Back in October I asked for advice on my then 19 month old son not wanting anything to do with me at bedtime. Well, he is now 22 months and it has only gotten worse. Since September he has refused to "allow" me to put him to bed. He would run away from me and cry, but it has progressed to screaming and sobbing. I am the primary caregiver and work 3 days a week. When I am at work he spends one day with my MIL and the other two with my husband. He is a real daddy's boy.
I have been trying to keep things in perspective. After talking with my mom and sister as well as close friends and women on this sight I have been trying to let this "phase" pass, but it feels like it has been forever and a day. My mom advised me to just put him to bed even if he's crying. The few times I did that he sobbed himself to sleep. The way he acts when I try to pick him up for bedtime is like I'm a stranger looking to hurt him and it really breaks my heart. He still calls me "dada" and thinks it is funny, so we started correcting him by saying "No, my name is 'mama'". The kicker is that he calls my MIL (with whom I do not have the closest relationship) "Ga" or "Gaga". He literally squeals when she comes over. He squeals and yells "Dada" when my husband comes home or when he hears his ringtone on my phone. When I come home from work he runs away from me laughing. I understand he is just playing coy, but I'm at the point where I feel like if I didn't come from work he wouldn't even notice.
It used to be that if my husband was working late or had a hockey game our son would be fine with me putting him to bed. It was only when he had the choice that he refused me, every time. However, tonight hubby was at a hockey game and our son cried when I said we were going to read a story and sobbed "dada". He continuously refused to snuggle with me in his chair (part of our routiune) so I finally just put him in his bed and walked out. I gave him a few minutes to jump up and down before I went back in and gave him the option to snuggle. He said "yes" but refused to kiss me goodnight. I cried in the darkness as the glider went back and forth. Ugh.
Did I mention my son doesn't want me to comfort him when he falls or gets sick? He only wants daddy. The other day MIL was at the house when I got home from work and he fell and smacked his head on the hardwood floor. I scooped him right up, even though he was trying to get to my MIL to comfort him. Totally tore my heart out.
The other day my husband mentioned that he feels like our son plays more rough with me than with him. He slaps/bites me when he's frustrated and has rarely done that to my husband (shocker). He has neve done that to my MIL. She has said to me "Oh he's NEVER done that to me". Sometimes I wish he would just slap her in the face so she'll stop saying that. I've been told he could be doing that to me because he isn't talking very much yet and because he feels safe with me. It's really anyone's guess at this point.
I don't know any other woman going through what I am going through right now. Recently I've gotten many responses of "That's so unusual because most of the time toddlers want mommy". Good grief! Talk about an answer that makes you feel like crap. Not only is that response completely isolating, but it makes me feel like a bad mom. My husband and family are constanting reassuring me that I'm an awesome mom.
Damn! I hate feeling this way now and am looking for some "I've been there too" advice. I'm beginning to think this perfect storm is the reason I feel the need to overeat chocolate and drink a glass or two of wine every night, but maybe that's just motherhood ;-)
Per my suggestion, I put him to bed tonight and will continue doing every other night and see if that helps. Tonight he cried "Dada" about 4 or 5 times. I told him he was with Mommy and he was safe and that Daddy was just in the next room and there was no reason to cry, so he calmed down. I've been advised to just allow him to choose my husband over me at bedtime, and I was comfortable with doing that and waiting out the phase, but now that he refuses me when hubby is out it has become an issue.
As a side note, I told my husband that on the days I work I'm not coming home and cooking dinner. I'm going to get on the floor and play with our son and give him my full attention when I get home.
Thanks for reading!