My lil’ mama should be a mini-me but she’s insisting on being a mini-her. Gone are the days when she used to think we were the same person, that she was just an extension of her mother. Like a sixth toe. Or an extra finger. These days she’s a regular Miss Independent. In Adoti’s eyes, I’m like a socket. She plugs in for a few minutes, gets her Mama fix and then she’s off on her merry way.
This kind of hurts my feelings. We used to be tight, lil’ mama and I. But now she prefers her nanny. She’ll abandon me for Lucy at the drop of a hat. Hell, even if the hat dropping is just a rumour. The child will be off my lap and on her way as if she was being pursued by a bat straight out of hell. Shrieking with delight every single step of the way. And when I make a move to get her back, she screams – this time in distress – because she cannot fathom being separated from her beloved Lucy.
So. You know how it is. The stories people tell about the skits they have to perform just so they can leave the house in the morning without leaving a river of tears in their wake. Some have the nanny take the child to the kiosk. Or sneak out when the child is not looking. Others can only leave if the child is sleeping.
Well, I wish that was the state of affairs in my house … but it isn’t. In my house, Mama can live in the morning, at noon or in the dead of night and baby would not even blink an eye. In fact, she waves goodbye when I leave. With gusto. But should Lucy make a move for the door, all bets are off.
Adoti becomes inconsolable. On weekends, when Lucy goes off, we have to pretend we’re going downstairs to play and when Adoti goes chasing after the ball, Lucy scurries out the gate like a fugitive on the run. So the skits we perform are for nanny’s sake, not Mama’s. Harrumph!
It’s funny how children change situations. Before she was born I was determined to breastfeed for three months. When she was born, I adjusted to the reality that it was best for her to breastfeed exclusively for six months, at a minimum. A few weeks into her life and I knew that I would breastfeed her for as long as she wanted or needed to.
Then Miss Independent decided that she was going to set her own timetable. At 10-months or thereabouts, she started walking and stopped breastfeeding. Yeah … that kind of hurt my feelings. Which 10-month old doesn’t need their mother?
She’s adjusted to the whole ‘working mum’ thing so well, you would think she’d been practicing. It’s as if my little human understands that Mama’s got to do what Mama’s got to do. She’s rolling with the punches like a pro. But she does have moment when she reverts to type and becomes a regular 15-month old.
If anything scares her, she’ll be wrapped around my leg in record time. When she’s sleepy, she clambers onto my lap, sticks her thumb in her mouth and lays her head on my shoulder. When she’s not feeling too well, she wraps her hands around my neck, legs around my waist and hangs on tight. When she’s happy, she takes my big ole’ head in her tiny hands and lays her forehead against mine.
I know she loves me, even though she seems to have mastered the art of playing hard to get way before her time. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my baby girl, it’s that good things don’t come easy. Even though your child is born with an inbuilt unconditional love mechanism, you have to earn their trust. And their friendship. Their respect. It’s not an easy road, this raising-a-child business, but it is the most rewarding journey I have ever been on in my life. My relationship with my daughter is a living, breathing, evolving thing and it is such a joy to see it go from glory to glory, even as I see her have relationships with others.
I’m just going to have to put my big-girl panties on and suck it up. I know she loves Lucy, but I’m sure she loves me more. Well, that’s my story anyhow … and I’m sticking to it.