Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tales from the Rejected Parent

Well, this week has presented me with an unprecedented set of challenges: Blake has decided he has absolutely no time for his Mama.

For the last two days I have had to struggle to get any sort of interaction from my previously loving and hilarious son. He sits amongst his toys, his glorious little face set into an impassive expression, aimlessly sifting through them for something that might peak his interest. Few things seem to. I decide that perhaps he wants me to play with him so I attempt to join in as he 'plays'. I'm met with either a cold stare, a sigh and his retreating form or, worse, he ignores me completely; point blank refusing to give me any eye contact or to acknowledge my presence.

In fact, only one thing seems to illicit any sort of genuine smile from Blake at the moment and that's his Daddy. As soon as Mr Meaney walks into a room, all indifference is shed and he breaks into one of his megawatt grins; all smiling eyes and biteable cheeks. They play and laugh as I watch, wondering what on Earth I've done to upset our boy. Mr Meaney is kind and tries to encourage me to join in, but Blake's face immediately drops the second I try to get involved with his Daddy time. If he's in the mood to give kisses out for Daddy, he will kiss me too, but with a sigh that suggests he's only doing it because his father insisted.

I can't pretend that all of this isn't breaking my heart. In fact, today I had a little 'woe is me' cry, which isn't something I'm particularly wont to do if I can help it. I wouldn't mind so much if I could figure out any sort of reason for why this is happening; I can't think of anything I've done or said that might have pissed him off to this extent. If anything I'm the more lenient parent. I'm far less likely to tell Blake off over minor indiscretions and I'm forever imploring Mr Meaney to lighten up as Blake explores his environment. My motto is: if it's not going to injure him or break, let him fill his boots.

I turned to Google to find out if maybe this is an expected stage in a child's development and it turns out that I'm not alone by any stretch of the imagination. It seems that twelve months is a common age for a baby to suddenly reject the parent that is at home most of the time. There were a few theories put forward, including that the secondary caregiver is more likely to engage in play, whilst the homemaker spends more time doing housework or cooking. Well, that doesn't stand in this house; I don't cook and I barely glance at the housework if it's looking like Blake wants to play. However, one desperate mother put forward an idea that I think I might latch onto. As her son continued to completely reject her in favour of his father, she theorised that he felt secure in the knowledge that his mother would never be far from reach. His father, on the other hand, was at work a lot of the time and she believed that her son was afraid that he might not return. I could see how that might be the case on the good ship Meaney. After all, I'm always here; the kid's probably sick of me, but he has to make the most of his father when he's here.

Of course, it's of little comfort really because he doesn't just ignore me when his father is here; it's all the time. So today I feel sorry for myself. Today I require cuddles and love and the attention of my only child. Unfortunately for me, it looks like today I'm going to get nothing of the sort. 

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Teething - A Poem

They're hateful things, these pearly whites,
Bringing snot and tears and bedtime fights.
With sleepless nights and swollen gums,
Sky high fevers and red-raw bums;
With watery eyes and scarlet cheeks,
My baby wails and howls and shrieks.
The nappy count goes through the roof
With every spiteful, evil tooth.
The misery seems to come in waves,
While Calpol is what what my angel craves.
We need teething toys and pain relief
If we've a chance against these horrid teeth.
Every shirt he owns is soaked with dribble;
On every toy he's had a nibble.
He chews those fists without much grace,
Agony etched on that perfect face.
If I could take his pain away, I would;
I'd do as much as I thought I could,
But I'm helpless here, this must be done;
He needs teeth just like everyone.
So I'll cuddle him up with all my might
And hope he'll sleep right through the night.
It won't be long before this has passed
Baby Boy will have cut his last
He'll have forgotten this once he is grown
'Til he gets wisdom teeth of his very own...

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

A Love Letter From a Mother

Not to my son; not this time. There have been several of those and there will be many more, but this is a love letter for someone very different.

Hello You

I bet you didn't expect me to be writing you a letter to tell you how much I love you, did you? After all, we're sort of in direct competition for Blake's affections. You are the sole individual who has the power to make me feel pushed to one side, and on more than one occasion you've made me feel like I'm just not needed at all.

However much those moments hurt, I have to appreciate and admire you for what you are.

You are my son's best friend, his confidante, his soul mate. You are the one for whom he saves his most beaming of smiles. Whenever he sees you, it's as though he hasn't laid eyes on you in months, even if it has barely been a few hours since you were together. There are so many times that he has picked you over me when he's needed comfort, and painfully few moments that he has chosen the other way around. Of course, that's for a very good reason; you see, you provide a love for my son that I simply cannot compete with.

You are there by his side when I'm paying attention to the housework instead of our precious boy. You sit by his side, reminding him that he is loved and never alone.

You are there with him throughout the night when he's poorly or when his teeth hurt. While I sleep in the other room, you sit up with him on your endless nighttime vigils; making sure that comfort is on hand when he needs it.

You are tough in the face of his sometimes violent displays of affection. While I have to gently pry his fingers from around my neck during his overwhelming hugs, you happily let him throttle you with his love.

You are there for him at daycare when I can't be. You are there for him when he can't get to sleep at other people's houses while his parents are out working. You remind him of home and that he'll be back there soon.

Just the smell of you is enough to calm him when he's upset; he doesn't even have to open his eyes to know that you are there for him. As soon as he senses you, he settles and you sit there serenely waiting; ready to greet him the second he wakes up.

Yes, you are my competition, but I love you for everything that you do. I love how much Blake loves you and for all the ways that you provide for him when I cannot.

You are Mugglewump.

Thank you for everything