There’s really no other way to say this. Charlotte is obsessed with her father. Obviously, this is a wonderful thing. They spend a lot of time together and I love to watch them play and kiss and cuddle. When he isn’t home and she hears a door open, she immediately looks up and says “dada? DADA?!” When he gets her from her crib prison I can hear the excitement in her voice when she realizes it’s him. It’s a beautiful thing. Except it’s starting to become difficult. And not in a way in which I am a whiny mother feeling unloved and unwanted. But because when I get home from work Eric basically has to go to sleep before he goes to work and I’ve got to do the bedtime routine, and when you have a toddler who only wants dada to do the bedtime routine, tantrums ensue. And the tantrums we’re experiencing now are more like demonic possessions the likes of which I haven’t seen since I tried to watch The Exorcist in high school.
Last week Eric was on vacation and so he was home every night. The first few nights it was cute when Charlotte only wanted him to take her out of the bath, and him to put her pajamas on, and him to brush her hair and teeth, and him to read her a story. Dada do! Dada do! YES. LET DADA DO. MAMA WILL SIT ON THE COUCH. But then by Wednesday I was ready to get back in there. Except every single time I tried she would scream and scream and say BYE MAMA GO MAMA and refuse to even let me be in her room. Eric was getting annoyed and I was getting offended. But so it went. Every night she refused to let me near her. I would hear Eric asking her “do you want mama to read to you? Let’s let mama come in and read to you.” And then the blood curdling screaming of the word no would pierce my eardrums. It’s fine. Everything is fine. Except I knew Eric would be going back to work and I was getting some anxiety over this. Because really what is parenting if not a continuous cycle of getting anxiety over things you can’t control?
Last night Eric quickly crept into the bedroom and I was able to distract her. We had our dinner. A few bites of macaroni and then a shit ton of watermelon, honeydew & cantaloupe that she calls PINK GWEEN and OWANGE. But then she picked her head up and looked around and realized dada wasn’t there. So she ran to the closed door of our bedroom and put her face against it and started moaning “dada dadaaaaaaaaa” as if she was laying on the grave of a long lost lover. It was ridiculous. Then she started getting louder and I was like oh holy shit she’s going to wake him up so I threw fruit loops at her and that worked thank god. And then we HAD to take a bubble bath because heaven forbid this kid doesn’t get her bubbles every night and then she REFUSED to come out of the tub until dada came to get her. And then she started jumping up and down and I was thinking to myself do I try to wrestle her out of the ceramic tub and potentially cause bodily injury or do I wait and see what happens? So I gave her more fruit loops. Because FRUIT LOOPS SOLVE ALL PROBLEMS.
Thankfully I was able to read to her and put her to sleep without too many tears. This kid cries every time you put her in the crib and there’s no way around that, but she slept all night and was still asleep when I left for work. I am certain the dada obsession hasn’t gone away (and it shouldn’t) but at least she will accept me as a bedtime alternative.