My 15-month-old daughter doesn't love me more than her father. She's a big Daddy fan. Daddy is her favourite parent for all things fun - shoulder rides, jumping on the bed, dancing, making stupid noises of all kinds. That being said, I'm the one that she needs more.
Whenever she's looking for bit of comfort or just feeling a bit whingey, I'm her favourite. Lucky me.
I can only assume that this whole Mummy-attachment thing has something to do with the fact that I carried her in my womb for nine months while she squashed my bladder and kicked me repeatedly in the ribs. Or maybe it's because I spent every single day of the first 12 months of her life with her. Her clinginess may be her way of saying, "Thank you for sacrificing your body and brain for me in those early days. I'm going to show my appreciation by hugging you ALL THE TIME."
As sweet as it her squishy love is, it can be hard to have a 20 pound appendage semi-permanently attached to my hip. Playing the favourite parent is serious business. It means that you have to:
- Do the night shift. "She only settles for you," your other half mumbles into their pillow when the baby starts crying at 3am. And as much as you want to smother them in that moment, you know they're right. Your face is the only one the baby wants to see at stupid o'clock in the morning.
- Use the toilet while a small person sits on your lap. Or stares at you. Or plays with the toilet brush despite the fact that you repeatedly told them that it has poo on it. Shutting the bathroom door isn't an option because they'll just stand outside of it and cry, which means no sneaky trips to the loo to check Twitter on your phone.
- Do things one-handed that generally require two hands, like chopping vegetables, putting on trousers or cleaning up cat vomit.
- Leave things unfinished. You may start washing the dishes or tidying up the living room, but the second your child realises that you're not there, they come running and demand that you pick them up.
- Say things to your other half like, "Do you think the baby will let me go into the bedroom to put away the laundry?", as though you need the baby's permission to do normal adult things.
- Put up with back pain galore, thanks to having an awkwardly-shaped weight slung over your shoulder for several hours each day.
Sometimes I wish my daughter would adhere herself to my husband (or anyone, really) instead of me, especially when I want to have a pee in peace, but there are times when I'm glad that she wants to be so close.
She was sick recently and spent the entire day in my arms, her head laying on my shoulder or pressed into my chest. I held her warm little body as close to me as I could, knowing that if I couldn't cure the infection in her chest, at least I could do this. It wasn't enough, but it was something. I felt useful. She felt safe. We both felt grateful.
You can read more of my ramblings about raising a toddler at The Squirmy Popple.
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