My regular readers will know that I have always been an extremely involved dad. And, like many dads these days, since day one I have done my best to share the parenting responsibilities equally along with Mrs. LIAYF. I have accepted this responsibility with enthusiasm and have been rewarded 1000 fold with the unconditional love of my little guy.
A benefit of this involvement has thus far been that, save for his breastfeeding days, Lukas has not shown a partiality to either Mrs. LIAYF or I. He has always seemed equally comforted, and comfortable with either of us.
But recently there has been an ever so slight, but noticeable change in his attitude. As I suspect happens with many little boys, Lukas is starting to show a preference to his mother when it comes to being comforted, both emotionally and physically. I'm not sure if this is due to some change in the way I have approached dealing with him. I honestly don't think that is the case. As far as I am concerned I show the same kind of love and affection towards him that I always have.
But recently he has began to notice that daddy isn't as soft and cuddly as his mother is. And neither am I as good at giving snuggles as Mrs. LIAYF is. He even recently said that he didn't want to hug me because he 'didn't like my whiskers'. And more than once he has said that he only wanted mommy around, without really giving a reason.
All I can really say to this is that, well, he has a good point. Mrs. LIAYF is very good at these things. And my whiskers, even when freshly shaved, can be a bit rough. With those things, I can't really compete. And I don't want to either. It's altogether natural for a boy to be more affectionate towards his mother than his father, especially as he gets older.
But the truth is, this still makes me slightly sad. I know that this is a natural cycle in a lot of children's lives, and that given time the pendulum that is his parental preference will most likely shift back in my direction once again. Sad, but just a teensy bit really. I suppose that's human nature.
Anyway, even though I know with certainty that he still loves me as much as ever and that I am still his second favorite person in all the world, the whole motherly preference notion was reinforced on the way to preschool Monday morning. Lukas had mentioned over the weekend that he needed a family picture to have at school so Sunday night we had packed one into his backpack. I pulled it out and showed it to him on the way to school. His response was to start kissing the picture.
"You know what I am kissing?" he asked. "Mommy?" I guessed. "Yes, because I love Mommy" he replied. "What about daddy? Do you love daddy too?" "No, I just love mommy." Ouch. Even though I knew he didn't mean it hearing those words will never be palatable.
But then, after I dropped him off and as I said goodbye to him from across the room and prepared to step out of the preschool classroom, he sprinted towards me with a worried expression on his face, and jumped into my arms. Every now and again he will not see anyone familiar first thing in the morning and get a bit shy and clingy. I thought maybe this was one of those instances.
However, his primary caregiver was there and after my son had clung tightly to me for at least 30 seconds, she came over and looked him in the eye. Lukas and my cheeks were still pressed tightly against each other so I couldn't see his face. At the same time, from the corner of my mouth and in a goofy muffled voice I asked "Whaaaaaat's gooooing on oooooover theeeeere?"
And with that a smile broke over the teachers face. "That's a million dollar smile" she laughed. I then swung Lukas high into the air prompting a big giggle to burst forth. In the same motion I set him down and he was off and running. Heading over to the play area like a wind up car hitting being released onto a tile floor.
On the way, he looked over his shoulder with a huge smile and said "Bye daddy!"