I know that milk came out of me, and that my almost-3-year-old child's first experiences with primary reinforcement in this life were all. about. me.
But please, please, please tell me why, when it's Papa's turn to put her to bed, she howls like he is covered in razor wire, wielding vegetables, and beheading her teddy bears? He's a lovely daddy. He never yells like Mean Mommy does. He makes her dinner every night, yummy, colorful dinners. He hugs her and cuddles her. He reads her books. He plays rocket ship take off games with every action figure in the house and sometimes with green beans to make them more appealing.
Tonight that child howled like demons were possessing her, and I had one of my internal dialogues and truly had to work to tune into my Feel Good compass. She's not a child that howls and sobs on a regular basis. So tonight, I was torn: Honor her little emotional storm, or let Dad follow through and let them follow their own path? I had so many things to accomplish tonight, and I knew succumbing would mean the end of the night for me. On the other hand, she seemed to really need Mommy for some reason.
I held her a bit. I talked with her. And every time we got to "..then Dad will put you to bed and Mama will come in later..." the waterworks started again. "Can I just sit with you for a little bit?" "Am I going to see you TODAY? LATER TODAY?" "BUT I LOOOOOOVE YOOOOOOU SOOOO MUCH!!!"
Then, I cut the cord. I could feel the compass needle swing toward supporting her need for me as though she were a giant magnet, due north... but I know how important it is for them to work it out, for me not to undermine Dad, and for me to have the time I need to accomplish my own goals. When I imagined both scenarios, the one that felt good immediately - putting her to bed - would feel bad tomorrow, when I faced mounds of little tasks at 6am. The one that was harder, but resonated in my serene parenting core, was to remove myself, give a loving kiss goodnight.. and drown my sorrows in an ice cream sandwich.