Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cheques and Balances

This afternoon, I tried to lure my two year old upstairs with whispered promises of soft, cool sheets, and a magical story about gardening, and her very special "Lellow Blankie" (that is, in reality, pink--or used to be before it was seasoned with love and took on that "drug through the mud"-tan color it boasts now.)

A grin spread across her delicate lips and then grew into an almost yawn. As I scooped her up, she laid her head on me and I nibbled her ear.

Half way up the stairs, her arms and shoulder blades began to protest and she threw a rather impressive left jab. "I weely want Daddy," she mewed. And repeated.

What? I am the one with the stories and sleepy voice and the lavender perfume and the proximity to your beloved Lellow Blankie... He is on the couch watching reruns of Sports Center.

Unwilling to relinquish my misty dream of Nap Time with Mommy, I dug deeper into my arsenal and mentioned that we might sing a lullaby or two together. I also reminded her that, with me, she would enjoy that most precious of real estate, Daddy's Pillow on Mommy's Bed.

To no avail. "I weely want Daddy." And then she fired one of the most lethal weapons in the toddler armory. She caused all of the bones in her upper body to liquify while simultaneously kicking her legs from the hip. This manouver is nearly impossible for adults to predict and/or defend. It nearly always ends in the toddler getting what they wanted in the first place, Down.

She trotted off to join The Producer on the couch, where no doubt they will snooze together in smooshy, sweaty, bliss for an hour or so. And I moped up the stairs to read a little Anne Lamott. By myself. Hmmmph.

Our girls have always moved in cycles of favorites. Sometimes it's Daddy. Sometimes it's Mommy. Sometimes, when it's Mommy, I wish it were Daddy. And vice versa. Right now, with the two-year old, it's Daddy. Hands down. All the time. He is the first thing she thinks about in the morning, sometimes even before she opens both eyes, "Where's Daddy?" She will ask, when she opens one eyeball to see that it is me that stands over her crib.

Our ten year old will snuggle with either of us that is available, but when something is upsetting her, it's usually me she comes looking for.

Our eleven year old....she doesn't particularly like either of us, at the moment. She views us through those harsh preteen opera glasses that cast all parents in that unflattering, coolness-zapping, wrinkle-infusing light. But there are days when even she needs her Mom or Dad, and on those days it is nice to see the relief of having our protection so close and accessible, spread across her face. If only for a moment before she wipes it away with a smirk and generous eye roll.

I think it all washes out in the end. I am loved just as much as The Producer is. I am picked, occasionally. And I am glad that no one is keeping score.

18 comments:

flutter said...

oof. But how lucky that they have both to choose from.

kim the midwife said...

how true it is that sometimes we are in sync with their desires, and sometimes we're not. it's good to remember.

painted maypole said...

Some time alone to read Anne Lamott? sounds lovely.

and you described that toddler melt/kick maneuver PERFECTLY

You mentioned the aquarium of the pacific in your comment at my place - we had a membership when we lived in Long Beach, but that outside portion wasn't built until we had moved further north. I made a special trip down for the opening. because I am a geek like that.

the dragonfly said...

I just wish the Sergeant was here to be "chosen" by the Little Mister. I'm so afraid it's going to be hard when he comes home, when the little guy only wants Mommy because Daddy's been away so long...but then, I'm sure, in the future, there will be many times when only Daddy will do.

Alpha DogMa said...

Ah. I know that patented toddler move. I've got a six year old who keeps it in his arsenal for bad moods.

Shelli said...

This was a lovely post. My son is almost two, and he still usually wants me. Sometimes I look forward to when he just wants daddy! But I'm not in a hurry either.

sethy said...

Dear Emily,

You are my favorite blogger ever. Want to know how I know this? When I see this,
(1),
next to your name on my RSS feed, It's the only time that little number elicits a verbal "wooo!" from me.

CANNOT WAIT TO HANG SO HARD!

Lori said...

This is adorable- and right on. My kids have shifted their affections many, many times as well over the years. Interestingly, deep down I think my 13 year old boy prefers hanging with me right now- but he would never admit it. My 10 year old definitely is hooked on Dad, and my 3 year old is fickle, fickle, fickle... but mostly Mommy. :)

Julie Pippert said...

Ah favorites. yes. And yet, were you to show any action that could be perceived as preference, that is parental failure felony. LOL

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

You are such a wonderful writer, I enjoyed your story....



*thanks for visiting my blog :o)

Mrs. G. said...

Mine are 13 and 17 and the seasons still change.

Pendullum said...

We have only the one...
And my husband is always keeping score...
as he always feels like she picks me more...But she is ten...
and I am bracing myself... as I know time is coming when there will be no more score keeping as she flies...

Christine said...

favorites here waiver, too, but in the mornings my son is all about me--which is good and bad depending on the day!

Mary said...

what a great post -- you are a terrific writer! My kids are older now (21 and 16) but believe it or not they still occasionally need Mom and Dad. LOL

Thanks for visiting my blog, and for the sweet comment. Happy 4th!
xoxo,
Mary

Meadowlark Days: said...

Lovely post! We don't have kids yet, but children love my husband so much that I'm already a little jealous! ;-)

Lorelai Roark Photography & Design said...

what a beautiful post......thank you for making me smile:)

Furrow said...

With my husband being a stay-at-home dad, I worry that Z. will grow up preferring him, and she does seem to gravitate to him for play, but during a recent illness, she was all about her mommy. As much as I hated seeing her suffer, I was overjoyed to be a source of comfort.

And I must have an advanced 8-month-old. She's already pretty good at the escapist kick and squirm. I hate to think that it's only going to get worse.

Jen Ballantyne said...

Emily, I just LOVE this post, it is so well written and very funny. I love how you describe that floppy top half of the body whilst kicking, you are spot on no parent can stand firm when that starts, I remember it well, although my youngest is now 6, almost 7, oh how it brought back memories and made me giggle. Thanks for that I needed a laugh. Love to you dear Emily, also, thanks for supporting me on my blog, I really appreciate the effort. Take care sweetie, Jen Bxx