Parental VIP

I’d say it is pretty normal for two year olds to have clearly defined preferences. Caroline likes “Lion” better than “Mouse,” prefers her bath doll, and would rather stay in jimmies all day than get dressed (I am with her on that one!). Things I have read recently state that it is normal for her to even prefer one parent and lately that parent is Mommy. If I am being truthful, there has always been a slight preference for me. For a long time I chalked it up to nursing and my being home with her two days. Mommy is the one she goes to the park with, the one who takes her to the fun music class. Mommy is the one who snuggles with her and reads books in the afternoon while we wait for Daddy to get home from work.

Lately, the Mommycentricness has increased to a point where I feel it might be a bit out of control. I won’t even pretend that there isn’t a part of me that feels reassured by my little girl’s attention, but when I watch her reach her arms out and strain to free herself from her father’s grip for mine – it makes my heart ache a bit.

At my father’s birthday brunch over the weekend, I was told she did not handle my absence to gather up another plate of Belgian waffles well. And there were many trips for waffles, they were SO SO good! When I walked away she was turning around in her seat asking where I had gone. As I stood contemplating which salad to try I heard my mother “Mommy went to get you some fruit, she will be right back.” I had been gone for only a moment.

On the weekends when we all snuggle together in bed watching Mickey or Manny, she lets me envelop her in my arms and press my cheek to hers all while pushing her father’s kisses and hugs away. I suggest to him that his scruffy face might be the cause but I also think she might like the sad reaction this warrants – cause and effect is pretty fun for her right now.

She will comply when I say “tell Daddy you love him” but will ignore his requests to parrot anything. She says “Stop it, Steve” when he is doing something she doesn’t like and in the very next moment will say “excuse me” for him if a rogue belch escapes his lips. She's a selective listener where he is concerned.

We also appear to have just entered another separation anxiety phase. Recently the morning drop offs have been challenging. It is the one time that she clings to Steve and does not want him to let her go. Tuesdays are the toughest; she’s been home with us for four days and I know that as much as she loves school, it is hard to readjust back to the craziness of her classroom.

I know that like all things this phase will pass by. I know that in ten years time she will be confiding in her father and asking him why her mother is so oblivious to her tween angst? “Daddy, why is she so cold and heartless?” I know Steve will be well-equipped to handle all that when the time comes, but right now, I don’t know how to handle my preferred status, particularly because it is clearly hurting my husband.

Last night we sat on the floor in her room and Steve wrestled her into her pjs. With her between us I said, "Don't you love it when she just looks at you and touches your face like this?" while putting my hand against his cheek softly. She immediately mimicked my actions; gently rubbing his cheek with her hand in a simple loving way. The look that swept over his face told me that this was all he needed to know she loves him. It was the look of love.


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