Dealing with a toddler cling-on

The title is perhaps a little cruel – Scrip isn’t being a nuisance (well, no more so than you’d expect from a 16 month-old) and of course I love being close to her – but not necessarily physically attached at all times, and at the exclusion of everyone else.

photoEveryone else isn’t strictly true – as well as wanting to be near me at all times, she’s also very drawn to my mum and my sisters, in that order, but not so much to my main supporter, her joint-number one fan and 50% of her gene pool: Daddy. I’m sure it’s the most natural thing in the world and I’m also sure it’s ‘just a phase’ (as are so many baby behaviours), but it doesn’t stop it from being tough – particularly for my husband, who’s just as keen and excited to see and play with her as he ever has been.

It’s not just that she looks for Mummy every time she falls over – which, judging by the little criss-crossing scars all over her knees, is all the time – I’m also the only one she wants to pick her up, read to her, feed her and play posting little shapes into holes with. ‘Do you want Daddy to help?’ is often met by a dramatic shake of the head and a grimace.

So, what should we do? Although I love spending weekends as a three, I do think it helps when my husband and Scrip spend time together, alone. Most Saturdays when we’re at home they pop out for a morning walk in the park, via the cafe, of course, which also gives me some time to have a shower without feeling like I’m washing against the clock.

And two evenings a week my husband will do the Scrip pick up. Sometimes, although I want to rush back to join them as well, I know that if I leave them together for a while she’ll turn to him for a bedtime story rather than defaulting to me. Once or twice we’ve also said that she can have a final story read by Daddy or go to bed, and that also does the trick (it’s amazing that she can understand bribery already…)

But when we’re all together, I’m always the go-to parent. Although I wouldn’t swap having my favourite little girl contentedly sitting on my lap, reading a story or balanced on my hip sucking her thumb, there are also disadvantages to being the chosen one.

She’ll happily try and drag me up from any comfy chair whenever she feels like it, wrapping her tiny fingers around mine and leading me towards an activity she wants me to join in with (or, increasingly, towards the fridge, which is her new favourite ‘toy’). And this is what I remind my husband when he’s happily relaxing, without fear of disturbance, and I’m following a tiny person around our home at her whim.

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