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Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Daddy's Little Boy


My son's birthday was ten days ago and at two he is now officially a toddler. I've been warned that as he seeks his independence we may hit a rough patch or two. We are all familiar with the "terrible twos" but I have been convinced by my pediatrician to call this period the "teachable twos." I can deal with the change in his disposition because I realize that his behavior is perfectly normal for his age. My challenge is dealing with the surprises that throw me for a loop. The main one is his increased attachment to his father which translates into spending fewer precious moments with me. Admittedly there was a time when I *wished* that his father would take the reins, be the primary care giver and in turn provide me with some (well deserved) free time. However, once my wish came true I found myself pining for the company of my son.

You see, for the first 15 months (give or take) of his life, it was mommy time. I nursed my son for 13 months and since he used a bottle at daycare, we did not bottle feed him at home. The time we spent together while I gave him nourishment was beautiful and the highlight of my day. Although I do admit that when he was especially clingy and wanted to nurse frequently during the day, I longed for my body back. When I decided to wean him it was fairly easy but once he was completely weaned I questioned if I'd made the right decision. Our quiet nursing moments were over and I was unsure of what to expect next. As he gradually gained the confidence and independence to strike out on his own, it became clear that he wanted Daddy.

Daddy is more of a free spirit that believes children should be allowed to develop on their on terms, with boundaries of course. When I wanted to use the Ferber method to put my son to sleep my husband flat out refused. He feels the "cry it out" breaks a child's will and that goes against everything that he believes in. Generally my son and I have a bedtime ritual of reading, prayer, lullabies and rocking in our chair. After about 10 minutes of rocking I usually put him in his bed even when he is still awake. If my son decides to start screaming like a banshee, my husband will come in like a white knight and save the day. This irritates me to no end because there are periods when my husband travels 3 out of 4 weeks a month and I am stuck with the task of trying to balance my son's need to fall asleep in my arms and my need for time alone.

This is becoming less and less of an issue because my husband has been home for a stretch; he puts my son to sleep 4 out of 5 days a week. I quietly sit on the sidelines observing and let the bedtime games begin. I think that this practice has endeared my husband to my son and lately he spends as much time as humanly possible with Daddy. I admit, I am making excuses, my son's desire to spend time with is father is perfectly normal and I am sure to be expected at this age. It is just that as my dream of more "me time" has finally been realized, I miss the time with my son.

And this is my bittersweet reality - I want a momma's boy but love that he bonds with his father and gives me time to myself. To be perfectly honest, I think this is a nice balance. My son certainly spends time with me, we go on our our adventures and while at home we do activities while daddy is working. Today was a perfect day. I had time to myself to complete long neglected household chores while my son spent time with daddy. When he missed me he would barrel up the stairs and we did artwork and played together. This new phase in my life as a parent takes some adjustment but with a little time I think I will appreciate this even more.

Cross posted on BlogHer

18 comments:

Naomi said...

My mom took both kids so I could go to a yoga class and they're still with her a couple hours later. Part of me is glad for the break, since my husband is away and I haven't had a moment to myself, but part of me misses them and wishes they were throwing tantrums and refusing to leave me. But only a small part!

My husband works from home so he spends a lot more time with the kids than most dads typically do and the kids adore him. I am surprised they aren't more upset by his absence because we don't go out of town much so they usually have both parents with them and daddy typically takes them on walks and roughhouses with them. I think kids just naturally gravitate to one parent from time to time and as long as they are getting love and attention, they do okay.

I think Mekhi will always be a mama's boy when he's with you and daddy's boy when he's with his dad. But sometimes it sure doesn't feel like that, I know!

turnitupmom said...

I've really believe that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. What if we called it the "terrific twos" and expected these years to be awesome? I often wonder if we set ourselves up for defeat?

Aria said...

That's my munchkin too. Now that Daddy is home (laid off) Boo has become such a Daddy's Boy! It's nice that they're bonding sooo strongly, but, ummm... where the heck is my son?

African-American Brides said...

My goodness! Look at Mekhi! He is growing up so fast. :) When I was first reading your blog he just a little cute chubster sitting in his highchair. They grow up so quickly, don't they?

Erica

Ms. Bar B: said...

Awwww. See, I don't have this problem, lol. No, wait, yes I do, when my grandmother is involved. My daughter clings to her and barely even looks back at me when its her and granny's time, lol, but then, like you said, when its our time its fully our time.

Don't you worry, because Mekhi will always need and love his mommy =)

Elisa said...

I love having girls. There are very few moments when I wish I had a boy too. This is definitely one of them! Beautiful post.

teachingmom08 said...

I have learned to appreciate the daddy time that my children have with my husband. It gives me my own time for private reflection or cleaning and basicly whatever I feel like doing! Daddy time rocks!

Kathleen W. said...

I loved this post, since I've been longing for my son to "quit me" for a while and be smitten with his daddy. Not that I don't love being around him, but it's exhausting after being with him all day. And also, I think my husband is longing for our son to get really excited when he comes home from work. I keep telling him it's coming, but I'm not sure he believes me.

I'm still nursing at 14 months, planning to wean soon, but it is bittersweet. I will miss that special closeness between us.

Kelly Deneen said...

First of all, happy 2nd birthday to your little boy! That would be really tough. I know that I love when my daughter only wants her mommy, but it would be nice if it was daddy she wanted sometimes too. It sounds like you are all figuring out a balance which will be the best in the long run.

CaraBee said...

I understand what you're saying but what I wouldn't give for some "me" time. I don't think I'd mind if she got a little daddy clingy if it meant I could get some stuff done.

mannequin said...

Oh Renee, things change but they never really change. Boy X is in "all about dad" stage and yes, a mom does feel a bit left out.
I remember reading an article awhile ago that explained the parental attachment stages a child goes through. This particular article included a chronological chart and I became obsessed with trying to figure out when he would be back to mom.
That's the beauty of a mom and a dad; a child has the best of both worlds.
He'll be back. And if I can find that chart, we should be able to calculate the date :)

Sheliza said...

awwww, what a sweet post and I just love the photo!! William is a daddy's boy all the way.

LaTonya Yvette said...

awwww Renee you are going to make me cry. I wish I had a son, well it is a little to late for that (lol) Your baby has grown up so much. You have a little man now. Enjoy!

Ali said...

My youngest just turned 5--I'm still waiting for him to switch to "daddy's boy" :)

Playground for Parents said...

Thank you for going deep.
I am so familiar with your ambivalence - wanting separation, and missing them once you have it; encouraging the Daddy bond, and feeling envious when Daddy's chosen over you. But, guess what, darlin', they come back around! LOL. You will return to being his favorite person on the planet. And you will return to wanting more me time!
This parenting this is such a wild ride.
xo

Banteringblonde said...

My daughter abandoned me too! lol she calls me daddy sometimes!

Jennifer said...

Now that's a beautiful post! Well said! I feel the same way, especially since I'm starting to ween my little one, and the cuddling is slowly giving way to the arching back! *sigh* Ah well. What can I do? :-)

Thanks for stopping by my blog today!

Tooj said...

I've been exactly where you are, and it can be rough at first, when they reach for Daddy more. It sounds like you balance the sadness with the knowledge that indeed you ARE getting you time, and you ARE still needed in his daily routine. He's just been so comfortable with you, he's ready to establish that strong bond with Daddy now. :) (I won't go into the sleeping thing....Daddies make it rough on mommies who know that sometimes...kids need to learn to calm themselves down and put themselves to sleep. Rocking a 7 year old just doesn't sound appealing to me! :) Good luck.)

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