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.
Photo from cartoonstock.com