Over the past six months, the Peanut has been treating me as if I were the living embodiment of Christmas, Elmo, and an all-you-can-eat ice cream buffet.
When she woke up in the morning, she demanded that I be the one who got her out of the crib, changed her diaper, and dressed her. When she hurt her knee at the playground, it was me that she always came running to. When she was hungry, only I was allowed to prepare her dinner and feed her. And every day, all she ever wanted to do was hang out with me.
Man, is there any greater feeling than the complete and unadulterated love of a child? I was on top of the world.
While I felt badly for the BossLady, I couldn't help but take some pleasure and satisfaction from the fact that the Peanut's universe revolved around me. In some way, I felt that this was perfectly natural and actually SHOULD be the state of things.
After all, I was the one who came home early every day to play with the Peanut. I was the one who read to her before bath time. I was the one who made all the fun bubbles in the tub. And I was the one who cooked her meals and fed her every night. Why shouldn't I be her favorite parent? It made perfect sense to me.
Internet...those days are over!
Right now, the Peanut's sun, moon and stars all revolve around the BossLady. It's mama THIS or mama THAT. Without a doubt, mommy is the new and improved center of the Peanut's universe and she wants absolutely nothing to do with daddy any more. All of sudden, I'm like the bubonic plague. Now, she actually pushes me out of the way so that she can go hug and kiss the BossLady!
The whole transition occurred so quickly, I'm not even sure what happened. My head is still spinning from the demotion.
The hardest part of dealing with my recent change of status is the fact that I am a seriously competitive bastard. I don't like being second in anything. To quote the famous faux-Nascar philosopher Rickey Bobby, "If you ain't first, you're last."
Now, I'm man enough to admit that I was filled with jealousy, confusion, envy, bitterness and bewilderment that I had suddenly been displaced as the Peanut's #1 fan. When the fuck did they send out THAT memo? Man, this was horrible! I didn't like these new feelings at all and I was ready to break out ALL the tricks to remedy the situation quickly...giant piles of chocolate chip cookies, huge fountains of strawberry milk, unlimited quantities of Elmo juice. Hell, I even started surfing the internet to try and find the nearest pony dealer.
Thankfully, I regained my senses. After all, if parenthood has taught me anything, it's that everything I do is for the benefit of my daughter. So, once again, I realized that I needed to change my perspective and alter my way of thinking. I couldn't allow my sense of competitiveness to manifest itself. If I followed that evil path, I'd end up doing something destructive like bribing the Peanut for her affections (a path I definitely didn't want to go down.) I also couldn't allow bruised feelings or parental snubs to alter my opinions, my emotions, or my feelings about her. If I couldn't handle her little baby snub now, how would I deal later when she's an obnoxious teenager chucking telephones at me and yelling that I'm "the world's worst father?" Clearly, I needed to get a better emotional perspective on things.
Besides, it wasn't that long ago that BossLady had been in MY shoes. And, sure, I tried to understand what my lovely wife was saying about not feeling loved by the Peanut. It's just that, like going to watch the Knicks play, you don't really know how horrible the situation is until you see for yourself.
Of course, I probably didn't help matters for the BossLady by constantly running around the apartment with the Peanut on my shoulders yelling, "I'm #1! I'm #1!"
However, there was an instance last week when I had a true moment of clarity. The Peanut, once again, snubbed me and quickly ran over to give the BossLady a giant two-handed neck hug (always the best kind.) Then, the Peanut planted a big, wet, sloppy kiss on the BossLady's cheek. As I witnessed the two of them sitting together, holding hands and singing, I saw a look of sheer joy on my beautiful wife's face that I'd never seen before. It seemed as if every fiber of her being had been filled with the rapture that came from knowing that the Peanut's universe now revolved around her and that her daughter really, truly loved her! The moment may have only lasted for a nanosecond but I immediately knew, right there and then, that not only would I never again try to compete for my daughter's affections but also that I would do anything in the world to see that look of joy on my wife's face forever.
Hell, I would die to see that look on her face forever.
Anyway, like my man L.L. Cool J says, I know I'll be back on top sometime again. Besides, as they say in the fashion biz, everything old eventually comes back in style again at one point or another.
Ahhh...fuck it! Have fun, BossLady and Peanut. If you need me, I'll be on the couch.