Thursday, January 7, 2010

Daddy's boy.

Suddenly I'm no longer Mummy of the moment.

For the first eleven months of his life, Oliver was my baby. And by that I mean mine primarily. Unlike Matthew, our first child, Oliver's attention wasn't split between his parents so much. It was all on me. The natural closeness of mother and baby were strengthened by breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and him being strapped against my chest in a carrier for the first few months.

Then, around a month ago, he discovered Daddy. It was like a switch was flipped somewhere in his head as he suddenly found this whole other equally important person. And the transformation has been startling.

It's most noticeable when J arrives home from work. Each night the same routine ensues: Oliver catches sight of his Dad coming in the door and begins a little performance of bouncing, wiggling, flapping, crying, laughing and wailing. All at once. Basically he is beside himself. It's quite a scene. And this wild display goes on until finally J picks him up (sometimes before his coat is even off). And then, as if by magic, the face of desperation turns to sheer contentment.

You know that smug cat from Alice In Wonderland - the Cheshire Cat? That look of contentment.


I suppose I could be aghast by this. Outraged or something. My baby, with whom I've spent all this precious time, barely bats an eyelid at my presence and yet here he is flailing frantically at the sight of his Dad. I could feel redundant, or deflated. But actually, you know, I'm relieved. Pleased. Somehow the knowledge that Oliver is aware of another parent is a comfort to me. It means now the Daddy-son bonding can begin. And it feels like it's time.

So I'm no longer Mummy of the moment. But I'm okay with that.

But bloody hell, no one has ever been that pleased to see me.

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Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy said...

Go out for the day. They'd be as pleased to see you when you get back (and so will Daddy!).

Mwa said...

Aaah. Good for you for not being jealous. I don't like it when mothers come between their children and their daddies. I've seen it happen and it stinks.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

We had the opposite experience with my Oliver. He was crazy about his dad as a baby and only became a mommy's boy when I was pregnant (he was around 16 mos old when I noticed the change). I remember one very hormonal moment after I went back to work and had a crying fit over Chris joking about how Oliver liked him best. I was like, "who the hell am I here?" I'm not a stay at home mom, so it's not like I can say that he's with me all day and you're something new. It's like I the B Team dad!" Now I miss those days of grasping fingers that weren't firmly clenched around MY ankles...

LZ @ My Messy Paradise said...

Take the opportunity to not have a child hanging on to you!
My youngest has been stuck to me like glue for 2+ years and now is favoring Daddy. Woo-hoo! I get a break. Someone else can put her to put her to bed, to play with her, etc. She'll come back to me, but, until then I'm 30 lbs lighter.

Lady Mama said...

Brit in Bosnia - Funnily I don't feel too left out - more a feeling that it's J's time to be #1 parent with the baby.

Mwa - True. No point in being jealous - parent-child closeness is a good thing.

Kate - Aww! I can imagine how hard that must have been. I do think in the end it all evens out though.

LZ - The break is nice!

Some kind of Wondermom said...

He'll be back. :)

I'm nothing compared to Daddy these days for the 3 year old. It stings. Good for you for being ok with it. I wish I could be! I just want to cuddle him but all he wants is his dad.


James (SeattleDad) said...

He just wants to make sure Dad doesn't feel too bad about how much he loves you.

Empathetic boy. Sign of intelligence.

Loukia said...

My oldest son is attached to his father! He's in love with him... I know he loves me, too, but man, he and his dad are bestest friends. I do feel jealous sometimes, to be honest... right now, my youngest is VERY attached to me. So much so that even going out at night is hard!

Chic Mama said...

awwww,you should be proud that he feels confident enough to do that. Hard though I know. x