First Favorite Parent

By kate on July 22nd, 2007

Right now, I’m unquestionably Ruby’s favorite parent. If I’m around, she insists that I put her to bed (and screams if Steve tries to do it). She tends to follow me around, and asks me to pick her up. I’m the one she wants when she’s hurt. When she’s with Steve, she asks for me.
I’m mixed about it. I feel bad for Steve, because it clearly hurts his feelings. It’s not good for her to be so dependent on me, because of the times I’m not there (although so far, she’s mostly been difficult about it when I’m around rather than when I’m gone). And sometimes it’s just inconvenient. For example, this morning I was reading the newspaper, and Ruby kept coming to me for things, even though I tried to direct her to Steve, who was in the room specifically to play with her.
On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoy the closeness with her. All the hugging and kissing can make me swoony. [Steve hit upon a great metaphor: he said when Ruby hugs me, I’m like a character in a video game who’s hitting some kind of jackpot. The longer the hug goes on, the more points add up (ching ching ching) above my head.] I understand how she feels – she’s my favorite child, after all, so I know what it’s like to prefer someone. Her affection is making a big positive impact in my security and confidence as a mother (which I didn’t always have).
A surprising feeling that this causes is one of pressure. I know Ruby won’t always prefer me. I’ve heard many stories about kids changing their favorite parent overnight. Along with her “mama, mama, mama” I also hear a ticking clock. This is helping me to slow down and suck the pleasure out of every moment, knowing that it could end anytime. Ruby often follows me around in the kitchen while I’m making breakfast or lunch, hugging my legs and asking “up?”. Even though I can’t hold her and prepare food at the same time, I make a point to stop and lift her up anyway. I hug her, show her what I’m doing, and stop time for just a second.

My favorite parent blogger, MetroDad, has an excellent entry about being (and not being) the favorite parent. It, like usual, manages to be both hilarious and moving.

Filed under: parenting
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