You're Supposed to Be a Mummy's Boy
I am not patient. I am not great at surprises. So when we went for an additional scan at fifteen weeks into my pregnancy, I jumped at the opportunity to find out which flavour baby I was having. Admittedly we'd not discussed the question of finding out beforehand, but I figured possession is nine-tenths of the law - and it was my uterus that had been possessed.
Surprisingly hubby was a little disappointed when we found out we were having a blue-flavoured baby! He's never had to deal with pre-pubescent girl dramas like myself in a Year Six classroom; I breathed a sigh of relief. I was happy to take on stinky bedrooms, scrapping, and Saturday morning football matches in the rain. Plus the biggest bonus for me was that boys are renowned for the adoration of their mammas. Being a completely stereotypical Daddy's girl all my life, surely there must be truth to the adage? I was growing my very own Mummy's boy!
From the first photos of my little man gazing up at me reverently, it seemed the proverb was true. But the tide, my friends, has begun to turn...
Did He Say That?
I'd let it slide that once talking, he spent a good few months saying "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy ", whereas he just pointed at me. It is well documented on the oracle that is Google, that the 'd' sound comes before the 'm'. This was not favouritism; it was a language development thing and of course, there was the fact that I was by his side 24/7! He had never needed to ask for me. We were permanently a double act! Daddy, however, would desert him for work five days a week (through necessity) and then for the golf course at the weekend (through pure obsession). "Daddy golf " was, of course, going to be more rehearsed than asking for Mumma!
Imagine my pure joy when, at the ripe old age of twenty-three months, I heard that first "Mamma." Out with friends, we all froze and looked at each other. I'd, of course, bemoaned to them the lack of address from my angel. Did he just say that? "Mamma!" Yep - there it was! I'm not ashamed to say I welled up! And it didn't get tired - even when Mamma was the only one asked... for everything. Clearly, he was a mummy's boy.
When 'The Twos' hit, they hit hard. You go from having this placid, malleable bundle of joy to a growling, whirlwind who causes destruction and chaos in their wake. Your job description as a primary carer goes from feeding, changing, and cuddling, to wrangling, wrestling, and hostile negotiations. It's such an exciting time watching their personality develop but I don't think I was ready to morph into public enemy number one.
Suddenly I had become: The Fun Police!
Mummy doesn't want you to ram Rubble from Paw Patrol in the electrical socket, honey.
Mummy is not giving you an ice-cream ten minutes before she serves the dinner that she knows you won't eat anyway.
Mummy has to change your nappy, despite the fact you were pushing Thomas over the wobbly bridge as frankly, she's struggling to breathe through the fumes.
Mummy is not going to piece together your car garage for the third time to watch you smash it up again.
Add in to the mix that as well as being on hand to play 'whizz the train round mummy' for an hour solid, I also have to ensure washing is done, dinner is prepped, dishes are washed, cats are fed, floors are vacuumed. This does not bode well for a toddler who demands all the attention.
Staging a Coup
It must be hard, when reasoning is not yet your forte, to have this parent figure who constantly tells you no. Toddlers are savvy little beings though. They know which side their bread is buttered on. They look for the path with the least resistance. Why go through the Fun Police when they can just ask Daddy?
The shift was subtle, to begin with. With his working day behind him and just a home-cooked meal and the evening's entertainment to look forward to, Daddy and Son could have all the fun. Whilst Mummy chopped, they would play chase 'round the kitchen. Whilst Mummy boiled and braised, they would busily build train tracks of epic proportions. Whilst Mummy served up, they would snuggle in front of the TV.
Then we come to the weekends. The Pre-golf family time allowed Daddy to bear witness to the full force of the twosey tantrums.
They're easier to dismiss when you're not fire-fighting them several times a day. Plus it's far easier to be the soft touch who diffuses by giving in.
Oh, you've just whacked mummy for not letting you run out the door of the cafe but you want the cuddly bear? Visa or credit?
You don't want your nappy changed? OK, little man. We'll worry about it later - when mummy's finished folding the washing.
You get the picture.
Imagine my heartbreak then, during my stay-at-home-mum working week, when I say no and get a wail of "Daddy Huggggggggs" Daddy is not here, my precious. There's no point wailing for him. It's 10:34am and he ain't going to be home for another seven hours! We've even got the stage, when refused the chance to eat frozen peas straight from the freezer, that he's sat at the front door, wailing for Daddy to come home. Sit down protests just don't cut it with me. But your words little man, your words do cut. I've given up a career to revel in making you my world, and you want Daddy.
Getting Back in the Good Books
I won't lie. I don't like being the bad cop. I don't like coming second in his affections. I don't like doing everything for him and then being dismissed for Daddy. But what I do know is if I give in to the mini dictator, that there'll be rough times ahead. He may tell me "go away, Mummy!" He may growl and strop and bawl. But ultimately I know best.
I know things will get easier. As his ability to reason and understand why Mummy doesn't want him poking the cats with dry spaghetti, then the no's will become less conflicting. Until then, I need to keep my big girl pants pulled up and be prepared to face the full and furious wrath of the toddler... and the inevitable preference for Daddy.
You have all the fun and create all the mischief with Daddy. And it warms my heart to see. You have all the giggles and all the chats with Daddy and it is like music to my ears. Those cuddles you give Daddy where you squeeze him to the point of suffocation; that squeezes my heart.
But I'll hang on to those moments, just the two of us at the end of the day. When we share a story, you drink your milk and then we have still and calm cuddles before your cot. When you whisper to me "I love you so much", I know you're still my Mummy's Boy.