Eliza did okay with the babysitter and C, although on the second morning, she cried for me and refused to get out of the crib for a while. On the third day, C got home before and a happy, giggling Eliza was visibly deflated when she found C coming through the door and not me. I assured him that Eliza knows when he leaves he'll come back. She's not used to it with me.
A fourth workday was added and in those four days Eliza managed to get new paints (paints I had stashed in our utility closet that I didn't plan to give her until the paints she currently uses are empty), find her Easter presents (stashed in a closet that I'd successfully managed to keep her out of for two weeks) and learn how to play C and I against each other.
What do I mean? Let me tell you about last night.
While I cooked dinner, Eliza demanded raisins. I told her after dinner and continued to cook. She screamed, she writhed on the floor, she tried to open the refrigerator herself. I remained unmoved and continued to roll my homemade chicken nuggets in flour and corn flakes (yeah, they're delicious). Realizing her anguished cries were only causing me to work faster, Eliza rushed towards me and started beating my leg. Repeatedly she slapped my leg saying "I hit Mama."
Tired of feeling equal to the chicken breasts I beaten into tender submission, I washed my hands, scooped up my George Foreman daughter, and whisked her to the crib for time out. As I lowered her into her lattice white cell, I noticed her two dolls and felt a surge of genius. Taking the dolls out of the crib (I just want to add that one of the dolls was her Easter present), I told her she'd lost the privilege of playing with them for the night.
When I returned two minutes later, Eliza immediately asked for the dolls. I explained to her that she wouldn't be getting them tonight and prepared myself for more body slams and toddler howls. Much to my surprise, Eliza seemed okay with my answer and the rest of the evening went smoothly. Little did I know, my clever little girl had already crafted her plan.
Fast forward to 7:30 this morning. I heard Eliza chatting in her crib and stepped into her room. "Poppy," she said, shaking her head when she saw me. "I want Poppy."
I'll admit to feeling a little slighted. I know its selfish and stupid of me but I couldn't help it. I'd only been at work for four days. The changing of the guard I know will come had arrived. I smiled at her, mildly pleased by the fact that she can ask for what she wants and called C in.
C swooped in, wearing nothing but his bath towel, eager to play the hero.
"Hello, my angel, can you give Poppy a hug?"
Eliza pointed to the closet I'd put the dolls in and said, "I want my Elizabeth and her friend."
C looked angrily towards me. I'd become the evil gatekeeper who kept his angel from her precious booty. "Where's her Elizabeth and Felicity dolls?"
"She was bad so I took them away. I'll return them to her." Then I started to laugh. How smart she is!
"You have to give them to her now,"he said. "It's the next day, you can't carry over stuff from the night before, she doesn't understand."
I'm not sure I agree with him on this one, at least the part about her not understanding. Why else would she ask him and not me?
"She's playing us against each other," I laughed as I returned the dolls. "Already."
"She just knows I like to play with the dolls with her," he said. "That's why she wanted me to get them, so we can play."
"Okay," I said, laughing. The male ego in all its glory here.