For a really long time, it was all about Momma.
“I want my Mommy.”
“Mommy, fix it.”
And while it was exhausting and at times emotionally draining, I secretly loved it. I loved that my son knew that if he needed anything, he could come to me. When he was upset, he needed me. When he wanted to be held, he wanted me.
His fixation with me showed up in playtime, too. He would hold up a big dinosaur and a small dinosaur and excitedly proclaim:
“Look! Momma dishaur and baby dishaur!”
When we read books, it was all about the mommies.
“Where baby bird mommy go? Where mommy?” (“Are You My Mother?” was a big hit around here.)
Then a few weeks ago, it all changed.
David started taking Monster to work with him a few days a week, as we get a few hours of free childcare there (yes, we are incredibly lucky).
All of a sudden, my son was running out the door with Daddy without even saying good-bye.
“Bye, hun! I love you, baby. I’ll miss you!”
He’d flip his hand in my direction and say, “I go work” and leave.
I felt a little sad, but convinced myself that he was simply excited to be with his father, and that’s a good thing.
A few days later at the park, he took a tumble. OK – let’s get real, the kid always falls down, falls off things, bonks his head, scrapes his knees.
Why this particular incident was any different, I don’t know. But he fell, and I walked over to check on him and he refused my embrace and said, “I want Daddy.”
Breathe, Kate, breathe. It’s just a fluke.
Then one night he wasn’t feeling well and crawled into bed with me. I felt so happy snuggling next to my little man, feeling safe in my place as his go-to parent.
Until 2 a.m. when he sat up straight and yelled, “I want my Daddy!”
OK, you know, maybe he had a bad dream.
The next morning, he was happily playing with his animals.
We have a safari and a farm set that have two of every animal, a bigger and a smaller one. He plays with each one, naming them “Mommy elephant” and “Baby elephant” and so on. He loves these animals. They go everywhere with him, even to bed.
I was working from the comfort of the couch when I heard him say, “Baby alligator. DADDY alligator. Baby zebra. DADDY zebra. Baby piggy. DADDY piggy.”
Oh. Hell. No.
Even the animals have gone the way of the father?
I mean, I can take crying for daddy. I can take being excited for Monster-Daddy time. But now I have even been removed from his animals, the steadfast symbols that apparently define parent-child relationships for this little boy?
In reality, it’s a good thing. For so long it was all about Momma, and my husband eagerly awaited the day he could take Monster to a basketball game or play football with him. And now it’s finally happening.
I’m now just the woman who makes his PB&Js. I’m the chick who drives him to the park and changes his diapers. I’m the lady with the grapes/strawberries/crackers.
But you know what? Ain’t nobody love that kid as much as his momma. So I’ll stand by as he goes through this phase and eagerly wait for the day when he needs me again.