This afternoon, Zoe woke up from her nap and told me about a grasshopper who was green, and lived under the carpet with Elmo. We decided to check under our rugs for a grasshopper, and when we didn’t find one she decided she would wait, and sat down in front of a rug which she periodically checked for grasshopper activity.
It seemed totally bizarre to me, but not incomprehensible. I understood exactly what she was talking about, even if it was a little fantastical. Steve confirmed that on Sesame Street today there was in fact a grasshopper under a rug and lots of discussion about it. Zoe had explained all of the pertinent details to me so we could talk together about it. That’s brand new behavior. Her conversations until now have consisted of isolated words, referring back to an experience we had already shared.
Yes, I remember seeing the peacock at the zoo.
Yes, that peacock did jump up on our table. That was kind of scary, huh?
I remember that he stole your chicken. What a bad peacock!
No no no!
That’s right. You told him no, and that’s just what you should do.
Suddenly, she can count to twenty. She can speak in complete sentences. She can walk carefully down the stairs with “big girl steps” instead of sitting down and scooting. She can carry on a conversation, and express new ideas to someone who doesn’t already know what she’s talking about. She has moved into larger clothes.
While I was gone for a week playing in Milwaukee and then being stuck in Atlanta, Zoe has grown up what feels like another whole year. And I have such mixed feelings. I LOVE my career, and I enjoy traveling, and the work I’ve been doing lately has been truly inspiring. I know that Zoe is flourishing with Steve – he’s a wonderful Daddy.
But I can’t believe that I’ve just missed a week of such amazing development. I work from home much of the time, but this month is all about traveling – Chicago, Milwaukee, Atlanta, Arizona, Peoria – and I shudder at how much I am missing.
I feel guilty that I am having the fun and Steve is stuck at home. I feel justified, because of course we do need the money and I am earning it. I feel eager to be away and have quiet time to practice, write, and read. I feel frantic to be with my daughter again and spend every waking minute reading to her, snuggling with her, teaching her, and running around after her at the zoo.
And I’m sure there is not a perfect solution. We just keep making it work, and it is working. The money always comes from somewhere. Some weeks I’m home, some weeks Steve is, but Zoe is always with someone who loves her. She is turning into an amazing person. Being with her as much as I am is such a blessing. We just keep searching for the work/home/mommy/daddy balance, and some days are closer to perfect than others.