Why does my Toddler Hate Me?

Jealousy: resentment against a rival (ahem, husband) who enjoys success (ahem, our toddler’s favoriteagainst another’s success (or lack thereof.  The boy always picks his Daddy).

My 18-month old son is starting to give me a complex, people.  A genuine complex.

I’ve been waiting for this whole “Daddy” phase to become just that – a phase – but it’s been months now, with no end in sight.

Don’t misunderstand me.  I love that my husband and youngest son have this amazing bond.  It’s sweet.  It’s adorable.

BUT….

Does the child have to blatantly show his distaste for me?

Think I’m exaggerating?  Allow me to prove myself with a few poignant examples:

Daddy has to leave to run some errands.  Little C is so distraught Daddy has left, he flings himself upon the floor and will not let me console him.  He cries for upwards of 20 minutes.  He is struggling so hard to get away from my clutches, I nearly drop him on more one occasion.

Daddy isn’t home from work yet, so Little C is actually giving me the time of a day with a big ol’ bear hug. Cue Daddy’s entrance.  Little C leaps out of my arms so quickly you’d think I pinched him.  Sayonara Mommy.  Daddy’s home.

The whole family is relaxing on the floor playing with Mega Bloks.  I scooch over beside Little C to help him with the tower he’s building.  He stops what he’s doing.  He makes an angry scowl directed at me, picks up his tower, and promptly plops down beside Daddy.  I swear to God he smirks.

I’m in the kitchen.  Little C is playing with a toy car a few feet away.  Daddy is in the living room, out of sight, out of mind.  Little C suddenly slips and falls, banging his head on the floor.  I immediately drop what I’m doing, rushing to his aid.  As I begin to hold him in my arms, he looks at me – there’s that scowl again – then runs across the house to Daddy’s arms.

I notice Little C perusing the bookshelf.  I sit beside him and ask him if he’d like me to read him a story.  He gives me that telltale scowl, then saunters over to Daddy.  Once he’s in Daddy’s lap, he looks at me, eyebrows narrowed, then hugs Daddy.

Wtf?

Don’t get me wrong.  At times, it’s kind of convenient that the little guy wants Daddy.  Considering we have two attention-seeking boys, this often makes life easier, and even occasionally allows me five minutes of “me time,” (which we all know just means doing the dishes in peace or making lunches without a little munchkin clinging to my legs.  Am I right, ladies?).

If I’m being perfectly honest though, the Mommy pride is a little hurt.  Sometimes, it’s a lot hurt.

Am I the only mother experiencing this?

Don’t leave me hangin,’ Mamas!


Valocity Studios / Foter / CC BY-SA

 

 

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Oh yeah, I have another child.

Guilt: a feeling of have done wrong or failed in an obligation.

Mommy Guilt: guilt multiplied by 1000.

Fellow parents of multiple children, I hope, I pray, you know what I’m talking about.  Please tell me I’m not the only parent who occasionally forgets, for fleeting seconds, that she has another life she is responsible for.  No, I haven’t left my child in the car or forgotten him at daycare (knock on wood).  What I have done though is obsessively worry about my oldest son so intensely that I’ve forgotten the quiet, contemplative little dude sitting right beside me.

It feels awful forgetting.  I love my youngest boy.  He’s thirteen months old, and he’s awesome.  He’s toddling around, climbing up stairs, and eating with reckless abandon.  He loves flashing his six pearly whites (creating dimples in his chunky cheeks) and showing off his skills as a yogi master (the boy is flexible, I tell you).

But he doesn’t get the consistent attention he deserves.  My Mommy Guilt is on overdrive these days.  I cannot figure out how other parents do it.  How do you devote your attention and focus on both children equally?  Seriously, I’m asking.  Tell me your secret.

Having  a child with special needs only exacerbates the problem.  Because of his recent ASD diagnosis, Big C demands, and I mean literally demands, my attention.  He needs my help right now.  There are therapies he needs and that means hours of prep, planning, and organizing on my part to make these therapies a reality for him.

But what about Little C?  Is he getting what he needs? Am I giving him enough of my undivided attention?  Is undivided attention even a part of my reality anymore?

I cannot stop wondering: in an attempt to help my oldest son, am I detrimentally affecting my youngest?

In the meantime, Little C is getting better at demanding attention.  He’s learning how to effectively use his fake cry (a born thespian), and he’s proven to have a natural talent for the temper tantrum, but is this because of his natural disposition or is it a reaction to my inattention?  Just last week, the daycare staff informed me Little C was starting to get “a little mean,” hitting and pushing the littler babies.  I wanted to crawl into a hole.  I began to imagine a recycled future of daycare suspensions, daycare removals, and nannies quitting all over again.

But that’s not fair.  It’s not fair to Little C.  He’s not his big brother.  He’s his own little guy.  He should be allowed to create a future that is uniquely his, flaws and all.

I know figuratively beating myself up over all of this is counterproductive, getting me nowhere but spinning in circles, but I cannot shut it off.  It’s frustrating when people tell me to stop worrying so much.  Don’t these people know I would if I could?

I. Feel. Guilty.

My only solace is that the guilt stems from a genuine desire to be a good mom for my boys.  I give a shit.

That has to count for something.

just a little boy by zznzz
http://zznzz.deviantart.com/