Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Mini-Male Bonding

I'd waited a long time for a solid male-bonding moment with my son.  Well, at least for most of his now 18-month-old life.

He's been a Mama's boy for a long time.  It's understandable, of course, what with the whole 9-months-in-the-tummy thing, as well as the only-source-of-sustenance thing.  But food-wise, he's been on his own for a while, and all things considered, he's now a pretty darn good, independent eater.

I'd expected more of a connection with him earlier, but it never really came.  Don't get me wrong;  he's a sweet, loving kid, very free with the hugs.  But when there was a serious comforting issue that needed tending, Mommy was the destination, and usually still is.

He'd pop out in a moment of need, take one look at me, then make a beeline for his mother's leg.  It was a rare instance that I'd been able to comfort him completely.

Except at bedtime.  For some reason, he prefers me when it's no longer time to communicate with his family for the day.  I'm great at putting him down.  Mommy at bedtime equals playtime.

I'd had my turn at the kid preference thing, though.  Our now 4-year-old daughter was a Daddy's girl for a long time.  My wife recently reminded me of the time our child raced for me, after Mommy and Daddy returned from a three-day trip without her -- her first significant separation from us.

Now, our daughter seesaws between us equally.  So my wife and I both know what it feels like to be the "chosen one."

So there we all were, one recent day, at a neighborhood park.  Our daughter was playing on the grass with a ball.  I was expecting our son to gravitate toward either her or his Mommy, per usual.  He of course wants to do everything his sister does (which got him walking earlier, but also invades her privacy, as she often points out).  He typically romps with her, then takes a break with Mommy, periodically throwing me a hug or a smile.

But this time, he chose to hang out with me.  He came over and started grabbing and yanking on a nearby chain-link fence, an action that felt very male to me.

It lasted a while, and felt good.  It got me envisioning a classic father-son activity that's sure to come:  tossing a baseball back and forth (though I think I'd prefer it to be a Frisbee).

After about 10 minutes, he went over and stole the ball our daughter was playing with, and we were back to the way playtime usually goes.

But I got those 10 minutes, and it finally felt like there would be a lot more to come.

What have you considered to be a good bonding moment with your child?

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