Tuesday, March 29, 2011

When Will I Be Loved?

"Don't demand respect as a parent. Demand civility and insist on honesty. But respect is something you must earn... with kids as well as with adults." - William Attwood

Mommy's girl
I am NOT my daughter's favorite parent. Not even close. To be honest, I'm lucky that I'm in the top two. But I am a distant second to my wife.

That's right. Any notions I or anyone else may have had about Peanut being a "daddy's girl" were false.

It's all about mommy.

Mommy gets to hold her hand. Mommy gets to carry her around. Mommy gets to cuddle on the couch. Mommy mommy mommy.

The lengths I go to win her affection
There are no piggy back rides, no sitting on daddy's shoulders at the Boardwalk, no sitting on my lap anywhere. Ever. 

Despite my best efforts to get in on the action, Peanut for the most part just won't have it. And forcing her on me makes it seem like a punishment. "Let daddy help you or else?" Um... no. The road to affection was not paved with ultimatums.

We have our moments...if I give her soda
And when mommy's working late, or has to leave on an errand, what's the first thing she tells me? That's right... "Daddy, I miss mommy."

I can't really blame her. Mommy is awesome. She's tender, caring, understanding, patient and just plain great at being a mom. The best I've seen. I just wish I could help.

I got a taste of what it might be like to be the preferred parent when we had one of Peanut's friends over for a play date. She'd climb on my lap without thinking twice, hold my hand without protest, laughed at all of my jokes, listened when I asked her or told her to do something. That is, the friend did those things. It lasted three hours.

My queen and my princess
My wife is gracious in victory and says it will be my turn to be the favorite parent if we ever have a second child. Fine. I'll wait.

Later that night, we had a movie night. We made popcorn, turned off all the lights, and picked a movie none of us had seen from Netflix. Again, it was all mommy. She wants to sit with mommy, share a drink with mommy, eat popcorn with mommy. I laid down my head near Peanut's feet, and she quietly protested by extending her legs to shove me out of the way. We corrected her. She stopped. She relented.

A rare chance to carry her
Minutes later, unprovoked and unexpected, she wrapped her arms around my head and gave me a very sweet kiss. A rush of pride, gratitude, and satisfaction consumed me. Just a little reminder that of course my daughter loves me.

I know she does. In fact, when I'm the one who's not home my wife insists that Peanut feeds her the same line she feeds me. "I miss daddy." I have no reason to doubt that.

So yes... until a second comes along, I'll gladly take what I can get.

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