It’s 5 pm and the back door opens. Both little boys’ heads turn and their faces light up. “DADDY!” they squeal as they bolt across the kitchen to throw themselves into his open arms. Sound familiar? No, me neither.
Though this scenario has perhaps happened once or twice in the Watts home, the more realistic one would include Justin walking in to the sounds of a whining Luke, who does usually go toddling across the floor towards him, but with a look of pure desperation on his face rather than glee. He’s usually crying because his brother has taken yet another toy from him. But it isn’t long till he’s reaching for me again.
James on the other hand, likes to greet his dad with a harsh resounding “Go away Daddy!” or “Go back to work Daddy, I want Mommy.” Talk about a warm welcome.
I have no doubt this is a “stage” that may, perhaps, last into adolescence. I have heard the stories of “mama’s boys” from many an empathetic mother or grandmother, but it breaks my heart to see our boys treat their dad with such disdain. And it’s usually when I’m at the end of my rope, frazzled from a long day of dealing with tantrums, teething and toilet training that these kids decide that they want nothing more in the world than to hang (literally) on my leg rather than go to their daddy.
I recently heard someone compare a toddler to a schizophrenic, paranoid person with multiple-personality syndrome. I have spent many a day walking on eggshells with these kids, not quite sure whether they’re going to scream or smile next. One second they’re losing their minds in a fit on the floor, and then they’re up asking what’s for dinner. I have felt myself going crazy, and when I know that Justin is on his way home, I become like a starved hostage about to be rescued from his captor. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my children. I would do anything for them, but there are days that I literally need to be rescued.
So here’s where the hero steps up. Despite the fact that he too has had a long hard day and has just been welcomed with the equivalent to a smack in the face, he somehow rallies, picks his heart up from the floor, puts on a mischievous smirk, whispers “I’m gonna get youuuuu” and proceeds to chase those boys around the house till they’re doubled over, giggling and exhausted.
He has, and always will be, my knight in shining armor.
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 2-year-old James and almost 1-year-old Luke.