This morning began with a super-grumpy child, who was determined to whine and grumble about every single thing. From protesting the first diaper change of the day, to refusing to allow himself to be placed in the high chair, I could tell he had definitely woken on the wrong side of the crib.
Every single breakfast choice I offered was met with a high-pitched groan of refusal and an obstinate “No!” Even his usual favorites, like toast (which he would eat for every meal if allowed) and yogurt were shot down. When I held out a fruit puree pouch he even ran to the kitchen door, buried his face in the corner and cried.
I was baffled by this behavior, but he did have vaccinations the day before, and spent part of the night awake and fussing because he felt icky, so I chalked it up to overtiredness combined with the standard 18 month-old stubbornness. I decided to back off him a bit, but was worried about him having no appetite, and my maternal desire for him to have something in his belly was in high-gear.
Just then, my husband emerged from the bedroom, and scooped the emotional child up into a hug. In his deep yet gentle Daddy voice, he brought our son around the kitchen, showing him different food items, and at the sight of the frozen waffles the tantrum was over. He was suddenly agreeable and even said “Gank Ooo!” (Thank You). He allowed himself to be placed in the chair, and happily drank from his cup and munched on the frozen waffle. Perhaps he was doing a little teething, and the cold felt good? Maybe he was remembering when I offered him frozen mini-bagels and waffles as an infant and felt comforted?
Sometimes, when Daddy comes to the rescue like that, I feel a bit guilty at my own inability to solve the puzzle for my child. I wonder why I was incapable, and why it always seems easier for Daddy. When I stop and think about it though, it actually makes me really proud. Proud that my husband is such a good father, and that our son responds so well to him. Proud that the two of them have a special relationship, with their own rhythms and understandings.
This morning I was extra thankful for this man, and his special brand of patience. He not only helped our son find what he needed, but he helped me to re-check my own attitude and find a new approach.