Monday, May 12, 2008

Got Advice? Because I need it ...

Hi there, wise and articulate momosphere. We need some advice.

Munchkin is going through a mommy phase: you know, all mommy all the time? With a strong sub-refrain of "go away Daddy" and "leave me alone" and major tantrum pitching. Tonight the tantrum lasted all through the bath and well into bedtime. It was a really big tantrum, alternating screaming for me and yelling at her dad to go away. This seems to be the way things are going for the last wek or so.

Let's be clear: we co-parent and, to be honest, he's more fun, more patient, more diligent about good food, jumps on the bed with her and fixes her booboos with kisses. She's never been like this before.

What I've been doing is just leaving the house when it's time for Daddy-daughter time: it's like if she can so much as smell me, it's over. God, it's like I'm breastfeeding again. She can't miss me: tonight, we had just spent two hours together, and she spent the morning with me, too.

I know all kids go through this, right? But it's overwhelming me and it's breaking Pynchon's heart.

What can we do? So far, we're just letting Pynchon and Munchkin work it out together: I don't jump in. It's hard for all of us to listen to the ruckus that then ensues.

21 comments:

Alpha DogMa said...

Do you think it is related to moving into the new house? My instinct says it is her trying to have some token control over her environment. But what the hell do I know.

I think your tactics sound right. I'd be more concerned with Pynchon's response than hers -- I hope he doesn't take it personally.

And yeah, I'm the less fun parent, too. Is that a gender thing, do you think?

Mimi said...

AD -- yeah, I don't know. I was wondering about that. We haven't moved yet, and haven't packed a thing, so her environment hasn't been disturbed, nor her routine. But of course she must be picking up on our stress and our conversations. Ahhhhh!

Omaha Mama said...

I was formulating "advice" as I read, then saw that you do leave. That was what I was going to say. Leave them alone together. Often. My daughter went through this phase from about 1-4. She's not so much that way any more. It's just something they grow out of, I think. Maybe you could plan some special alone time too, so she knows that she's your #1 too. She's just establishing her territory. And you're it.

Tell you hubs NOT to take it personally. My sister used to joke to her husband that she wished the kids would pick him, would make it a whole lot easier for her. They laughed about it.

And maybe for a while, you'll have to do the "cares" bath, diapers, bottle. Till she gets over it.

Good luck.

Beck said...

Each of my kids has been through this phase. I think that while she still DOES need some mama-free time with her dad, she also will need lots more one-on-one time with you for a bit. It's pretty tiring and I always worried that their very-involved dad's feelings would get hurt.... but it DOES pass.

cinnamon gurl said...

Swee'pea's been doing stuff life this too. We try to find some middleground between indulging him all the time and not giving an inch, sort of picking our battles. But he's had periods with lots of meltdowns, not just related to mommy or daddy. They suck!

Patti said...

I'm only an aunt, so no opinions.

But from the perspective of a daughter, I can assure you I was a Daddy's Girl from age 13 to 22. Not that he spoiled me. I just adored him.

Perhaps Pynchon can look forward to that? :)

Mad said...

This has been my life from birth 'til now so no real advice here. Miss M has taken a real shine to her dad of late and I do see light at the end of the tunnel. When she is stressed or upset, though, only I will do.

It can be overwhelming and smothering but that too is a part of mothering.

crazymumma said...

I thinks it's normal but you already know that. My bet is that it is because you recently moved and she has to work out the stress of it and this is how it comes out.

I think your instincts are good and as long as Pynchon does not take it personally and get all upset in front of her it is fine to leave them to work it out.

Good luck, and haha, (envision me taking a slug of wine as I laugh and say this although it is 9 in the morning and it is coffee instead....haha...don't worry, she'll move onto something else to torture you with).

kittenpie said...

they do go through that, and it seems to alternate every now and then as to who's the number one. Pumpkinpie used to tell me, "I don't love you mommy, I only love daddy." Killed me the first few time, but I just left the room. If you show them it hurts, you are giving them a serious button to push. But knowing she would come back around, I started just saying, "That's okay, you'll love me tomorrow." Now she nods sagely and agrees that yes, tomorrow. It'll get better, it's just a test.

Bon said...

oh. ow. we went through a bit of this about a year ago, except it was me O wanted nothing to do with if Dada was available...but i think it was because i was still home with him and Daddy was glamourous. lately, the tables are turning - bedrest means i'm kind of a lump who can't do so much with him, and wow, is he ever taking a shine to me. a rather clingy shine, hurting very overworked Daddy's feelings. and i can't leave the house, so we're just kind of riding it through, hoping it doesn't get worse.

i'm helpful, aren't i? just wanted to sympathize.

Bea said...

Pie has always chosen me over her dad unless, as you say, I'm not at home. Then, about a week ago she switched and I was amazed at how jealous I was - how I projected into the future, when she's a teenager who can't stand her mother and confides only her father... Then it wore off yesterday, before I could even work up a post about it, and we were back into the my-mommy tantrums.

Kyla said...

I don't know. I vaguely remember these sorts of phases with my two, but they passed on their own, I think. Probably right about the time I was going out of my mind, too. LOL.

Jenifer said...

I think it has all been said and both girls went through this to varying degrees. It passes and now Daddy is a minor celebrity around here...they constantly ask for him to drive them to school because, "he plays loud music and the alphabet game" unlike me who before her coffee - just pretty much drives.

It will pass, I promise.

slouching mom said...

she will switch allegiances so many times in the next several years. tell pynchon not to feel sad, because soon enough, he'll have his day/month/year.

Karen said...

the only thing I can think of that hasn't already been mentioned is setting certain parameters - some friends of mine had an adorable little peanut who went into full mommy mode. In addition to what you are doing they set certain limits - she had to say hello, goodbye, thank you, please, etc to dad. She has to accept his help when offered it or say no thank you daddy (not scream, no I want mommy to get my juice!!). This took alot of the drama out of the scenario and made it just more manageable as a phase she was going through that everyone could cope with together - she had to participate in the coping which seemed to help her feel better - she had some power, some choices, wasn't been left to the whims of whatever was happening -and you may have guessed it her mom's job was being more than a tad too demanding at the time & she sensed the shift, though they had tried to minimize its impact on her. Kids, they're always onto us!

Christine said...

been there. and like the others before me said--it will pass, really.

Lisa b said...

My gal is being clingy 24/7 these days. Only I will do at 3 am. It ain't pretty.
Here's hoping the other gals are right and it ends soon.

NotSoSage said...

We've had the constant cycling between all-mama and all-daddy phases. For a while there it was predictable: she only wanted me in the morning and she only wanted Joe at night.

Now...not so much. But I think we've gotten past the initial hurt feelings and know that she'll come back around...and then go away again. Until she's a teenager and I'm worse than dirt. Sigh.

nomotherearth said...

Been there, and it sucks. I would say just let Pynchon keep having daddy-time no matter what she says she wants. (And, of course, special Mommy-time too, because she obviously needs it). But you need to be able to get away too, in order to come back to her refreshed.

JENN said...

Little Bean has been doing this lately too. However, knowing papa is heading out of town soon, she has been giving him attention lately. So, she hasn't been at my heels as much.

As previously mentioned, I think children just know what they need and if it is attention from Mommy, they will focus on it. Personally, I cherish this time, because she tends to take turns with clinging to my husband, her older sister and me. Since, I am home all day, this doesn't happen too much with me.

When she is clinging to me, my husband makes dates with Little Bean. Like eating ice cream or planting beans in the garden. Little Bean looks forward to this all day and will ask when papa is coming home to plant her beans with her. .

the new girl said...

I dread the all-mommy days, sometimes. I know that our girls are *similar* temperamentally and I gotta tell you...I can see my future.