Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Tales from the Rejected Parent

Well, this week has presented me with an unprecedented set of challenges: Blake has decided he has absolutely no time for his Mama.

For the last two days I have had to struggle to get any sort of interaction from my previously loving and hilarious son. He sits amongst his toys, his glorious little face set into an impassive expression, aimlessly sifting through them for something that might peak his interest. Few things seem to. I decide that perhaps he wants me to play with him so I attempt to join in as he 'plays'. I'm met with either a cold stare, a sigh and his retreating form or, worse, he ignores me completely; point blank refusing to give me any eye contact or to acknowledge my presence.

In fact, only one thing seems to illicit any sort of genuine smile from Blake at the moment and that's his Daddy. As soon as Mr Meaney walks into a room, all indifference is shed and he breaks into one of his megawatt grins; all smiling eyes and biteable cheeks. They play and laugh as I watch, wondering what on Earth I've done to upset our boy. Mr Meaney is kind and tries to encourage me to join in, but Blake's face immediately drops the second I try to get involved with his Daddy time. If he's in the mood to give kisses out for Daddy, he will kiss me too, but with a sigh that suggests he's only doing it because his father insisted.

I can't pretend that all of this isn't breaking my heart. In fact, today I had a little 'woe is me' cry, which isn't something I'm particularly wont to do if I can help it. I wouldn't mind so much if I could figure out any sort of reason for why this is happening; I can't think of anything I've done or said that might have pissed him off to this extent. If anything I'm the more lenient parent. I'm far less likely to tell Blake off over minor indiscretions and I'm forever imploring Mr Meaney to lighten up as Blake explores his environment. My motto is: if it's not going to injure him or break, let him fill his boots.

I turned to Google to find out if maybe this is an expected stage in a child's development and it turns out that I'm not alone by any stretch of the imagination. It seems that twelve months is a common age for a baby to suddenly reject the parent that is at home most of the time. There were a few theories put forward, including that the secondary caregiver is more likely to engage in play, whilst the homemaker spends more time doing housework or cooking. Well, that doesn't stand in this house; I don't cook and I barely glance at the housework if it's looking like Blake wants to play. However, one desperate mother put forward an idea that I think I might latch onto. As her son continued to completely reject her in favour of his father, she theorised that he felt secure in the knowledge that his mother would never be far from reach. His father, on the other hand, was at work a lot of the time and she believed that her son was afraid that he might not return. I could see how that might be the case on the good ship Meaney. After all, I'm always here; the kid's probably sick of me, but he has to make the most of his father when he's here.

Of course, it's of little comfort really because he doesn't just ignore me when his father is here; it's all the time. So today I feel sorry for myself. Today I require cuddles and love and the attention of my only child. Unfortunately for me, it looks like today I'm going to get nothing of the sort. 

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