My weekend falls on a Thursday and Friday. Mr T, on the other hand, has the usual Friday and Saturday off each week. Which officially makes Saturdays "Daddy & Baby" days in our household.
I remember the first time I left those two together to fend for themselves. After 5,000 kisses (all piled on Baby A, of course) and 3,000 admonitions to Mr T to "absolutely call me any time if anything happens and do not, DO NOT, drop the baby", I managed to make it to the front door of our apartment, finally.
"I'm off," I announced to my seemingly nonchalant husband, who was almost completely hoarse from repeatedly telling me not to worry. Within seconds, he was right at that front door with me.
"What?" he said to me. "What do you mean? She's still awake! Aren't you going to put her to sleep first? I thought you were going to just make sure she's asleep before you left."
We've progressed somewhat since then. Nowadays, I have a nagging suspicion that my husband can't wait to get rid of me on Saturday mornings.
"Hurry up," he said to me just two mornings ago, practically force-feeding me my breakfast. "You'll be late." I still had 45 minutes to go and work is no more than a 10-minute car ride away.
Saturday afternoons, I come home to a house in various states of disarray, and the two of them still in their pyjamas. Or, if I had already dressed the baby, then she will most probably have gone through an inexplicable wardrobe change. "How come she's not wearing the dress I put on her this morning?" I'd ask. "Ummm...I'd rather not say," Mr T would reply, usually while trying to distract me from going near the washing machine. The bed is never made, pillows are strewn all over the place and, once, a "fortress" made of cushions and blankets was erected, pride of place, in the centre of Baby A's room. Our then three-month-old child, according to my husband, is already a fan of homemade forts.
Throughout the day, I receive images and updates from Mr T about the status of Baby A's day with daddy. "This girl is refusing to eat," one read. "Is this normal?"
"She pooped," announced another. "I was able to save the couch, but three layers of her clothing and my jeans have been caught in the disaster."
My favourite? "Does she NEVER SLEEP?!?!"
Most of the pictures he sends me are of Baby A surrounded by toys, with a perplexed expression on her face. I know what she's thinking. "What exactly am I supposed to do with all these toys, and why does he keep throwing new ones at me?"
I overheard him talking to her one Friday night, as he was changing her nappy. "Tomorrow is Saturday," he informed her. "Mama is off to work and you'll be with daddy all day. You can't wait? Me neither."
Thanks to Baby A, I see my husband in a completely new light. I catch a glimpse of his face as he stares at her and hear that timbre in his voice when he chats to her, and I marvel that I was able to pick the perfect guy to be the father to my little girl. There's the beauty of married life in those golden days right after the wedding. Then there's the pricelessness that comes with a pint-sized dictator who has managed to wrap her father around her little finger, providing me with a front-row ticket to the best show ever.
Hala Khalaf is the deputy Arts&Life editor at The National