This morning I woke (or should I say "was awakened"?) at 6am and immediately began to fantasize that I could give Paul an entire 24-hour period to be completely responsible for Owen and our household.
He would have to wake up with her, let her drag him downstairs in the dim light of morning, and try to come up with something she will eat. He would have to struggle with changing her, try to clean her up when she slams her little butt cheeks tight against the cold baby wipes, try to wrestle her into some clothes.
He would have to entertain her ALL DAY. It would be his hand she pulled on hundreds of times a day, his body she climbed and elbowed and pushed her knees into. He would have to figure out what to feed her and when, to decide which snacks are okay and when.
I would make him have to do her laundry so that he would know what it's like to try to clean the myriad stains that appear on her clothes. I would make him have to keep the floors shiny and muck-free and the toys picked up and the non-toys that were used as toys put in their places so that prospective buyers would look at our house and think that if there is a child here, that child has not damaged or destroyed anything in this house at any time.
I would make him have to try to get her to take a nap, to sleep for a brief time so that he can do the above tasks. Or deal with not just the witching hour but the witching afternoon that follow a napless day.
He would have to do all of this through to bedtime, then bathe her, and try, again, to get her to sleep.
I wouldn't make him have to do the dishes and clean up after that--he could watch some TV, then, or go on to bed (or get up with her when she fusses and wriggles herself partially awake again).
But then I recognized the evil nature of such thoughts. Sheepishly I realized that if such a fantasy were to come true, he would probably handle it beautifully. Far better than I do on a daily basis. He always had a stronger work ethic than I did.
So I banished the fantasy from my thoughts.
Then tonight, out of the blue, he says to me in the most kind and sincere and understanding way: "it must be really hard for you taking care of her all day by yourself. It must really be exhausting. I don't see how you do it."