As I taped on her overnight diaper, I apologized for my bad behavior and told her that my bad mood was due to my impending return to work.
"You don't want to go to work?" she said.
"No," I said.
This isn't entirely true. There's something liberating about walking out the door alone, no toddler in tow. All I have to do on the days I work is dress myself and walk out the door. I don't have to ask, "Diaper or underwear?" I don't have to beg some dwarfish version of myself to put on her shoes and wear a coat. I don't have to slice apples, skin pears and wipe up shit. Work is not all bad. Its the transition to work and after work that's the tough part for me.
"Oh its okay," she said. "We'll play together when you come home from work. And you always bring me lots of toys."
I laughed at her simple logic. She doesn't really miss me when I'm at work. She knows I'm coming home eventually and she likes the time with other people. After my untaming of the shrew impersonation, who could blame her?
"You like it when I go to work?" I said.
"Oh yes," she said.
"Why?" I asked.
"My Tima comes," she said.
This is Eliza's babysitter, a young student I've come to care for very much myself.
"You like your Tima?" I asked.
"I love Tima," Eliza said. "I love her cause she's so, so, so chocolate."
Chocolate was not the word I expected to hear after all those sos. Nice, fun, plays games with me, happy. But not chocolate. My daughter has apparently noticed the differences in skin tones, ethnicities. Pretima is from Guyana and her skin is dark.
"You and I are vanilla and Tima is chocolate," Eliza said.