So Tess woke up the other day with a smile on her face and a diaper on her butt – something to celebrate all around! She got feisty with Flamine after breakfast, but we figured a nap would solve that. We met with the au pair coordinator for orientation, then Dave and I dove in on work and left Flamine in charge of the little rascals.
The next thing we know, Flamine knocks at our door accompanied by a naked Tess, who apparently found her diaper more fun as a paint brush. We made Tess clean up, took everything out of her bed, and apologized profusely to poor Flamine, who hours before had said how well she was settling in. I’m guessing she’s over that.
Tess cried all day and was miserable to poor Flamine. She put Tess down for a nap; Tess climbed out of bed. We put Tess in time out – she climbed out of baby jail. Not with any malicious intent! Just to bring her crying closer to the audience.
We decided the escalation was going nowhere and changed tactics. You’re too big for the crib? Fine. We’ll try the big girl bed. Let’s just say that was not a super successful sell.
All in all, sobbing and screaming delighted all of the household adults from morning til night. At some point, we realized Tess had just completely lost it, and focused on snuggles, talking, bunny, mommy and daddy – to no avail. She sobbed herself to sleep finally, way past bedtime and with no closure. Flamine, Dave and I, spent, ate tacos at the kitchen table and commiserated until we could finally laugh a little. Then we stumbled to bed, praying the nightmare would magically disappear overnight. Aside from a lost bunny panic around 2 am, we got our wish: Tess woke up her usual sweet self. She looks tired, but is chatting with Flamine and calmly eating her apple…with diaper and pjs firmly attached.
Over the following days, Tess threw every whiny, naughty trick she could come up with at the three adults in the house. She knocked herself out. Really though, she just misses Sarah Kay and doesn’t know how to show it. She’s trying to figure out how this carousel of adults fits together, as Estelle and Sarah Kay left, as Sassy and Pappi pop in and out, with Moplinger and Poplinger about to jump in. To be fair, I have trouble keeping track of it myself! Lots of big emotions for a little person to handle. Flamine put it well: Tess is testing her to make sure she’s going to stay. (Flamine’s pretty intuitive!)
Next week, Dave and I are each traveling for work: me Monday/Tuesday and Dave Wednesday/Thursday. We’re going to stir those leavings and comings up a little bit more before things settle down. Thank goodness Flamine is a rock star! She’ll be the glue of constancy holding this together.
Thus ends the three-week chaos window! It’s time for us all to take a deep breath and adjust to our new normal. Hopefully, that will not include future days of wailing and gnashing of teeth.