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.


  1. oh this is hard. i know, i used to get it a bit when leaving to travel for work. he probably just misses you and this is his payback. rooster positively ignored me when i once came back from a work trip. it played it self out and it will do for you. is there any opportunity that maybe mrs babber could drop him one morning and you pick up? sometime this parenting stuff hurts so much x

    1. Unfortunately, our commutes and office hours mean we can't swap duties at all now. It's all a bit logistically...challenging :-/

      I'm sure we'll come through it, I know that when I think about it sensibly. It's just a bit poo at the moment.

  2. Oh poor you! Maybe he is cross with you and this is how he shows it? I'm sure it won't last though I'm sure it feels awful. I remember DD pushing my boob away and saying 'no' and pointing at her cup - I was a wreck! rejection is hard to take because as adults we set great store by it but young children are still in that 'selfish' phase and learning how to interact. Try not to take it personally, keep on being available for that moment that only daddy will do. xx

    1. Thank you, I hadn't thought of it like that. Obviously it's more of a big deal for us as adults, he's just so grown up in some ways now that I forget he doesn't see everything the same way we do!

  3. I'm sure it is associated with your change in working patterns but that's not something you can help or control. It's also undoubtedly a phase. However 'a phase' doesn't mean it isn't significant!

    Paradoxically I would say this is Cam's way of showing you how much he loves you - he, of course, misses you.

    I read a great piece on Aha Parenting about reconnecting through play, might be useful in this situation.

    Since having my second daughter my first often wants to reconnect with me in this way, it's her way of checking and testing that I am still there for her.

    I find physical play in particular is really good for helping manage transitions and stages like this.

    Hope this helps!

    1. Thanks for the link, I'm going to take a look at it now :-)

      It does feel like it gradually improves over the course of each weekend, so maybe there is something in reconnecting. Just wish we didn't have the disconnect in the first place!

  4. I get phases of this and is so frustrating. Matilda will literally scream the house down at bedtime if Alex takes Henry to bed and I take her. Certainly makes you feel wanted doesn't it? I thought as I'd been out all day they'd argue over me not 'boring' mum who's been there all day telling them off.
    The best thing I've found to combat it is to get some good 1:1 time (or 2:1 in my case) where I take them out on my own for cake and drink or something. That bonding time seems to really help Matilda in particular reconnect and want me again.