Four-and-a-half is a tough age.
Okay, so every age is a tough age, when you're living through it. But four-and-a-half is specially tough when you have a new baby sister and all the love you had from Mommy and Daddy now gets split in half. It seems like she gets everything, you get nothing, you can't do anything right...there are often tears, and Mom and Dad sometimes can't even kiss and cuddle away the tears because they are busy with HER...
But...there are still some good things at four-and-a-half. Here's one: Peeper's new "high bed". Getting this "Kura" loft bed was an adventure in itself - let's just say that Portland IKEA gets a C-minus for customer service and leave it at that, shall we? And Sunday afternoon was like something out of Dante's Hell: pieces of high bed all over the Peeperroom, Maxine weepy with killer diaper rash and finally falling apart right before naptime, daddy doing the single-dad act with Mojo off enjoying a deserved Mommy-break...and then the Wilsons (Oscar the Ginormous Fish's family?) arrived!
It all worked out. Peep and his little friend The Poet got gloriously filthy playing diggers in the dirt pile in the alley; Ian and I had fun shooting AirSoft rifles; Missy got her nap; Mojo came home burdened with gifts and love for her children and we all sat down to peas, sweet potatoes and a lovely leg of lamb (Christine Wilson loves lamb but with two elementary-school-age boys doesn't get it much. I make a delicious garlic-rosemary lamb roast and the symbiosis works perfectly: I get to cook it, we both get to enjoy it, Mojo and the kids get hot dogs and the kids get french fries).
I should, en passant, thank The Muilleoir Family (of Different Dirt) for their delicious coriander-sweet potato recipe. We had a lovely dinner with them last Thursday livened by much kid energy (the summit was an impromptu kid-parade through kitchen and dining room, with Nola, Peeper and Little Missy an antic kick-line of juvenile strutting and jigging...) and tales of Halloween. We were sorry to hear that Miss Nola didn't like her chicken costume.
So Sunday was difficult in one way. Last night was difficult in another. Peep had been nasty to Mojo in the car on the way home from Missy's doctor visit demanding a treat, so Mojo (in a moment of forge-hot stress) had pronounced the Peeper's Doom: no treats at all today. By the time I got home the sulkiness had exploded into a gale of tantrum and a storm of weeping. Explain as I might, the Peep just didn't "get" the connection between the afternoon's misbehavior and the evening's treatlessness. All of four-and-a-half's tangled resentment, confusion and frustration came storming out in tears.
Eventually the storm blew itself out, as storms will. We shared some popcorn (not candy so not officially a "treat" but also not "dinner" so a bit special) and a cuddle, played with Mojo's abandoned leg-shave cream in the tub, and then into the lovely new high bed to snuggle with the legion of bed friends from Tomas the tiny turtle to the monster Giant Reindeer. Peeper's whispered "I love you, too, Daddy" was drooping with sleep, and he was away before I reached the door.
As I listened in his darkened doorway to the light-breathed sleep of four-and-a-half I thought how sometimes I feel like the Peeper does; I want to give him the time and undivided attention we shared before the Arrival of Little Miss and so I think understand.
But Daddies don't have tantrums and cry, do they?