Our one-year-old doesn’t like saying goodbye to Mommy. Even if he doesn’t need her for anything specific, and even if he is happily playing with Daddy or Big Brother, he likes knowing that Mommy is at hand. Daddy can do everything for him that he needs done, but it’s hard to put 100% faith in somebody who doesn’t have boobies. Everyone knows that boobies are where parenting knowledge is stored, which means if Daddy forgets how to do something, he’s got no place he can go to look it up.
Thus, whenever Mommy leaves the house, she takes the entire archive of tips for keeping little boys happy and comfortable with her. She also takes a couple of really comfortable snuggling pillows, but that’s of secondary concern. The important thing is she’s leaving a fragile little boy in the hands of some dude who is likely to forget the recipe to baby’s comfort at any moment.
When Mommy needs to run an errand, she sometimes finds herself slipping out of the house quietly, to preserve the little boy from any unnecessary anxiety. This is what she thinks she’s doing. What she is actually doing is deferring the unnecessary anxiety until the child is completely in the care of a man whom the boy recognizes as wholly devoid of appropriate reference materials, since Mommy always carries those with her.
Whenever our little boy realizes he hasn’t seen Mommy for a while, he runs toward the door to the garage, since that is Mommy’s most likely escape route. If Mommy has gone out, Daddy needs to take some time to reassure the boy that he does indeed remember how to feed and diaper a child, notwithstanding his flat, bony chest. The boy always recovers his composure, but it can be an unpleasant 10 minutes of distress.
If Mommy is just someplace else in the house, Daddy only needs to make the boy understand that, or, as in the most recent case, let him figure it out for himself.
We have a low counter beside the door to the garage. Sometimes, Mommy sets her purse on this counter. Last time the boy went to the door chasing a missing Mommy, he saw the purse sitting upon the counter. The purse was evidence, but it was not definitive proof.
The boy pulled the purse to the floor and opened it up. All the distress melted away from his countenance as he plucked out Mommy’s cell phone. This was proof. Mommy might leave home without her purse, but she would never ever leave her phone behind. A phone doesn’t make such a good snuggling pillow, but then grown-ups do have crazy ways.
He took the phone and climbed the stairs. He heard the shower running so he pounded on the bathroom door. When Mommy opened the door, he handed her the phone. He understands how troubling it is to be separated from your comforting boobies of knowledge.
Now, everybody could relax.