Man Time: No Girls Allowed

by anna on March 25, 2009

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“We’re going to watch ball and eat ribs, dude.”

Mr. Right-Click made this announcement to Mini last Sunday evening, as I was getting ready to go to spin class. This is probably the first of what will be countless times where I leave them with the thought that what they are having in my absence is some kind of testosterone-infused bonding session that is better realized without the presence of Mommy to muck things up.

Male-bonding. The real deal.

When I told Mr. Right-Click this, he claimed that he would do the same thing with a girl child, and I agreed, but stated that a girl child might take to it with less relish than does Mini, who yells, “DYeahyay!” at the mention of these kinds of activities. Sure, there are exceptions to this blatantly sexist observation, but in a strictly mainstream heteronormative sense, this is Man Time, and even though they invite me to participate, I can’t help thinking there are No Girls Allowed.

The increase in instances of Man Time opportunities coincides with Mini’s relatively recent discovery of gender differences. I suspect this is also tied to the interest in the potty, which led naturally to his observation that he is in some ways more like Daddy than he realized. This must have come as quite a shock to him. But as time passes, Mini seems to be rediscovering his Daddy, and becoming bonded to him in a new way. After months and months of Mini wanting all Mommy, all the time, he is starting to have days where Daddy is the clear favorite, and though I miss the illusory omnipotence that comes with being Number One All The Time, it is also mixed with other feelings, relief and pride among them.

It took longer for Mini to bond to Mr. Right-Click than it did for him to bond to me. I am not talking about those first few days/months, where Mini was just kind of a succubus constantly attached to me, because although it is true that even then he would cry when held by others, only to stop when I picked him up, it was not so much a real attachment as it was an urgent need to know where his food source was. After the first few months, once Mini woke up, he was always already attached to me, and though he preferred Mr. Right-Click to anybody else on the planet, this meant very little. It was me he wanted in the middle of the night, only my rocking him into the wee hours could soothe the eighty five million ear infections he had that first year, before we put tubes in his ears, and anyone other than Mommy greeting him at the end of a nap was met with a look of veiled disappointment, as if to say, “Oh. She sent you, did she?

The pre-gender-identification omnipotent power of the (m)Other is intoxicating, but it is also complicated by a severe lack of sleep and the knowledge that it is largely biology that has placed you on your throne. Mini did not prefer me initially because of my spectacular wit or charming personality. He preferred me because it was in his best interest, biologically speaking, to do so. And yeah, I sopped it all up, but there were also times where I wished I didn’t have to be Mommy, even if only for the wee hours of a Sunday morning.

Still, I was the first to really get a good, heartfelt snuggle out of him. I was the first one he kissed. I was the one he always reached for when he was hurt. It might be hard to give that up, even if he still comes to me to kiss his boo-boos and make them go away. But when I see him light up at the mere mention of “Daddy’s home,” or when I see him running to his Daddy’s arms, I guess I figure I can share him, if I have to. Because what he gets from his Daddy is special, and it’s not mine to give.

So I guess what I’m saying is they can have their Man Time. I’ll sit in for the basketball games, but eat a salad instead. I’ll leave them their football and take my spinning classes. But maybe having a girl baby wouldn’t be such a scary thing for me, after all.

{ 9 comments }

eliz March 25, 2009 at 6:18 am

So bittersweet and so true. It’s nice to be No. 1, even when you know it won’t last forever and you’ll have to settle for being co-No. 1 once they discover Daddy. There’s something about watching my daughter play with her father that makes me feel like we’re a real family and not just a couple that has a kid.

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jenni March 25, 2009 at 6:22 am

Oscar asks for Dada every morning when I get him from my crib. I’m not gonna lie, it breaks my heart a little. But, as you said, he was mine first, so I guess I can share him now.

jenni March 25, 2009 at 6:23 am

It doesn’t hurt that now I have Miles, who is All Mine these days. And I love every second of it. I typed a smiley face emoticon for a second then thought better of it. I loath emoticons.

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Kerry March 25, 2009 at 8:49 am

Both of mine are so attached to me right now that it’s hard to relate. If Daddy goes out, it’s like, “Oh, bye.” If I try to leave, it’s a HUGE deal, and they ask for me the whole time I’m gone. I end up feeling guilty whenever I try to leave the house, even to do required stuff like go to the dentist. I don’t leave them very often to begin with, so it’s hard.

That said–girl time is da bomb. My daughter is really getting into painting toenails, doing our hair, etc. I am enjoying it far more than I expected (although we both have the same fine, thin, toddler hair that is impossible to “do,” but she’ll figure that out soon enough).

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Ginny Marie March 25, 2009 at 8:56 am

Oh, baby girls are wonderful! My four year old, though, is definitely Daddy’s girl. She wants nothing to do with me on the weekends when Daddy’s home. Sometimes she doesn’t even want me to snuggle with her at night anymore! (I know I’m still her favorite Mommy!)

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Michele March 25, 2009 at 10:18 am

What a nice post. And I can relate as the only female in a house of 4 males. I do crave real life girl time. But I didn’t have a real dad around and I am so glad mine have the dad they have. It is so important to have the boys relate to their dad. Even though I do so, so, so much for them, …..and two of the three have written in school assignments about how their dad is their fave person, I am glad they have him.

Michele March 25, 2009 at 9:08 pm

They may go to their dad but where their heart lies is with their mommy. My boys remain mommy boys even now at 25 & 23. The husband understands but he really wishes we had a girl.

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maggie March 26, 2009 at 8:41 am

i was the same- and had a girl after- and it ISN’T so bad- at all. it’s awesome.

Mary Anna April 21, 2009 at 8:13 am

In our house, we observe “Boys’ Night” (or boys’ day or morning …) when Mommy is out. Hubs makes a big deal about getting to do cool boy stuff, like eating in the living room or going to Home Depot.

Every morning, the first thing about of Thing 1′s mouth is “Is Daddy home?” If Hubs hasn’t left yet, Thing 1 insists they get back into our bed and snuggle for a minute. It’s really cute. (If he has left, Thing 1 will throw a huge fit, including punching my tile floor and screaming this evil growl.)

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