We’ve been going through a particularly difficult phase with Amelie recently, the ‘I hate my Daddy phase’. I had heard that toddlers can go through a phase of favouring one parent or the other so thought it might be coming but when it happens, as with all these difficult stages, we’ve had to adapt and learn what works for us as a family.
It does seem to be getting a little better at the moment but it’s been and is hard, for all of us.
Mummy, Mummy, Mummy
Amelie and I are very close, I don’t know whether it was breastfeeding for so long, the traumatic start, me clinging to her for dear life as I thought she’d break – but Mummy generally is the only one that will ever do. My Mum sometimes gets a look in but not always! We went through a phase when Evie was born where Nanny had to do everything but 99 times out of 100 it’s Mummy or nothing.
Everything and every task is a bit of a challenge; Daddy goes to get the milk or drinks in the morning and we have tears and tantrums as Amelie wants to do it with me. Amelie needs a nappy change, ‘Mummy do it’ and when I went out the other night she cried for half an hour and refused to go to bed until Mummy came home and told Daddy she hated him.
I feel so guilty as Amelie’s Daddy is SUCH an amazing Daddy but she just doesn’t let him do anything! It must be awful for him, it’s also hard for me as I feel guilty that she favours me and that a lot of the time I have to drop Evie to go and help Amelie.
I do wonder whether the arrival of this phase has been triggered by Evie’s arrival and Amelie making sure she doesn’t get ‘forgotten’ by me. Of course she never would but in a toddlers mind someone else has come along who also has the same love and attention of their Mummy. As much as she loves Evie I do think there is some jealously and her wanting to get Mummy back to herself.
I actually think that secretly she wants to go to Daddy but she’s worried if she does that I won’t come back? I’m no child phycologist but I think these are some of the reasons why she’s been displaying this behaviour.
The whole situation got quite bad recently around the time I was poorly, I really needed to rest and couldn’t. We decided that Amelie and Daddy needed to spend more time together and also start some fun activities that they could make theirs to try and build their restionship.
What Amelie and Daddy did
- Daddy bought Amelie a lovely maze puzzle book which they now read every night before bed when I feed Evie. They snuggle up in our bed and spend half an hour doing the puzzles. I then take over when Evie is asleep and read Amelie’s favourite books and put her to bed. I don’t read the puzzle book with Amelie to make sure it’s Daddy and Amelie’s thing. I’ve noticed she always tells me about the book and how her and Daddy love the puzzles.
- Daddy is a designer by trade (and I am not very good at the creative bits, or not as good as him anyway) so he always makes amazing creations using play doh or paints and I know she loves doing this with him.
- I try and go out a bit more to give them some time when I’m not around, as I’m at home all week I think this is important for us all.
- I have also been making sure Amelie and I have time together as well, little things like a trip to the park or even shopping and then a coffee shop treat afterwards.
We’ve been trying these things for a couple of months now and I think we are starting to see a difference. She’s letting Daddy do a few more things for her, she gets really excited about bed time with him and there is no crying for Mummy. I’ve also noticed she talks about him lots more when he’s at work about what they’ll do together that evening.
When it all comes together
I thought we had a bit of a breakthrough at the wedding we went to last weekend. I captured (what I think) was a beautiful moment between Daddy and Amelie. Amelie was a flower girl and Nick the best man so they were both at the front of the ceremony. Amelie jumped off her chair after the wedding and ran to Daddy to show him her dress and the sign she carried down the aisle. She went straight to him and was so proud to show him what she’d done, it really was a special moment.
As I write this we’ve just had a conversation about Amelie and apparently tonight they were looking through some wedding photos and talking about Amelie getting married one day and she said ‘Amelie marry Daddy’.
I think we might be making progress…
Have you found your toddler favoured one of you? How did you deal with it?