Monday, 21 April 2014

Daddy's Girls

 When I discovered I was having a little girl, I instantly knew my child was going to be a Daddy’s girl. While I pride myself on being a pretty decent Mum, I have my failings. I can be selfish, spend too much time on my phone, I find playing with toys unbelievably boring and I am extremely impatient. Ava’s Dad, on the other hand, is none of these things. He has the patience of a saint and the concentration span of the Dalai Lama. He can spend hours doing the most inane of activities just to please her and he rarely loses his temper when she takes two and a half hours just to put her jacket on.

So I always knew what I was going to be up against. As a baby she was a blank piece of paper - more concerned with where her next rusk was coming from than picking a side. I breastfed her for the first year while her Dad went back to work after 2 weeks of paternity leave meaning she was pretty much stuck with me whether she liked it or not. But I knew, deep down, that when the time came and when she began to get that bit more independent, she would most definitely deflect. And deflect she did. I’m not saying my child dislikes me, far from it, but when it comes to her Dad she is his number one fan. When the three of us are in the same room together I barely get a look in. There is a powerful and intimate bond between the two of them that produces feelings of both pride and insecurity in me in equal measure.

After her father and I separated, I would be lying if I were to say that their close connection didn’t scare me a little. During a break-up, all you want to do is protect your offspring from any damage that it could cause. You worry about how living in two separate homes might affect them. You lie in bed at night terrified that no longer being a family may cause some deep-rooted issues. And selfishly, you worry that they might eventually not want to live with you anymore. Despite being told I am being silly, that thought terrifies me more than anyone will ever really understand. When you have a child, all you really care about is making them happy. So if Ava ever did make such a dramatic request then my answer would unequivocally be ‘yes’. It would be ‘do what makes you happy’. I have always taught Ava to respect, love and cherish her father. I will always remind her how much he cares for her and what a powerful ally he is. So if she wanted that then I would support her 100%. But when she wasn’t there the tears would fall and my heart would break.

Thankfully, my insecurities at not being the apple of Ava’s eye are starting to appear a bit irrational and unfounded. Ava is a settled, grounded little girl who has adapted unbelievably well to having two homes. As she is only little I am constantly on the look out for any signs that said living arrangements are causing her any distress and would act in an instant if they were. I am discovering that when Ava gets a row at her Dad’s, she cries for her Mummy, just like she does the opposite with me. She throws herself into my arms when I arrive to pick her up after a few days apart and comes with me both excitedly and readily.  She snuggles into me constantly and tells me how much she loves me and it is me she looks for when an overcrowded soft play brings on a bout of shyness or when she wants a scraped knee kissed better.

Loving anything to a huge degree does not come without some form of fear and insecurity. When you value something to such a huge extent then it would be unnatural not to fear on some level that it might get taken away from you. Luckily for me it turns out that although she might be a bit of a Daddy’s girl at heart, there aren’t any ‘teams’ in Ava’s eyes. And if there were then there would still only be one team of three - with my gorgeous little Daddy’s girl at the helm of it.

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