anyone could give us.
Grammy cheats a little.
She uses toys and pizza and cupcakes and big signs that say "YOU SHOULD LOVE ME THE BEST!" Which they do. I'm okay with that. What I struggle with is coming home and having to be the bad guy because I am not starting each day off with a present and ending with an ice cream sundae. (Where was this woman when I was growing up???)
Perhaps this can best be illustrated by the eight new toddler princess dolls that were standing on our dining room table when I got home, as if they had proudly conquered our last remaining toy-free surface. (By "toddler princess dolls", I mean Snow White, Ariel, Rapunzel, etc. reimagined as if they were children. The people who come up with ways to expand the Disney princess empire are evil geniuses.) Behind the dolls, also on the table, was the huge cardboard box the dolls came in. As part of the box, there were little cardboard balconies that fit each doll separately before they were removed from the package. Grammy had given Mazzy a different doll from the set each day for good behavior.
On my first morning back, I told Mazzy we needed to find a home for her new dolls.
MAZZY: That is their home. On the dining room table.
ME: No toy has a home on the dining room table.
MAZZY: But that's the only place that I can play with them and Harlow can't reach them!!!!
ME: You can still play with them on the table but you have to find somewhere to put them away after.
MAZZY: NO!!!! GRAMMY SAID I CAN KEEP THEM ON THE TABLE!!!!
Then, I made the big mistake of trying to throw away the box.
MAZZY: WHAT ARE YOU DOING???????
ME: Throwing away the box.
MAZZY: THAT'S NOT A BOX, IT'S THEIR BEDS!!!!!!
ME: It's not their beds. It's the package the dolls came in.
MAZZY: NO, IT'S NOT THE PACKAGE! IT'S THEIR BEDS!!!! YOU CAN'T THROW IT AWAY, MOM!!!!
ME: It's not their beds. It's a piece of garbage and we don't have room to keep it.
MAZZY: NO!!!!!!! GRAMMY SAID IT'S THEIR BEDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Oh no. She was positioning me against Grammy. And she was doing it while crying on the floor, clutching this huge piece of cardboard, like it was personally signed by Snow White in her own blood.
I couldn't back down but I also didn't want to be the Wicked Witch to Grammy's Glenda.
I called Glenda.
ME: You have to tell Mazzy the box the dolls came in is garbage.
GRAMMY: I told her it was their beds…
ME: I DON'T CARE! YOU HAVE TO TELL HER!!! I CAN'T KEEP BEING THE BAD GUY, MOM!!!!
GRAMMY: What's the big deal? Just keep the box.
Yes. I sounded like a child. Then my mom and I got into a big fight about how I was ungrateful for her staying with the kids while we were on vacation and how taking care of them is really hard (yes, I know) particularly for an older person (yeah, I could see that) and giving them toys and ice cream and entertaining them with cardboard boxes was the only way she knew how to survive.
Then I felt awful.
I called a friend to tell her about our fight and she said, "So…. basically you got into the same fight that every parent gets into with their mother?"
That made me feel better.
I called Grammy to apologize and she said, "Of course you are going to get mad at me. Parenting is hard. Who else are you going to get mad at?"
MORAL OF THE STORY: Grammy is awesome.
EPILOGUE: Two seconds later, Mazzy discovered the box was ripped and threw it away herself.