My daughter is going through this intense attachment to her dad phase. I think part of it is just a phase that most kids go through, especially daughters, but going to Mexico City on a school trip and working long hours, 14 hours plus apart from her, definitely made her attachment to dad even stronger. There were even moments when she seemed upset with me and would want to go with anyone but her mami. I felt like she resented the extra hours we were apart. That was tough on me because I was working with that extra layer of guilt.
Since coming back to LA and getting back into our routine, mothering has been tough. She still constantly rejects me, calls for her dad over and over again during long car rides from school to home and will not be separated from her dad the minute she walks through the door. It can be heartbreaking. And it’s hard on my husband because he can’t get a break because she won’t go to me even for him to check the mail. I am having a hard time because I spend a lot of time with her, yet he gets all the kisses and cuddles and I get none. It’s been testing my patience and difficult for me to honor and accept that she is going through a transition.
Today, however, was a good day amongst many very tough days. I am celebrating the victory of this day. On the drive home I asked her if she would hold my hand, it’s uncomfortable to hold her hand while I’m driving and she’s in the car seat in the back of the car, but she said yes and it was so worth it. To hold that small hand in mine is like getting to hold a treasure. When we got home, I asked her if she wanted to go up in a rebozo, she said yes and she snuggled and leaned into my chest for the first time in a long time. I cherished every minute of carrying her and talking to her. She’s so independent, which I love, but I’ve missed holding my baby and getting a hug from her. We walked out the front door and watched cars drive by and people walking their dogs, all while cuddling. It felt so delicious. I have no doubt that we are still in the midst of this phase, not fooling myself, but today was a really nice break from the I-only-want-my -dad phase and I got all the love and cuddles that I had been missing.
Thankfully I have friends with daughters and I reached out to one of my good friends when I felt like I had reached my limit and she shared that this phase is something her daughter went through as well, it lasted upwards of six months but passed eventually. She recommended special dates just her and I, which I am going to try to be mindful of setting once a week.
Unfortunately, I travel this weekend for a conference, so that will probably through our relationship off. But now I know it just takes time, patience, and that reconnection will happen. Today, the wrap was the magic medicine that glued us back together after being disconnected. The lesson I learned from Paloma is that my patience as a parent will be tested, in fact it’s like getting a flash forward of her and I and the struggles we will have when she’s a teen, but these tough moments will pass and our bond and our love is strong enough to get passed all our tough moments. I will celebrate and savor the small victories. Today bringing my daughter up in a wrap, getting a hug and a kiss from her was a giant victory.