My Toddler Plays Favorites, But I Kind of Love It!

My Toddler Plays Favorites, But I Kind of Love It!

Is it a bad thing to secretly love being your kid’s favorite parent?

By Nicole Fabian-Weber

Whenever I hear a loud thud that sounds like my toddler daughter has just fallen in the other room, I know exactly what I'm going to hear a few seconds later. "Maaaaammmmmaaa!" Regardless of who is there, my daughter always immediately runs to me when she's hurt or scared and gives me her tightest hug as she cries into my shoulder. And I can't deny the fact that, even though it's kind of immature, I secretly love it.

I, of course, don't love my little girl getting hurt, but I do love that I'm ... well ... I'm her favorite. I'm sure this is mainly because I spend more time with her than anyone else -- and I'm sure it will change at some point (sob!) -- but, for now, this is what it is, and I'm going to enjoy the heck out of it.

Now, don't get me wrong, there are a few not-so-awesome things that come with being the favorite parent. For one, my daughter will have more intense temper tantrums for me than anyone else, and I often get requested to deal with any and all poop-related situations, regardless of who else is home. But I don't care. There are few things sweeter (or more flattering!) on this earth than a toddler who wants you.

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If my little girl wakes up in the middle of the night, "Mama?!" is the first thing she'll say. I love that she equates me with comfort and knows that I'm always here for her. If she and my husband (who, yes, she adores, as well) return home from an errand, one of the first things out of her mouth is, "Where's Mama?" I love that she misses me. If she learns a new trick or super awesome dance move and I'm not in her eyesight, she'll say, "Mama, look! Watch me!" I love that she wants me to share in her joy.

I do feel a little guilty, and quite frankly, petty, feeling this way. After all, what kind of example does wanting to be the favorite set for my daughter? But I just can't help it. I'm assuming there will come a time when we clash (high school, anyone?), so I'm just soaking this up as much as I can right now. And I won't deny it: This is a phase that will definitely be missed.

While there are parenting duties my husband is much better at, I like to think that I sort of "get" my daughter in a way that no one else does. I can tell how she's feeling simply by looking at her. I know when she feels vulnerable or sad or super excited, and I can interact with her accordingly. To put it another way: I'm around her so much that I've been able to do a lot of trial and error with her. I know exactly what I should do and what I shouldn't and when -- and she knows and likes that.


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Before I had kids, I would have been shocked to learn that I was going to be a person who loved being my child's "preferred parent." It sounds so silly and juvenile. But now that I've experienced it, to put it bluntly: It's kind of the best.

The other day, when my family was driving home from a barbecue, my daughter asked me if she could hold my hand from the back seat. The position we had to be in to do so was incredibly awkward, and to be honest, uncomfortable, but I wasn't about to say no to such an adorable request. A few moments went by, and my arm felt like it was going to fall off. I was just about to pull it away, but then my sweet girl looked at me and said, "Mama? I love holding your hand," and I completely melted.

Because, truth be told, I love holding her hand -- but, more so, I love holding her heart.

How do you feel when your toddler plays “favorites”?

Nicole Fabian-Weber is the mama to a toddler girl and a baby boy. She lives outside of NYC and writes for The Stir and numerous other online publications. Right now, she’s probably fantasizing about sleep.

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