The hubby and I took a two-day getaway to Las Vegas (the furthest I’ve traveled kid-free since String Bean was born), while brave grandma stayed with the girls. She says they did fine, kept the basic routine with some added elements, like a checklist written in big bold caps, that the girls got to check off as they completed each item (eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, go potty, etc.). The girls apparently loved the list concept, and were not just cooperative, but eager to get through each step just so they could use a colored marker to check off the big empty box before the item.
We came home from the airport during naps (which the girls, miraculously, took, all three days for their grandma, after weeks of non-napping for me). When String Bean woke up, she first wanted to know if we’d brought her a present from our trip, and then (while wearing the new necklace she’d scored), she wanted to cuddle on my lap for the next two days solid. It’s how it always is with her when I go away, whether for an evening, a night, or a weekend. She is happy to see me when I get back, and reluctant to let me out of her sight for a few days. She gets tearful if I try to sneak off to the bathroom without telling her where I’m going, is moody at the next school drop off, calls me back into her room frequently after putting her to bed with silly questions and concerns, just to make sure I’m still there.
When I got Peanut up from her nap after being gone for two days, she smiled at seeing me and said, “Grandma said you were coming home.” I picked her up in a big hug, gave her a kiss, and she immediately said, “Put me down,” and was off and running to find Grandma, her big sister, her new doll house. Peanut’s behavior is pretty much exactly the same with me whether I’ve been gone or not.
I guess it’s a nice combination, one higher-maintenance and clingier child who makes me feel endlessly needed, but can also wear me down with her demands, and one easy-going less affectionate child who doesn’t make me feel like the center of her universe, but never taxes my reserves when I’m running low after a couple of late nights. I do look forward to the day when I can take an overnight break for myself and not feel like I have to make it up to String Bean afterward. But I also know that when that day comes, I’ll miss being the most important person in her world, just a little.