Tuesday, 23 October 2012

The Heartbreak of Being #2

I wanted to write a little bit about Husband, and his experiences parenting Phoenix. Husband, as many fathers do, has a totally different relationship with Phoenix than I do. Husband swings Phoenix around. Throws her over his shoulder. Tosses her in the air. Snuggles with her during nap time (when she should be sleeping in her crib). They interact differently than she and I do. Not better, not worse. Just differently.

They have a strong relationship as far as it goes. I think this is due to the fact that when I returned to work after being at home for 9 months, Husband took the remaining 3 months of the parental leave. He dedicated 3 whole months of his life to caring for her.

Which is why, I think, that it is utterly heartbreaking for him that I am the favourite.

So he keeps on trying to change her mind.

When she falls, Daddy picks her up. When she needs help, Daddy rescues her. When she needs a playmate, Daddy plays with her. He is completely devoted to her. And yet, I am still the one she calls for incessantly. When he is playing with her. When she is sitting on the couch with her. Even after I go to work and he happens to be home with her that day. "Mom!" is still the first name out of her mouth.

I consider it payback for the smugness that was Husband when one of her first words was "Dad" or "Dada". "She loves me more," he'd gloat with glee. Or he'd just give me the look. The look that said "Ha, ha she can say my name and not yours".

Ok, maybe he never actually gloated. But it certainly felt unfair at the time. I was the one who carried her to term in my belly. Who went through the pain of a natural child birth. Who developed hemorrhoids from all the pushing. I was the one who tried so hard to nurse her. Who took her to all her appointments those first 9 months. Who found her daycare and her new day home. Who manages her investments and who applied for all of her disability paperwork.

I deserve to have my name said first. I am Mom.

But whose name was said first? Dad.

So now I revel in being number #1. I'm the go-to parent. She looks to me for bath and bedtimes. For solving her problems when she says "help, help". For snuggles, and books and songs. I'm the person. And you know what Husband? I love it. Or as Phoenix says: "Me. Me, me, me."

I know it will change as she gets older. That her alliances will become dependent on who she perceives to be the most likely to take her side (Dad).

But for now, Husband is #2. Insert silent gloating here.

P.S. Husband almost committed one of the greatest sins of parenthood this past weekend. He tried to introduce Phoenix to the kiddie rides at the grocery store. It's possible that this is his new way of positioning himself as the favourite. For all of our sakes, I hope not.


  1. Totally off topic, but this time my three year old brother was sitting in my lap, and he also said 'cute baby.' (He used to call just about everyone without a beard baby, and we're slowly seeing the end of that phase.)

    My sister asked-- how old is she? She looks big, but she looks like a baby because she's got no hair. I told her "I don't know how old she is, but she's not a baby. She's just bald."
    "Like our dad?" (Insert hearty laugh here)
    "No. One day, her body just said 'Ok, I don't want any more hair,' and so she has no hair."
    They were totally cool with that

    1. I find that kids are really good with accepting differences if it is explained at a basic level. Kids aren't as judgemental as adults for the most part.