Friday, December 23, 2011


I wanted to write one of those beautiful birthday posts people have for their children, delineating all the wonderful recent developments and the promise of what's to come. I just can't pull it off, though, because this most recent stage? Its breaking my heart.

Through what I believe is a combination of the new baby, his being away from me for 2 weeks on a trip (they returned more than 2 weeks ago), my return to work, and his staying home part-time with my mother-in-law, my darling boy has decided I no longer exist. It's "bye mummy". "Go away mummy." "No mummy, gramma do it." Refusing to look me in the eye, sit on my lap or even near me, and pushing me away when I try to get a hug. And last night, a major screaming, writhing fit when I tried to do his bedtime stories (my favorite favorite thing) that couldn't be stopped with all the usual distraction techniques and only abated when I told him I would call his daddy to come. I come home from work and he runs away, into grandma's lap. On one of his daycare days I left work super-early & went all the way across town to go get him and he screamed when I got there & asked to go home to grandma.

Really, I want to cry, it hurts when your child prefers others. Instead I put on a happy face and try try TRY to obtain his interest. I sing, I dance, I try the tickle games & the lifting him up in the air, I try to read the books with all the funny voices. I feel desperate, like a woman trying to "win back" a boyfriend that has SO TOTALLY moved on, and everyone pities her because "how pathetic, can't she see that he is so OVER HER?" I thought it would get better with time, but it seems to be getting worse; his attachment to his grandmother grows stronger (and she's here for 3 MORE WEEKS) & he's losing interest in all of our "inside jokes" and games. I've read that we need to not give in to his preferences, but its hard when he screams & tantrums, especially at bedtime when we really don't want to get him wound up and affect his sleep. My husband says I have to "keep trying" but its exhausting, especially when I get no reward.

I knew going into motherhood that one day my children would grow away from me, I just wasn't expecting it so soon.


  1. Oh Ana, please don't take it personally. This is a totally normal phase around this age, especially after a new baby or a long separation or going back to work -- and you've just had all of them one after another. He will come around.

    "I'm here when you're ready" will probably be easier on you than desperately trying to win him back.

  2. Oh so heartbreaking. I'm sorry. I know that, as Baby Smiling says, this is a totally normal response to all of the changes in his life but I can imagine how you feel.

    I know that it will pass and I hope that it happens very soon. Wishing you lots of resilience until then.

  3. Having no personal experience with this, my guess is that this has to do with jealousy over his little brother. My husband is an older brother himself and concurs. It will pass and things will get better (and you mother-in-law will move out -- glorious!!). It's hard for a 2 year old to no longer be the sole object of his mother's affection, but he will get over it eventually.

  4. Thank you all for your insight! I've realized that some of this is related to his preference for grandma (MIL) and my own issues with her. If it was just a daddy phase I'd be cool with it--I know it's normal and I remember my little sister going through similar phases. but it really gets me when he runs to HER and hangs on for dear life. Ugh....

  5. Thanks for stopping by my blog, Ana! I love yours ... beautiful, thoughtful posts about motherhood and your children.

    Regarding the Christmas comment on my post: I like the no-gifts-at-home idea ... it makes all of the rest of it more meaningful and beautiful when you take the consumerism out of it. The pagans who started the holiday certainly didn't center it around iPhones. :) I hope yours was happy, and that you found joy in reexperiencing that small piece of your childhood!

    Regarding rejection: they definitely go through stages. My five year old sometimes hates me and sometimes can't climb into my lap to be closer to me. As I think about my relationship with my parents, it's been the same ... cycles of independence and feeling my way mixed with cycles of returning home, feeling glad to have a safe (sort of, anyway) space. It's so hard to see your children go through the independence part, but it's also rewarding, too ... your heart swells with pride to see them on their own, I think. And as much as they get attached to others, you are the one constant in their lives ... teachers and caretakers come and go, but in the middle of the night, you're the one they call for.

    Hang in there!