Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Date Night With Ellie

It started with a class offered at our synagogue for parents of young children about bringing Judaism into the home. 

It's exactly the kind of thing I've wanted to find, but the classes were being offered were either in the mornings or in the evenings, neither of which I was comfortable to committing to attend. So I suggested to Scott that he sign up for the evening class. 

The Back Story

Before I got sick back in 2007, Ellie would go through phases of which parent she wanted to help her fall asleep and (less so) who it was she wanted when she woke during the night. In fact, we used to have a set time that if she woke before it, Scott would go to her, and if she woke up after it, I would go to her. But if she was dead set on having one of us, we usually accommodated her, if only because we were all about maximizing our sleep. 

Ellie was in a mommy phase when I got sick with bilateral pneumonia back in June 2007. I was sick enough that Scott tried hard to give me a break and take the night-time calls, whatever time they came. But Ellie would sob and sob, "I want Mommy! I want Mommy!" and even though it was hard to lie down with her because my lungs were so congested, I would go. Scott would apologize, and I'd tell him it wasn't his fault, and it was ok. 

So when I ended up admitted to the hospital in July 2007 for what we then discovered was the start of my mystery illness, Scott just slept with Ellie all night for the time I was there and even, I think, the first couple weeks I was home. That was the start of Ellie's all-Daddy-all-the-time phase, and her strong belief that she couldn't fall asleep without Daddy there.

Thankfully, Scott rarely travels for work, and the times he has in the past few years have been one-day trips to the Bay area. But those times that Ellie had to settle for me to help her fall asleep (or respond to her during the night) were excruciatingly painful as she would sob herself to sleep, sometimes for hours. (There were times after long periods of her crying, "I want Daddy! I want Daddy!" that I'd chime in with "I want Daddy too!")

Back To The Present Day
Scott attended the first class session, and although Ellie was clingy as he left home, we did surprisingly well on our own. So when the class was canceled before the second session, I urged Scott to continue going somewhere, anywhere, for one night a week. 

It's been about a month now, and every Tuesday evening, Scott has dinner with us and then takes off for a couple hours while Ellie and I play boardgames and get ready for bed. And she goes to sleep for me just fine, and has from the first evening. 

It's not easy on me. But it's good for me, and for my family. So even when I've had a bad day/week/whatever, and I'm tired and feeling cruddy (or worse than cruddy), I refrain from canceling the plan.

Edited To Add:

Ellie has always been and will always be a Daddy's Girl, but I'm definitely reaping the rewards of making the extra-special effort for us to have our little mommy-daughter date night. Ellie is making me lots of extra special artwork and wanting extra hugs and kisses from me. And that makes it all worth the extra fatigue and pain. :-) 

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