No, it’s not cute and it’s not sweet. It’s actually insulting as hell.
A little over nine years ago our first baby was born. A sweet little girl. We both cuddled her, diapered her, and burped her. I nursed, but later on the hubs fed the baby her bottles, too. So when a neighbor commented, “Awe she’s so cute. I bet she’s a Daddy’s girl!?” I didn’t know what to say. “Of course she loves her Daddy,” I thought. Little did I know what life would look like a few years later.
Our kids are nine and seven years old now. The oldest daughter is for damn sure a Daddy’s girl. The youngest is, well, normal.
What exactly is a Daddy’s girl? Well, in my house it looks like this … When the hubs leaves in the morning or goes to play poker at night, she spouts out, “Please drive safely, Daddy!” When I leave the house I’m lucky if I get a “Bye, Mommy.” At night when we tuck the littlest one in we say good night, I love you, sleep tight; and she says it back. We tuck in the oldest and she says, “Good night, Daddy. I love you SOOOOOO much!” When it’s my turn, I get, “Good Night, Mommy. I love you.” What the hell?!
I always thought of love as an equal thing. I loved my mom as much as my dad and my sister as much as my brother. I loved my grandma as much as my grandpa and both of them as much as my other grandma. I loved everyone equally. (And still do.) So where does my kid get this favoritism crap from?!
Maybe it started slowly when I was pregnant with our second baby. Like I said, I nursed and nursing our first was a doozie – cracked nipple, low milk supply, pumping between feedings, and consuming so much fenugreek that I could smell a sweet syrup scent through my pores. So I spent a lot of time with my girl. And back then my husband was working and coaching high school basketball, so he was home very late many nights. There were so many days I glanced at the clock then back at my toddler’s expecting eyes and wondered what in creation we could do to pass two more hours before the bedtime routine. Answers included a) drive to McDonald’s for a 5:00 coffee which killed forty minutes b) toss a toy ball to each other which killed twenty minutes and c) who knows because that was nine years ago which feels like a lifetime ago!
So while I felt close with my little toddler, my husband began running to the grocery store with her in tow and sometimes went to get a bagel together on Saturday mornings. Well, the women of my mom’s generation couldn’t believe that type of daddy involvement and praised him for it – not only going to the grocery store, but withthe baby! Which in turn I’m sure fed his ego and led to more outings.
Then after the second baby was born, it was convenient for the hubs to take Big Sister out of the house when I stayed home with the baby for her nap. Somehow it continued to evolve – the oldest started playing sports first so the Daddy/Daughter duo headed out to practice golf and basketball … then they added a ritual of a Friday night Mexican meal. Meanwhile I was at home making sure that our youngest was able to get to bed on time (instead of falling asleep in my lap at a restaurant at 7:00 pm.) Eating one-handed while trying not to drop taco salad on your kid’s head is only so much fun the first couple times.
Now I’m a forty-one year old mom mad at a nine year old kid and jealous of my husband because he gets more love from her than I do! (Don’t worry – getting a therapist is on my list of things to do.) But wasn’t it just yesterday that my baby had separation anxiety and cried every time I left the room?! Didn’t she sit on my lap at every restaurant meal that summer vacation of 2010?! Didn’t I hear the name “Mommy” 1,000 times each day?! Didn’t she tell me at naptime, “Can you put your head on my peewoow?” Meanwhile I’m working on tipping the balance back into equilibrium. I’m sorry, Hon, I know you want to go practice your golf swing, but you haven’t taken a turn driving our youngest to dance class in a month. Time to swap. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be browsing through old photos and sending a rush order to Shutterfly so I can recall the days of toddlerhood when Mommy was still #1.