A strange cleavage happened in my family when my son was born. The blessed event instantly spawned a “Daddy’s girl” and a “Mama’s Boy”. I was ordered to a week’s post-partum bedrest on our futon so that I could heal some minor tearing and bond with my newborn. My husband and daughter slept in the bedroom, running to the futon every morning to check in but then peeling off to some new adventure.
My pregnant and parent-of-one self was wanting to join in the fun, but I rested while I heard the sounds of a daughter and father building a new stronger-than-Bondo bond with one another. Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE that they did this but she soon started to call for her father when something went wrong. I was ousted from kissing ouchies, making breakfast, and tucking her in. “Oh, it’s just a phase,” people said. Well, this has been a two year and running one, folks. She is officially the apple of her father’s eye.
I think it’s natural to have some degree of favoritism in families with multiple children. I tend to subconsciously want to be around adults who share the same values and look like me, so why wouldn’t some of that spill over into my parenting. My son does seem to take after my side of the family – in appearance and temper. I understand what he’s going through. I love my children tremendously – holding them both accountable for the things that they do and endearing them for their strides and progresses – but on a sheer who gets held more level, I spend much more time with my son.
I recently insisted on taking my daughter out for a girls’ date out. We made dinner together, sang along to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and went to a music show, getting soaked while running through a fountain. It felt good to have her clutch onto me, smelling her hair, and feeling her legs dangle wildly. I missed these moments so much that it has become a paramount mission to schedule and force the issue of boys time and girls time. And the time together with my daughter has built more trust and giddiness between us.
My daughter told me this weekend that she wants our cat to go away and never come back. And then she wants her brother to do the same. I explained to her that both her cat and brother were part of our family. It isn’t always easy to get along with them or to share attention with them, but we could learn SO much in life by making these relationships work. I don’t know if she got it, but she seems to be tolerating their presence for now. And maybe she’s just barely putting up with me too, but I will keep trying to make the most of our mother-daughter thing.