Tuesday, May 28, 2013

When children choose favourites (and it's not mommy)

When Noah was born, he was quite literally glued to me. To eat. To burp. To cuddle. To nap. I loved the weight of his warm little body on my chest. At the same time I also craved time to myself. Time away from this little person that demanded everything from me when he was growing inside my belly, and continued after he was born.  I would attempt hand him off to hubby to take a break, and he would scream like his heart was broken. So back into my arms he went.

Fast forward two years.  Now I'm lucky to get a brief smooch or cuddles when hubby isn't around, or when he wants something and I tell him he has to kiss me first. But that assumes he isn't already sobbing because daddy is missing. If we come home from daycare and daddy isn't home - tears. Daddy leaves the room or tries to pee alone - tears. Bedtime cuddles? Yep you guessed it!

I have friends with toddlers and newborns who are facing a similar situation.  Except that the toddler is choosing daddy because mommy is always holding the baby, so it’s out of anger or jealousy.  One friend even told me her son said “mommy no!” when she attempted to hug him, and then ran to daddy.  I can’t imagine how hard that must be, and how guilty she must feel in those moments. 

I know I should be happy to have all this time to myself, and I also know this too shall pass, but it still twinges when he doesn't choose me.  Most of my brain is occupied by thoughts of him and making sure he has everything he needs to grow up strong, kind and independent.  But daddy is the fun one. He drives a jeep, plays sports and knows how to make him crack a smile mid-tantrum. Maybe mommy needs to take a page out of the dad playbook and get down and dirty a little more often!  Either way, I'm very lucky to have two special boys in my life, so I should set aside my feelings and be happy that Noah has a loving daddy that he adores!

I know I’m not alone in this, how have you handled the “favourites” phases?  And for parents of multiple children, how did you manage the transition when your second child arrived?