I relax with a book once I know the girls are asleep, and then hop in the shower. When I open our bedroom door, wearing a sweatsuit with my hair in a wet ponytail, Andrew is in the hallway with the girls. He lies on the floor wrestling with Paige, and Payton watches. She climbs on top of Andrew and pushes Paige off. “No Payton.” Andrew gently sets her aside and puts Paige back on his chest.
“Why don’t you let her have a turn? She probably wants some attention too.” I sit down and lean against the wall, watching Paige bounce up and down on Andrew’s chest.
“I just finished playing with her before you came over. Now she needs to wait her turn.”
Payton, unsmiling, doesn’t take her eyes off Andrew and Paige. I feel bad for her. “Do you want to sit on my lap while you wait your turn?” I pay my leg, enticing her. Andrew is the jungle gym whereas I’m the bench on the side of the playground.
Payton shakes her head, eyes never leaving them.
I stand up to leave since no one is interested in me. Paige notices and climbs off Andrew. “Mommy!” Paige wobbles towards me with her arms out for a hug. As Paige gets closer, Payton shoots up and pushes Paige down. She makes a barrier between us. Paige sits on the floor. She looks confused and she’s crying.
“Payton! That is NOT okay!!” Payton’s face crumples and she howls, fat tears rolling down her face. Andrew pulls Paige onto his lap and hugs her.
I take a few deep breaths. A little calmer, I tell Payton it isn’t okay to push Paige. But I’m still really pissed.