A sound came from the computer.
“Your Daddy is calling,” I said to the kids, accepting the phone call from Skype.
“I’ve been calling for like ten minutes,” Tom’s face came onto the screen. “What were you doing?”
Um. Taking care of two children. Two loud children. And…
“We were dancing to Wedding Bell Blues by The Fifth Dimension,” I admitted.
Tom frowned. “What?” He doesn’t get the music I listen to. He listens to rap or music where the singer screams at you. I don’t want to listen to music where people scream at me. I get that enough from my children.
“You know.” I swallowed, cleared my throat, and started to sing. “BILL! I love you soooo, I always will...”
“Who is Bill?” Tom wanted to know.
I shrugged. “Not sure. I just like the song.”
“It sounds awful,” Tom, ever the tactful male, said.
“It’s better than what you listen to,” I argued. “But anyhow, I’m glad you’re here. You need to talk to Natalie. She’s been naughty the past few days.”
“Tell her no,” Tom answered as though it were that easy. I hate when I tell him that the kids aren’t listening because he immediately goes, ‘Tell them no.’ Well, duh, I’ve tried that.
“Tell her no,” I repeated. “What a wonderful idea, Tom. I did not think of that.”
“You don’t have to be sarcastic. Here, I’ll talk to her,” Tom volunteered.
I plopped Natalie in the computer chair. She was dressed in her Rapunzel dress and she waved at Tom. “Hi, Daddy!”
“Daddy has something to talk to you about,” I explained and then left the room. It hit me that I had space! I had real, actual space. I didn’t have a kid attached to my ankle. I didn’t have a kid asking me for something. I was free! Freee! I mean, only for a few minutes, but still. I almost didn’t know what to do with myself. Maybe I could read a few pages of my book. Yes! I can’t do that during the day. I settled down on the living room chair and opened my book. I could hear Tom’s muffled voice.
Ahhh…it was so nice having another parent in the house again.
I began to read and then...
Tom. Ugh, what? Was he already done?
I shut my book reluctantly and then went back to the computer.
“She told me that she loved me,” Tom said, looking panicked. “I tried to be stern with her and she told me she loved me.”
“And?” I’m used to Natalie doing that. If I’m chastising her, she’ll go, “But I love you. Very much,” and I’m all, “If you love me very much, show it. Plopping down in the middle of the store and refusing to get up does not show love.”
“It’s just…I don’t want her mad at me when I’m halfway across the world. She said she’d be good though. Surely she couldn’t have been too bad,” Tom said.
“Oh, she was bad. I took her to the mall and she screamed at the top of her lungs because she wanted to play in the mall playground. I told her no, she freaked out some more to the point where people were leaning out of the stores, wanting to know what was going on. They probably thought someone was dying. It was mortifying, Tom. I tried everything, I told her to stop it, I even tried Supernanny’s ‘this is unacceptable behavior’ line, complete with a British accent, but that just confused her. She’s just extra stubborn these days so taking her out can be a nightmare,” I rambled.
Seriously, that mall trip was awful. I had to carry her out kicking and screaming and one store worker had the nerve to go, “She has lungs, doesn’t she?” I was tempted to reply, “Really? I have no clue, do you want a daughter? I so wanted a daughter because I thought they were quiet and dainty but the one I got won’t shut up.”
“Did you get upset at the mall, sweetie?” Tom asked Natalie.
“Tell her not to do that, Tom. She’ll take it better from you, she doesn’t like disappointing you. Me, she could care less,” I urged.
“Listen to your mother,” Tom said blandly. It was as though he were saying something like, “Isn’t the weather lovely today?” and “Kumquat is a funny word to say.”
“I will, Daddy,” Natalie said sweetly. “I love you, Daddy. Look, I’m a Princess.” She stood up in the chair, swooshing her dress back and forth.
“You’re beautiful,” Tom replied.
“And loud. Don’t forget that she’s loud. Not all the time but a good portion of the time,” I cut in. He hasn’t really seen a meltdown from Natalie. Sure, she got upset when he was around, but nothing like she has been doing. He never saw her stomp one of her feet down and go, “I won’t!” He never had to witness her settling down in the middle of the store, arranging her skirt neatly around her and announcing, “I’m staying here.”
I guess I’m on my own for now.
Until Tom comes back and sees that his daughter isn’t as angelic as he thinks.
Of course, with my luck, Natalie will only ever be on her best behavior around him and then leave the tantrums for me.
Aren’t I lucky?