This past summer our family moved to a new home. This move coincided with our older daughter moving up to intermediate school and it meant we were no longer in the boundaries for busing at our younger daughter’s school. My husband has always had morning duty with our girls since my work requires me to go into the office much earlier than him. With my older daughter now at a new school and on a new schedule she started to get a ride to school with me. This meant that every morning, for an hour and a half, my husband and younger daughter were home together.
My younger daughter, H, has always been a momma’s girl. Even if momma is the one who upset her she still would seek comfort from momma, not daddy. She has the exceptional skill of knowing how to push my husband’s buttons and is extremely strong-willed. I foresaw many morning arguments over-brushing hair, getting her backpack ready and being on time for school.
The first couple of weeks went as I expected. There were battles over ponytails and three tardies to school. As we have gotten further into the school year though I’ve heard less and less about ponytail tantrums and rushing to get to school on time. They developed a routine and their own rituals. They have breakfast and then while he showers she cuddles with our dogs and does her required reading for school.
H has always used her cuteness and status as the youngest to get out of doing things. She knows if she throws a fit her big sister will give in and do it for her and she figured this out at a very young age. With this change in our routine, she no longer had her big sister there in the mornings to do her bidding. Last week the garbage needed to be taken out so I asked our older daughter to do it, who naturally wasn’t too thrilled with the chore. In comes H saying I’ll do it and sure enough she takes out the garbage bag from the can, the bag is almost as big as her, walks it out to the can in our garage, comes back in and puts in a new bag. When did you learn that? I asked her. Tuesdays are garbage days and I’m daddy’s helper was her matter of fact reply.
One on One Time
When I asked my husband about it he said H and I have an understanding. So I asked H what this understanding was. She responded If I throw tantrums we don’t talk in the car. H has started to cherish that one on one time in the mornings with her dad. Especially during the car ride to school when my husband is her captive audience. It’s her opportunity to talk to daddy without her sister interrupting and she looks forward to that 10 minute drive.
When we moved I knew it was a good choice for our family but I had no idea what a positive impact it would have on my husband’s relationship with our younger daughter. H still loves to push her dad’s buttons and still has the occasional ponytail tantrum. The good mornings now outnumber the bad and H’s insistence on being early for school has been a big help for my husband who is perpetually late. I know when H is grown she is going to remember her mornings with daddy and it’s going to be those car conversations and being daddy’s helper that she’ll remember, not the ponytail tantrums.
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