A Toddler Crush

by doodaddy on April 6, 2007

Park Buddy’s Boy has a crush on me.

It’s super sweet, because he’s very shy at 30 months, but he inexplicably digs my mojo. I dig up bugs, he digs up bugs. I turn Boobaby upside down, he wants to be turned upside down. I play the guitar, he matches me strum-for-strum on the ukulele.

My own daughter, naturally, is much less attuned to my coolness (or just over it). She may only be 14 months old, but she can already take me for granted like a teenager. How advanced she is for her age!

So anyway, this boy likes me to the point where he can get upset when I have to leave, or when I’m feeding Boobaby, or am otherwise occupied. I set reasonable limits, of course, explaining why I can’t swing with him if I’m already swinging with Boo. And, luckily, Buddy Boy seems to like Boobaby, too, so we can all play together a lot.

But I’m starting to have my doubts about whether I shouldn’t back off a little bit, try to be a little less interesting.

On the one hand…

This is a child who already has some separation issues. His dad travels a lot, and spent the first seven months of Buddy Boy’s life coming home only on weekends. He sometimes hates leaving the playground when we’re there. I really, really don’t want to push those buttons.

On the other hand…

What better way to get over such issues than to face them? It might be hard initially, but probably will get easier with time.

On the one hand…

I’ve got my own baby to concentrate on, and she demands a lot of attention!

On the other hand…

My baby will benefit from seeing me interact with other kids, and participating, too.

On the one hand…

I don’t want to replace Buddy Boy’s existing male role model.

On the other hand…

Seeing a male who takes care of kids during the day, who does the feeding and cleaning and comforting the way moms usually do, can only be a useful additional role model.

There’s no way I would be able to replace his dad anyway.

And, most selfishly:

On the other hand…

I like my Buddy and I don’t want to alienate her. I want to keep doing outings and playdates. And… I enjoy Buddy Boy’s attention.

I guess I’ll talk to Park Buddy and see what she thinks. I don’t want to jeopardize the relationship, but I’m beginning to worry that being too engaged might be just as bad as not being engaged enough.

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tagged as in friends,stay-at-home dad ·

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Blog Antagonist April 6, 2007 at 8:04 am

Ooh, that’s a tough one. I can’t offer any advice, I’m afraid. My own husband has always been very hand on and involved, so I can only guess at how a little guy with an absentee father might feel. But it makes sense that he has clicked with you I suppose. I agree that you are good role model, but you shouldn’t feel responsible for this child’s lack of paternal attention. Again, tough one, and I’m just rambling, so I’ll say good luck and leave it at that!

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aimee/greeblemonkey April 7, 2007 at 1:28 pm

Yeah, I agree. Tough one. Again, Bryan is very much the dad in the thick playing with the kids, so they love him too, but I get worried about all those things you worried about too – I totally see both sides.

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doodaddy April 11, 2007 at 2:49 pm

Thanks, you guys. We talked about it and we’ve sort of just decided to go for broke and see what happens. Buddy Boy likes me a lot, but he also likes other kids his age and older, and he loves his dad a lot, no question. For me to try to distance myself, I think, would just be artificial and weird.

So we’re hanging out as much as feels right, and throwing a few quarters into the future therapy fund each time!

Dd.

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