Since the day our son was born, Mom has been the favorite parent. The Chief. The Rock. The Head Honcho. The one he looks to when he's hurt or happy or tired. I'm the one he looks to for filler. Like that sitcom you watch because it starts without warning or commercial right after your favorite show.But it’s cool. I’m okay with it. After all, she breast fed him for a year, so there was a special bond between mother and son and I was content to bide my time and
Besides, there’s nothing wrong with second place. Hey, I’m on the podium and the grandparents are fighting it out for third. I'm kidding of course, except for the part about second place. I’m firmly in second. Anyway, I knew my place and was happy and willing to take whatever crumbs of affection fell my way.
But, (rub hands together and smile creepily), the scales have tilted, and things are balancing out a little sooner than expected. Like my wife said recently, I knew this day would come, I just thought it would be later.
Yes, well move aside my precious little silver medalist, our little one has taken to dear old dad more and more. Not a minute too soon if you ask me. Some might call it a draw, but I know better,especially after the newest development this week.
Our son has started doling out kisses, and many (ahem, most) are coming my way.
Now obviously we’re both happy with this new turn of events. But the other day I saw what could be described as a hint of jealousy. It happened as I was getting smothered with kisses. I mean, my cheek was soaked with slobber and I was kind of worried about it getting chapped when. And then I saw it, my wife cutting her eyes at this father and son hallmark moment. She quickly recovered, clearing her throat and smiling wildly. But I saw it, and the momentum had swung my way...
“Mommy wants kisses, can Mommy have kiss Simon?”
To be honest I was a little embarrassed for her. It was like watching a champion boxer well beyond his prime, taking a drubbing. It's hard to watch, and hear. Her voice was pleading and desperate, on the verge of breaking,, and when Simon reached for me, the dethroning was complete.
She fought it, resorting to cheap gimmicks in a last ditch effort to get that kiss. When it became clear that there had been a shift—when even the dogs had left the room because they couldn’t bear anymore, he was returned to me, and wasted no time planting a messy smooch on my cheek.
Her eyes widened. She’d gone from gourmet entrée to back freezer artifact in the time it took to say Hungry Man. I swelled with pride, closing my eyes and grimacing like adults do in effort to tell her it was okay, not all of us can be perfect parents.
After that Mom began campaigning hard to get back to the top. She joined us for bath time and playtime, unable to let him out of her sight and risk being bumped off the podium. She nearly broke her neck to skid down the hall after hearing him giggle. And between you and me, her desperation wasn't very becoming.
In all honesty I know my brief stint as go to parent is as permanent as a clean diaper. I’ll have my time, then it will be back to Mom. He’ll realize that Daddy is winging it, that he didn’t pack a treat in his pocket during a walk, or that he sometimes skimps on the butt paste. That he doesn't know when to shut his mouth or stop typing.
We each have our strengths, and pretty soon he'll notice that mine are silly hijinks and pranks. I can dance like a monkey, but Mom is much better for snuggling. She’s good at that stuff, and besides, who am I kidding, it's too much pressure being the favorite. For us, this is a team sport.