Do children come into this world preprogrammed? When scientists mapped the human genome were they able to pinpoint the exact moment in the second year of life that a toddler will become a ‘no machine’?
One morning, not long ago, my child woke up and decided that from that day forward, whenever it is time to use the potty or put on his coat, he would run in the opposite direction as fast his chubby legs could carry him, gleefully yelling, “I run away!”
Perhaps it was also buried somewhere deep in his genetic material to suddenly shun his mother and love only Papa.
It started fairly innocuously. One night, instead of cuddling with me to fall asleep, he slid over to my husband’s side of the bed. I thought that those two looked so cute lying there together, and I actually enjoyed having more room to myself that night. But then it was an avalanche.
“I want Papa!” he screams now in the car before falling asleep.
“Where is Papa?” is the first thing he says now when waking up from a nap. What happened to Mommy? It is me who carried him inside my body, who nursed him for seventeen months, who now stands in front of the yogurt display trying to guess which flavor he might enjoy the most and that also has no corn syrup or artificial colors. Papa? He’s got nothing on me.
I’ve tried to be a good sport about the change in our family dynamics.
My husband is an exceptionally devoted, loving father. His response to Wolfy’s favoritism is, “We both knew this was bound to happen.” And he has a point. Even I’ll admit that my husband is much more hip and fun than I am. I just thought I might have a few more years before the boy figured this out.
I’m hoping that this is only a stage. And I’m hoping that the worst of this stage happened a few nights ago.
Wolfy was sleeping for a few rare hours in his own bed down the hall. In the middle of the night, he started to call out. He called out, “Papa! Papa!” Even in his subconscious, my son now likes my husband better! It’s always been that when he woke up in the night, he would just cry. A cry that meant, “Please, some human, any human, come get me out of here!” Now that human has a name and the name is not Mommy.
This is very sad for me. But I’m trying not to be a sore loser.
Last night, when Wolfy was on the potty, he called out, “I need you to wipe my butt!” As usual, I came over ready to do the job. When Wolfy saw it was me though, he said, “No! Papa do it!”
I guess this Papa stuff might not be so bad after all.