“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.