Sunday, March 2, 2014


Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things

Well, not mine. Maria von Trapp’s. They don’t really sound all that great to me, but then I have the advantage of not living in a country which has been invaded by Nazis. I suppose most things which aren’t wearing a swastika seem pretty awesome in those circumstances. I guess what I’m trying to get at is that favourite things are very personal.

If Cam had written that song in the last week, it would have gone something like this:

Milk in a bottle and painting on easels
Watching cBeebies, being whiny and tearful
Throwing my Playdoh and having a paddy
Plenty of mummy but NO! NOT DADDY!
Those three little words are all I’m hearing from my son at the moment. If it’s me who goes into his room first thing in the morning: “No. Not daddy.” When I come into the house after work and say hello: “No. Not daddy.” When I try to read him his bedtime stories: “No. Not Daddy.” You get the idea. I’m definitely not on Cam’s favourite things list just now. I’m a little worried by the timing. Since starting my new job I’ve seen considerably less of Cam. I don’t have a day at home with him anymore, and my day finishes an hour later than in my previous job. I also have a longer commute. I am also, now, always the one who drops him off at childcare, but never the one who picks him up. Does that mean he’s learning to associate me with abandonment?

The whole thing’s a bit rubbish.

Cam’s always been very loving toward both me and his mum, and I’m an over sensitive bundle of emotions masquerading as an actual human man, so this development has given me a big old dose of feeling sad.

I shrugged it off for a while, after all, toddlers are adept at latching onto phrases and repeating them ad nauseum. Before “No. Not Daddy.” came on the scene he could regularly be heard saying “no grandma, not the knife!” Out of context, that’s quite an unfortunate choice.

But “No. Not Daddy.” is more than just words. It’s deliberately avoiding eye contact for prolonged periods of time. It’s making do-or-die lunges from my arms towards someone else.

So, what to do? I’m hoping it’s just a brief phase, that one day soon I will walk into a room and be greeted with a friendly hug, or at least a cheery hello. But in the meantime do I ignore what he says and continue trying to hug him, play with him, read to him? Or should I let him spend a few days with (even more) minimal daddy input? Let him work out, hopefully, that I’m actually quite nice and he should want me to be part of his day?

Answers on a postcard. Or, more usefully, in the comments below.