My daughter's Abba came in for the weekend last week, took my girl to the zoo, picked her up after shul next day and let her play all afternoon in the sandbox. Oh, she loved it. She loves hanging out with him. And I'm very glad it all seems to be working out. He might not be very into the nitty gritty, but he's a very loving playmate to her.
On the other hand, what has she done with me this last month? I've not been fun at all. After work we're in the garden. Then I'm cooking and feeding her, reading, going to bed. In the morning we snuggle and read, then back to the chores of getting us both ready and with food for the day.
You know what? She's the best. She has her own watering can, her own little shovel. She wears herself out pouring water (mainly on the footpath and not on the tomatoes, but who cares), carrying the can back and forth from the faucet to the garden. She digs until she's so dirty we have to strip her before we go inside.
At home she makes a game of playing cooking while I cook. We've got Ikea toy cookware, and I taped her hand-drawn oven knobs to the top of an empty shelf. That's her oven. I give her a couple of potatoes, a little water, and she's good to go. Then she stands at the sink and plays washing dishes. Should I feel bad that she loves her tiny broom? That she spends hours pushing around her babydoll stroller, even outside?
When I'm done, we paint pictures and read, dance and talk.
But I'm sorry that, even though I do everything around the home, the "everything" I do is so stereotypically gendered. Sure, I nail things, repair things. But on a day-to-day basis, it's the housework she sees and mimics. Well, everyone should know how to cook and clean for himself or herself, I guess.
We do talk about going to work. "I don't want you to go to work today, Ima," she says. Well, I explain, when I go to work I can get money so we can buy food and clothes. You will go to work one day, too, I tell her. What do you want to do when you go to work? "I want to do fun work when I go to work," she says. She's right.
The other day she asked me if I was going to work that day to get some money. Yes, I said. She told me not to go to work that day. We have enough money, she said.
In today's economy, I know I can't afford anything less than all I've got at work. But I know that my dearest girl is only going to be 2 1/2 once.