Sophie’s going through a period of transition at the moment. Apparently it’s completely normal.
She’s started realising when people leave her and gets dreadfully upset when they do.
I say people.
Because when Mummy goes, the waterworks turn on and the screaming begins.
As for Daddy, (Muggins, here), well, she’s frankly not that bothered.
Initially, I found this quite cute. Trying to teach a distressed toddler that it was OK for Mummy to be gone, even into the other room, and that she would see her very shortly was a challenge I was willing to take on. In those instances as well, Sophie would turn to me as her source of familiarity and I would become valuable once again.
Now, however, with Sophie’s angst becoming ever more audible and unnecessary, it’s starting to grate and I’m feeling the pain!
Take this week.
My wife has not been very well this week and Sophie’s been a little under the weather too. They’ve looked out for each other really, having days in dressing gown and pyjamas and huddling together for warmth.
However, when I’ve arrived home from work, tired but delighted to see my baby girl, she’s not been rushing to the door to see me as she used to. Rather, she’s been actively shying away from me, burying her head into Mummy’s comforting shoulder and giving me a look of horror.
How do I deal with that?!
It came to a head yesterday when Mummy was in the kitchen having a meeting with someone from church and I was tasked with keeping Sophie entertained (and out of the kitchen). Once the door was shut, Sophie was very cross – a feeling only exacerbated when Mummy stuck her head back through to say “Can you get some white paper please?”
She spent the next half hour standing by the kitchen door in tears. Surely I’m not that awful to play with!
Then, after she’d got a bit of time with Mummy, off my wife went on a run which caused hysteria once again in our house and a stand-off at the front door while Sophie pined for her to return.
It’s hard because I know it’s only a phase and at some point it may well turn round the other way. Children are quite fickle and change their minds all the time about what they want. It’s also lovely for my wife to get the recognition and adoration from Sophie.
But, when you go to give your daughter a cuddle and she runs away, or she cries and shouts for Mummy when you go upstairs to help her out of bed, it’s hard to not feel angry or jealous. Or even just confused in a “What have I done wrong?!” kind of way.
Maybe I’m getting my just desserts for overdosing her on football since she was born last year? Or for trying to teach her to say Rovers this week.
As for my popularity? Well, Mummy is away for two of the next three weekends so it’s Daddy-Daughter time round the clock. I guess Sophie’ll simply have to like it or lump it!