When Daddy’s Away…Annalise Knows???

Jason has a great job. He loves it. He’s good at it. His co-workers and supervisors love him. Occasionally he has to travel to supplier facilities, mostly within a day’s drive. While I love so many things about Jason’s work, I dread these overnight trips. They come too often, in my opinion. Mad respect for single moms or military wives.

The most challenging thing isn’t that I get lonely, or bored, while he’s gone. I mean, Jason and I have been married 5 years. I don’t need him by my side every day. Call it lethargy security. (I am also an introvert, and love curling up with a book or HGTV.) The main thing is that I get tired of taking care of Annalise and our dog 24-7 for more than 24 hours. Who cooks dinner and then cleans the toddler, the dishes, and the kitchen afterwards? Who does the nighttime routine, and then walks the dog? It’s a lot for me. I’m sure there are other moms that do more on a regular basis, but it really wears me out.

But I digress. I have a theory: toddlers know when Daddy is gone. I swear it. The very day Jason got in his car to leave for his last trip, Annalise started acting up. This time? Hitting.

Now Annalise knows that we don’t hit. It’s one of the battles I choose to fight every.single.time. “No hit Mama.” “No hit Mya (our dog).” Annalise pushes against rules pretty frequently, but usually not in a malicious, rebellious way. More out of curiosity and limit-testing. But not this time. Rebellion. Frustration. Violence. All in my sweet, curious, fun-loving daughter.

I think this trip only meant 2 full days with Jason away. And in that time, I was probably smacked in my face (hard) a dozen + times by Annalise. A few times, she hit me so hard that my glasses flew off (!!!). Now, I mostly can keep my cool with Annalise. I understand that she’s usually frustrated or sick or tired when she acts out. But she still has to learn that we do NOT hit. It’s not okay. And that’s where my friend, discipline, comes in.

Now I know there are LOTS of strong opinions out there on disciplining children, and then the age-appropriateness of when to do what. But let me just say it (and please, have mercy on me): I do believe in corporal punishment. And I use it. And I also ignore Annalise, which is very effective since she seeks so much attention. Regardless of your stance on discipline, I have to tell you, I could not believe how much I had to discipline this child when Daddy was gone. What had gotten into her?

And you know what? As soon as Jason was back, it’s like the hitting never happened. She hasn’t hit me in the face once since then. What gives?

Is it just coincidence that she decided to slap me around while Daddy was gone? Or did she somehow know that Mommy was in a vulnerable place and decided to push limits? And of course, Jason is going away again soon…this time I might wear contacts.

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