I’ll admit I treasure my rockstar mommy status, though I do feel guilty about it. This is because my #1 fan treats his father like a bad opening act that he just wants to throw tomatoes at until the real rockstar comes on the stage. Everyone tells us it’s typical for a 2 ½ year old, but they usually say “Oh sure, they go back and forth on their favorite parent so don’t worry about it”. It’s then that I really pity my husband, because we’ve seen no going back and forth. I always say that if Maximus treated me like he treats my husband, I would have to be heavily medicated to get through the day. Here’s a typical day:
Morning wakeup – Maximus yells “Mommy! Mommy!” for a swift retrieval and if I can’t get him, my husband is greeted with “Go away!”. Maximus flops back into the crib and refuses to get out.
Breakfast – “Mommy yogurt”. I say “Look Daddy made yogurt!”. Unimpressed, Maximus says “No! Mommy yogurt!”
Me off to work – Complete and utter despondence; Elvis has left the building. If my husband leaves first, he gets a jubilant “Bye Daddy!” accompanied by a big wave (or perhaps shooing motion?)
Getting out of carseat at end of day – “Mommy carry”. I say “Mommy has to carry her computer so Daddy will carry you”. Tears.
Bedtime – “Let’s go downstairs and read books”. Suspicious clarifying question: “Mommy read books?” I say neutrally “Yes, Mommy and Daddy”. Sherlock answers “No Daddy. Mommy!”
Today my husband asked Maximus if he loves Daddy. His answer: “Tuesday”. My husband took that as a sign of hope that at least on Tuesdays he could be loved.
I really do feel so badly for my husband and keep trying to convince him not to take it personally. All of our friends say it happens to all parents eventually and that a few years from now Maximus won’t be all that psyched about me anymore. This assumes however that I can’t overcome my fear of balls before then. I am definitely scared of anything hard flying at my face, and this was even before Maximus broke my nose in an accidental head-butt a few weeks ago. The thought of standing in front of him waiting for him to hurl a baseball at me seems ridiculous now, but I don’t think I’ll be able to let my rockstar status go without a fight. I just wish both of us could be rockstars. My husband is so much funnier and more patient than I am; he should really be the preferred one.
I’ve read a bunch of articles online to see how we can get my #1 fan to appreciate his father, and I think we’re doing all the prescribed things. Maximus has special outings with Daddy, like eating their way through the Asian supermarket and picking out inter-galactic shaped fruits and vegetables. (Maximus is from Korea and has already acquired quite a taste for super spicy kimchi thanks to my husband!). We make sure we share the care-taking tasks vs me doing them all, and I am constantly chatting up Daddy’s assets (“Daddy got that car just for you!” “Look, Daddy fixed your drum. He can fix ANYTHING!” “Daddy makes such yummy burgers.”) Being a principled man, my husband could have locked up his #1 status months ago with some M&Ms, chocolate milk, and letting Maximus stay in either his tub or his jammies 24 hours a day, but he didn’t. I admire that because I’m not certain I would have done the same.
We waited a long time for Maximus to come into our lives and being his rockstar mommy makes it all worth it. Mercifully my husband seems to be able to cope with his “opening act” status, tomatoes and all. I always suspected my husband was the kindest, most patient man in the world, and Maximus gives him the chance to prove it to me every single day. I know I should be taking notes for when I topple off my thrown, but I’d rather spend my time basking in the wonderful and fleeting devotion of this precious child.