The baby has discovered separation anxiety – not at being separated from me – people all over the world rejoice daily that they are separated from me. The baby has developed a deep dislike for being separated from his mother. This includes separations of as little as a few feet.
Separation anxiety takes its toll on everyone. The mother is exhausted; everyone, except perhaps anxious babies and opossums, needs to be separated from everyone else for a little while every day. Otherwise, a fraying of the nerves sets in. This fraying is manifested in desperate pleas in the nature of: “Somebody please pull this baby’s tentacles off me!”
It is difficult for the father not to feel rejected. It’s as if the baby has contracted amnesia and has forgotten all the wonderful times we’ve shared. The baby and I have spent many good times on our own, from which we’ve built a certain bond. Suddenly, our games only inspire the baby to make that frown that says: “They say I used to like this show. I must have been very unsophisticated in my youth.” The frown is followed by the wail for Mommy: “Mommy, help! I’m trapped in the arms of a balding man who aspires to drollness and claims to be a relative.”
The baby is stressed out because he is living a nightmare where he can’t find Mommy and he is being stalked by a sad clown who thinks he’s a funny clown. And he can’t heckle me enough to make me stop.
There are moments of light, in which the baby seems to recall that I am a loved one rather than a bad comic sent to annoy him. For a fleeting moment, he might coo sweetly to me. If I am extra lucky, he might even lean in and give me one of those kisses babies give, with their mouths wide open. If anyone but a baby kissed that way, it would be disgusting. In the next instant, the frown is back, as though I’m the one who gives disgusting type kisses. The wailing for Mommy is sure to follow.
I’m sure he’ll grow through this phase and retrieve his memory of me as a guy who did actually make him chuckle once or twice. Meanwhile, he’s Mommy’s ball and chain. If that sounds unsympathetic to you it only means that you have not been punched and kicked by him in his efforts to get away from you so he could crawl to Mommy.
“When will he reach that age when he only wants to be with you?” my wife asks me with a callow hopefulness. I don’t have the heart to tell her the truth: never. Even when his older brother spends the whole day eagerly lengthening the duration of my chores by helping me with them, he is always a single stern word away from running to Mommy. Mommy is the only one who can overrule Daddy. As such, she will always be needed.
Boys like their daddies, but you’re right, when push comes to shove, they’ll always pick their mommy, if forced to choose. I can’t say I blame them, but it can be insulting!
I don’t mind being number 2. It’s just when they start looking at me like I’m the phantom of the opera that it starts to bug me.
Oh, they will come back to you dad. But then you will have to deal with the tween years, the drama etc. Moms of boys get the best of it. We are their first love, Dad is okay, until the light goes off in their brains that says “Im a dude, I need to know/do dude things.” around the same time they discover that certain people don’t have cooties anymore. At that point mom is just a short trip to land of heartbreak, eye rolls and “Mooom, don’t hug me in front of my friends, geez!”
Yeah, they’ll come back to me, and they’ll probably expect me to pass on my wisdom about how to deal with girls. Looks like I’ll be making up stuff that I’m supposed to know for a while.
Just to make you feel better, I just nominated you for one of them blogger awards, because you’re good enough and smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you (even if your baby doesn’t right now)! http://dirtyrottenparenting.com/2013/05/22/acceptance-speech/
Yay! Thanks for that honor. At least somebody likes me (or takes pity on me). I’ll take whatever I can get.
It’s super fucking irritating some days when i can’t even take a shit without the child having some sort of meltdown.
I sometimes wonder if i will ever use two hands to do anything for myself ever again. I love that she loves me, but sometimes……oh sometimes, I wish she liked someone else more.
And then Grandma shows up, and I am snubbed, and I want it back the other way around.
Ah, sometimes I wish we had a useful Grandma. That must be the key to a full-length potty break.
Oh, Scott. Mommies always rule! I never had boys, so I’m not sure how that works. My girls have a very special bond with their dad, but they still to this day coming running for mom. 🙂
Even when Dad is cool, Mom is always still the boss.
“Your jokes are stale and your nipples are useless” – seems like a breakup conversation I’m not looking forward to someone having with me
Sounds like you’d better start working on freshening up your jokes, or else you could do something about those dead-weight nipples or yours.
Ha, yeah I think my mom ruled until at least middle school. Then for middle school, and high school I was too cool for parents. But after that, dads rule I think.
I expect they’ll grow fond of me just about the time I drop dead.
Just try to get in at least one sky diving or snowboarding trip before. It’s way cooler to go out doing something “extreme”. Then you’ll be immortalized as “cool dad.”
It is much more likely that I will stroke out looking for the TV remote.
That’s cool too.
Scientists say that the male brain isn’t fully developed until the age of 26 so until your boys are in their right minds I wouldn’t worry about it. If they don’t like you as much as mom by then you can always tell them to move out.
Sounds like my boys are going to have to learn to cope out on their own, even before their brains are fully developed. Natural selection is a cruel master.
Great writing, Scott. Tell your son that some people enjoy your sense of humor. 🙂
Thanks, ys. Maybe I should just write the jokes and let Mommy do the stand-up.