The way yesterday afternoon was moving along, I didn't expect to get one of "those moments," let alone two of them in a single evening.
Immediately after school yesterday I take Lucy, Paige and a $20-off-purchase coupon to Dick's Sporting Goods to buy Lucy her first glove for t-ball. I expect one of those happy, proud moments where I share my knowledge of the game, find the perfect glove and Lucy and I play catch for hours afterward. Instead, I lose Paige for several minutes as she climbs into a clothing rack, lifts her almost-3-year-old butt onto a crossbar inside it and becomes hidden to anyone in the store. At the same time, Lucy keeps placing too-large helmets on her head and banging aluminum bats together to drive the customers, employees and her father crazy.
Fine. I pick a glove. Then we come home and Lucy uses the glove to make five catches in the driveway, then says, "I want to ride my bike." This, of course, means getting her helmet on, digging the bike out from the depths of the garage and walking alongside her as she doesn't know how to ride without training wheels yet. After navigating 10 feet up the sidewalk, she slightly loses balance causing her foot to touch the ground. "I don't want to ride my bike. I'm going inside to read Rainbow Fairies." Why not - it's only 65 degrees and sunny outside.
OK, let's see what No. 2 is up to. "Daddy, me want to ride Dora bike!" Before Paige knocks over the boxes and tricycles in front of the Dora bike with training wheels, I lift it over her head and into the driveway. I remind her she has to push down on the pedals to make it go. This doesn't sit well with her. "No, Daddy! You push me!" This berating continues for 45 seconds until she proclaims, "Me no ride bike!" As I place the bike back in the garage, she runs full speed up the sidewalk, trips (you could see it coming) and lands flat on her stomach. Crying. Screaming. "Everyone inside!" I yell.
With Allison gone for a work dinner, I opt for making tacos. Of course, by the time I sit down, both girls have eaten all their food, are whining for "a treat" and could not care less that my taco is ice cold, and that I haven't taken a bite of it yet. Both girls go tearing upstairs to play, which usually means someone is screaming, "Daddy! She's touching my toys!" within 90 seconds.
But, finally, mercifully, "that moment" pops up around 6:30. Parents know what these moments are. The kids drive you bat-shit crazy for days on end, you question your lot in life, then you wonder why it's so quiet upstairs. My mind starts going two ways as I tip-toe up the stairs: 1) they've finally killed each other or 2) they finally have a cat cornered. Instead, I hear Lucy reading a Sesame Street book out loud and her voice is coming from Paige's room. I stick half my face around the door frame as not to disrupt the world and, I shit you not, Lucy is sitting in a chair, holding up the book as if she's a teacher and Paige is sitting on the floor listening. The Moment.
After Allison gets home, I walk with Lucy to her swimming lesson at 7:30. For weeks previously, the final five minutes of every swim class is dedicated to having the little kids (one at a time) step out to the edge of the diving board and jump into the water. Every student jumps right off except for Lucy. She stands at the end, half-squats, stands back up, shakes her head no and eventually walks off the back of the board. Last night, she walks to the edge and jumps right in. She does it three times with no hesitation.
On the walk home I gush about how proud I am that she conquered her fears and jumped into the pool. With her clothes over her wet bathing suit and still sporting her goggles (she walks home in them), Lucy reaches out her hand to hold mine. We aren't crossing a street where I require hand-holding but, with her new-found confidence and pride, she wants to hold my hand while we walk up the hill on the sidewalk. The Moment. Again.