Toddler Harbat is going through a phase right now where I am the favorite parent. I say it’s a phase because she went through a phase where she devoured sweet potatoes and broccoli and now will pick micron-sized specs of spinach out of the cheese on her pizza. Being the favorite parent is not actually a good thing.
First, you feel bad for the other parent. When my wife walks into a room, TH will say, “No, Mama!” Nice welcome home, huh? When it’s bath time, or story time, or anything time, Toddler Harbat asks for me. If I’m busy she’ll cling to my pantleg like a drowning rat, and my wife will have to pull her away despite pitiful wailing cries and teary entreaties.
Second, you can’t get a moment apart. Am I trying to change a lightbulb? TH wants to play and will climb up the stepstool with me. Putting in a new furnace filter? I’ve got a helper beside me, reaching in towards the blue flame jets and exposed wiring. When TH is going potty, she wants me in there to read her a book. When my wife peeks in she gets, “Go to way, Mama!”
I can’t figure out why I am the parent of choice right now. I don’t have any more patience, spend any more time, or get pushed over as easily. Is it because I am willing to read her leprechaun book with a Lucky Charms accent? Or is it the didgeridoo I fashioned from a cardboard tube that I play in her ear? Maybe it’s because I give her a little bowl of frozen blueberries for dessert. My wife does plenty of nice things, like picking up a dozen new books a week from the library, so I don’t have to read that goddam Kermit valentine book one…more…time. But she gets “Go to way Mama!” and I get, “Come on, Babbo, let’s read a book.”
I can’t say it doesn’t feel good to be the preference, but it is equaled by my guilt about it. It’s not that TH doesn’t love her Mama it’s that…somebody has to be the antagonist in the story and this week it’s her. Not to worry. Next week I’ll go back to reading books in my tone-deaf speed reader voice and maybe TH will tell me to “go to way”.