Sunday, April 11, 2010


This week, Penny is on an anti-dad campaign and it's making me feel bad. I know it is a phase, and I will probably be sad when I am no longer deemed her favorite, the Queen Mother.
But it's getting a little old, hearing, "No, Daddy! Mama do it," again and again. Fortunately, Britt has rather thick skin, and isn't taking it too personally (whereas, if our positions were reversed, it would probably make me cry). He will come home and ask her for a hug, and she will reject him outright, only to turn around and smother me with affection. I'd like to think she's not doing it to hurt his feelings, but sometimes I wonder. "Daddy, way!" (Daddy, go away.) Since when do we get to make Daddy feel bad, Daddy, who would much rather be home, but works full time so I can be home as much as I am?

Actually, she's fine with Daddy as long as I'm not around. They have great times without me, which is another excuse for me to leave them to their own devices (and also means I can add sleeping in and going shopping by myself to the list of things I can do, so believe me, I'm not complaining). But when I'm home, she wants me to help her brush her teeth, to be the one to change her, to read stories to her. When I pick Penny up from Grandma's house, she will be fine, but as soon as she sees me, she starts whining. And we're talking about a stab-my-ears-with-a-screwdriver level of whining. I try not to give into the whining, because that's one thing that drives me crazy, but it is disheartening to know that my mere presence triggers it.

I was explaining Penny's recent behavior to a woman at work, and she asked if Penny is held a lot. I had to think about that, although I'm not even sure what she was getting at. Was she insinuating that Penny is coddled? I'm trying not to raise a spoiled child, now that I think about it, maybe Penny really is spoiled. She gets cuddled, picked up almost whenever she asks, and gets (almost) constant attention from an adult during the day. I'm trying to figure out if that's a bad thing, and I'm not sure it really is. If having a spoiled child is the worst thing to come out of our bumbling parenting attempts, I'll take it.

Sometimes I think the amount of adult attention she gets affects her ability to entertain herself, as I've mentioned before. It is a relief to go to her cousin's house, or a friend's house, so she can play with someone her age, and she plays pretty well with others. She is still negotiating that line between getting bullied (having toys taken from her) and bullying (taking whatever she wants), but as long as someone is there to referee, it doesn't go too far. So maybe we're ok.

And what does it mean to have a spoiled child? That she'll get a wake up call when she starts school and doesn't get her way all the time? Good, I say. Huzzah!

We're departing for San Diego this week, and I'll be attending a conference while Britt and Penny have adventures together. I think it will be good for them to spend time without me, and it will help Penny learn (as we already know) that Daddy is a hell of a lot more fun than Mommy.


Ironic collector said...

Don't worry about what other people say. Chances are the next person you talk to will be an attachment parenting advocate, and will tell you that you didn't hold Penny enough...

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w. wilson said...


I'm late to this party, but I have two comments:

1. She'll go through a Britt phase. And then a Katie phase again. And repeat.

2. Loving your child isn't the same as coddling. She's just going through some separation anxiety, which is perfectly normal. I hate whomever said that to you.

xoxo Whit