I was put firmly in my place by a six-year-old the other day. We were discussing our daughter’s two mummies and how to distinguish between them. “You can’t be Mummy 1 because you didn’t make the baby. You are Mummy 2”, she pronounced with the kind of brutal honesty that only a child or a sociopath can muster.
To make matters worse, she then declared herself Mummy 3, with a range of self-appointed duties that included patting the baby when crying. As Mummy 2, my role lay somewhere in between full time parent and occasional baby patter.
It was funny because kids say the darndest things, but it cut to the quick too, because this truth was at the same time being more forcefully driven home to me by our eleven-month-old daughter whom, it seems, I suddenly no longer able to console.
At times of crisis, which, as we know in baby land, can be anything from offering an unwanted spoonful of yoghurt (the outrage) to a misplaced pat from a six-year-old, suddenly only Mummy 1 will do.
It’s a mixed blessing. Mummy 1 is in high demand. If she goes to the toilet, our toddler’s face crumples and she starts a steadfast crawl down the hall in hot pursuit. If Mummy 1 engages in conversation with another human being, our little one looks aghast and begins to sob silently, so deep is the hurt inside. If Mummy 1 goes out, well, Mummy 1 doesn’t go out anymore.
And, yet, here I am. Out. Outside. In the world, having had quite a nice night’s sleep thank you very much because, you guessed it, when wailing into the deep dark night, only the loving arms of Mummy 1 will do.
A friend asked me how I feel at this apparent rejection by my daughter. Well, I feel rested. I feel sane. I feel socialized. I feel fine. Of course it hurts a little bit, but I know its Mummy 1 that my little girl needs right now, and that you can’t argue with nature.
But I do feel a little bit sorry for Mummy 1.
Any other Mummy 1 or Mummy 2’s out there have similar experiences?