This won't be a very amusing post. If you are here for comedy, check out this old post about my dad trying to kill my newborn with pointy garage sale purchases. That was hilarious! This post is about how my long-awaited reunion with my 20 month-old daughter after I returned from a two week business trip did not play out as poetically as I imagined in my head.
I got home Tuesday afternoon while Mazzy was napping. I'm not dumb enough to wake her upon arrival but apparently, I am dumb enough to run into her room the second I hear the slightest hint of stirring.
Mazzy was lying on her stomach with her eyes closed, making noises like she was waking prematurally. I sat on the floor by her crib and gently rubbed her back. I'm not sure if my intention was to coax her back to sleep or get her to wake up and jump into my arms.
It doesn't really matter because neither happened.
Mazzy half opened her eyes and saw me. She started crying and smiling at the same time as if she was grumpy but happy to see me. Then she stood up abruptly.
"Want Daddy!" she whined, looking past me.
My heart sank but I picked her up and tried to look her in the eye.
"Hi, baby— I'm home!"
"Yes, sweetie. I missed you!"
"I missed you," she echoed. My heart swelled as I felt her coming back to me.
Then I tried to sit down with her in the rocker.
"NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" she screamed, her arms flailing until I stood back up.
Still crying, she pointed at the door. I brought her into the living room where I attempted to sit with her on the couch.
"NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" she screamed even louder.
I stood back up. Held on to her as tightly as I could. "It's ok, babe. I'm here," I repeated as I rocked gently back and forth.
We stood there awhile, her crying getting louder, then quieting, then louder again.
Mazzy's not a light little thing anymore (this was made even more apparent by my two-week-toddler-holding-hiatus) and my arms started to tire. I attempted to sit on the floor.
I asked her if she wanted something to eat and she stopped crying to point at a plastic container of melon on the kitchen counter.
I carried her over, reached into the container and picked out a cube.
"NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" she screamed again but continued to point at the melon. I thought maybe she wanted me to feed her the melon with a fork.
"NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" Her agitation was increasing by the second. Maybe she wanted me to put some melon in a bowl?
"NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" She flipped the bowl out of my hands on to the floor. I bent down, still holding her, to clean it up.
"NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!" she cried as she her feet came loose and her hands flapped furiously.
I lifted her back up— her body squirming, her legs kicking at me and her arms flailing in every direction. It seemed like she wanted to break free but also not touch the floor.
I was at a loss.
Suddenly, we locked eyes for the first time since I got home. This is it, I thought, we will be able to communicate like we did before my trip.
"Babe, tell me what you want me to do" I said as calmly as I could.
I was stunned.
"No, Mazzy! You do not hit!" I yelled, shocked at the sound of my own voice.
I put her down on the floor.
FULL ON TANTRUM. Stamping, pounding, screaming, kicking, crying.
When she was done (I distracted her with pretzels like any good mother would), she wanted to play the hug game in the hall.
But it was ruined. She seemed a little crazy dropping all that negative energy and running full speed at me with a huge smile moments later.
And then the kicker.
"HUG ILANA!" she shouted.
Not Mom. ILANA. Like I was a visiting aunt.
If anybody is selecting "Make The Working Mom Feel Guilty" teams, Mazzy should be their first pick, that's for damn sure.
UPDATE: I wrote this post six days ago, the day after I got home. That wasn't the only time Mazzy hit me, threw a tantrum, called me Ilana or asked for Daddy. It got much worse before it got better. She made me earn back her trust BIG TIME. Which is a hard thing to do while I'm also trying to set limits and not indulge her just because I'm feeling guilty.
I have always wanted to be a working mom. So this is how it goes sometimes, I guess.
For now, I think she is on my side again.