Thank you so much for all of your messages about my “challenge” with Little E :) After talking to some of you, I had an epiphany:
Mr E does most, if not all, things to do with Little E. From getting him breakfast, clothed for the day, daycare drop-offs, to sitting by the toilet at night and bedtime routine. It had started when I was pregnant with Miss V as I was pretty much bedridden most of the time then (so very sick with allllllll day sickness).
With Miss V permanently attached to me now, Mr E continued to be at Little E’s side, making himself a constant in the little man’s life.
What do you do when you’re upset and needed reassuring? You turn to the person that you know will be there. Your constant. It is human nature and it is not something you can help. I certainly do it.
Anyway, another thing that we’ve noticed as well is that when he’s doing something that he knows is naughty, he’d look at me. Never Mr E, just me. Every. Single. Time.
I had thought originally that it was him challenging me, to push the boundaries, just for the sake of it. Being a two year old. Because I wasn’t his favourite parent. It turns out, they’re to get my attention.
He has been so very well adjusted wih Miss V’s arrival, so in love with her, he’s always cuddling, kissing, patting her. Helping me out with nappy changes, getting me my water bottles, etc. Basically, he has been amazing.
However. I must have not been paying him enough attention. So distracted and occupied with Miss V, I have basically relied on Mr E to do everything (as mentioned above). About a week ago, I started to let Mr E do some of the things that needs doing for Miss V, while I tend to Little E. Just to test our theory.
Guess what? Not as much tantrums, not as much attention-seeking naughtiness from the little man. I even get 2 lots of cuddles and kisses before bed. Plus a whole lot more in the morning before he leaves for daycare.
Sigh. I feel so guilty for “abandoning” him. I feel like I been telling him that I had picked a favourite child. Unintentionally :(
Anyway, I don’t feel as bad now about Little E’s parent-preference. I get it, I understand it. Children, they’re so complicated :)
Some of you would know by now that my little man prefers daddy (as I’ve talked about here and here). For almost 1.5 years now, he goes to daddy for comfort. When I get cross at him, he cries for daddy. When daddy get cross at him, he still cries for daddy. In fact, he was so distressed when Mr E went away for work for the first time, he made himself sick. He sulked and cried, telling me that he’s “a little bit sad”. At night, when he wakes up from a nightmare, and I go in to settle him back down, he rejects me at almost every chance, sometimes even as far as saying “mummy go away” complete with dismissing hand gestures, then crying for daddy. It makes me sad. A LOT.
The other day, I asked him if he loved the people in his life. From daddy (of course), to his grandparents, to his little friends, to a new auntie-friend he met (waves to auntie Emma, if you’re reading this :)) He said yes to all of them. When it was my turn, he said no. Cue sadpandaface. At that moment, I knew it was such a stupid discussion, and that I know he is just being silly (as he had big grin when he said no) but it mattered to me that he said he loves me. I know it is petty and frankly, stupid.
As I’ve mentioned in a previous post (here), I know that it is not up to my children to validate me. It is not their job nor role in life. My lack of self-confidence over my mothering skills is my own to deal with. I know all this. It still hurts though. Every time he said he doesn’t love me, or rejects my affection, I feel like it is proof that I am a terrible mum. That he thinks I’m a terrible mum. *sigh*
Mr E said that it is because he is so securely attached to me, that he has no doubt in his mind that I love him (I do), so he is comfortable to treat me as he like. That I am fulfilling his love tank enough. Well, if this is what secure attachment feels like, then I don’t like it. It sucks. A LOT. And it hurts. A LOT.
Of all people, however, I know I should be thankful that he’s so close to his father. Growing up without a father, I’ve always wondered what it feels like to have one. I have had a life-time to work out a list of what my “perfect dad” would be like. My children are so very lucky to have Mr E as their father, so very lucky. I know all this.
I have a mum-friend who is going through the same thing with her daughter, so I know that I am not alone. I have also read numerous forum posts about children preferring one parent over another. Experienced mothers have told me that when my time comes, I’ll look back to this time and wish it was still the case (clingy toddlers are the worst, apparently). Again, I know all this.
It still doesn’t make me feel better though :(
On a positive note, when Miss V cries several times throughout the day and night, only wanting mummy, it does make it better for me. It doesn’t matter that I am usually stuck on one uncomfortable position, not being able to do much, holding my bladder up to the point of no return. I cherished it more and not think of it as annoying. Because really, at least, someone wants me.