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I Think I’ve Been Replaced

My daughter has always loved her father, of course, but it’s been clear where her true affections lie. She’s been a momma’s girl, plain and simple. She’d play with her dad, and laugh with him, but when the true crises in life struck (skinned knee, lost Polly Pocket shoe), it was to my arms she came wailing.

At least, that used to be the case.

A couple of months ago, she began to realize that there was actually another parent in this house, and he’s very cool. His arms are much stronger in tickle fights, he’s not always trying to tug tangles out of hair, and he doesn’t especially care if you take your vitamins.

He’s the dad. And she is smitten. And she has moved on – entirely, it would seem – from me.

That’s okay, of course. I know it’s an important phase of preschool development for a kid to begin detaching from the mom and forming strong attachments with other adults, especially dad. I’ve walked this road with three older children. But those three older children were boys. This girl of mine? She can get a little catty about her new preferences.

Case in point:

Yesterday we sat on the couch for an especially sweet time of quiet and snuggling. She was curled up in a little ball on my lap, and our hands gently intertwined. We talked about princesses and music, and then I asked her, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“FIVE!” she answered.

“I mean,” I chuckled, “what do you want to do?”

“I want to be a parent,” she said softly, her head on my shoulder. Oh, I thought, sighing, what a lovely job I must be doing, if my daughter wants to follow this same path. Suddenly her head popped up. “But not a parent like you,” she said. “Like DADDY.”

Well, then.

It’s okay – I’m taking it all in stride. I’m just thankful my girl has a daddy she can count on, a guy who’s really worth being smitten with. He’s set the bar pretty high, and I think that’s excellent. My self-esteem will surely survive intact.

Maybe.

Or maybe not. Because yesterday my girl also informed me that “This is mine and daddy’s house – not yours.”

Gulp.

It’s okay, really. She loves her daddy. Her daddy loves her. She’s developing a strong sense of her own self worth. She’s confident.

She’s moving her mother into the garage, but she’s confident.

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