"Being a good dad starts with presence not presents"
Tilley wanders around half in her pj's as I sit on the floor holding Lucy on my lap, tears stream down her face. It's so strange, she has never been a big crier and she is breaking down completely over not being able to zip up her onesie. 'Whats wrong Lulu?' and her answer makes everything clear. 'I miss mummy' she chokes through her tears. For the last three weeks the girls and I have been going it alone. Sheena's taking some schooling in India for the month and we plan to fly out after three weeks, spend a week traveling around and meet her in Goa for her last week of school. Now for the first time in three weeks, I feel completely lost. All I can do is hug her tight, console her and reassure her that I miss mummy to and we will see her in a weeks time in India.
Having two girls (3 and 1.5) that love to be read to is great. They will listen to so many different stories about far off places and amazing creatures. However as a dad it plays on my mind the type of message i'm sending to them if I read to many princess saved by hero or girl as the damsel books. So last year I set about on a search for some books that I felt, sent the message to Lucy and Tilley that they can, be happy, do anything they put their mind to and achieve amazing things under their own steam...............Prince not required.
So here is my list, it is by no means comprehensive and only my opinion but when I read them to my daughters I get a good feeling in my heart about what the books are saying. Although they may not realize it yet I hope subconsciously its empowering them now and for down the road in later life.
Tug tug, Tug tug. I wake up to a small hand holding my bread and pulling gently but firmly. My eye's open and I follow the hand, then arm down to find its attached to my youngest daughter, who's still fast asleep. I release her grip and place her arm back down by her side, check Lucy who is sleeping against a pillow on the far side of the bed then fall back asleep.
Since Lucy was born we have been co-sleeping. To be honest it was almost completely unplanned (the co-sleeping not Lucy). When she was first born she slept on my chest then this transitioned into my arm then between us and she kind of never left. Now at 3 and half she has her own bed and sleeps in it 50% of the time. When she does start in her bed usually at around 2 in the morning she will climb up between us and snuggle under my arm. When we found out we were pregnant with Tilley we actually up sized from a queen to a king bed to accommodate co-sleeping with both girls. The thought never crossed our mind that one or both would be sleeping in with us most of the time.
I'm standing at the cooker, potatoes boiling over, Tilley tugging on my trousers 'uppie, uppie' and Lucy melting down over not being able to get her princess dress on. I slide the potatoes to the side, pick up Tilley and tug on a princess dress as Lucy's head pops through the top and she happily wiggles her arms into the holes. I grab my trusty mini speaker from its place on top of the fridge and scroll through my playlist. The music flows out of the speaker and the girls dance around and play while I go back to burning the potatoes.
We all have our 'panic buttons'. Things we use to defuse situations that are spiraling down. For some people it's TV, others it's reading or coloring. For me, when the sh*t's about to hit the fan (or already has) I turn to my playlists.