L’Homme is home. That is, he’s not away touring for an entire week, but every other day he does a training course down in Montélimar. He gets home around 5pm, to the joy of all three of us. Ah, that good ole’ Daddy energy. Unshackled by the repetitiveness of our daily routine and yet another meal to wipe off the high-chair, he bowls on in and swoops us all off our feet, creating massive destruction, noise and untidiness but oh such fun and larks. He has had enough of eating out in restaurants and enjoying lush 4-star hotel breakfasts (aahh, poor him) and instead wants to cook, cook and cook again. Thick vegetable soups and purées and sausages and apple pies. He even cleans the kitchen up afterwards. It positively sparkles. He has missed changing Léonie’s pooey nappies, so leaps up whenever the occasion arises and whisks her off to the bathroom. He even de-snots her nose; something he never dared do when Tommy was a baby for fear of sucking his brain out of his nostrils. He is SuperDaddy. He is such a SuperDaddy that that is all Léonie says now he’s home.
She uses it to call him, to call me, Tommy, Baloo the dog, and whatever is on the telly or on her spoon. But mostly to call her Daddy. DAAAAAAA DEEEEEEEEE! Her vague mumblings of Mamammamamama or YAYEEY! (which is what she calls me – pardon – what she used to call me) are no longer. The only word she says now – loudly – is DAAAAA DEEEEEEEEEE. And it is driving me mad.
WHO does 95% of all the loving, cuddling, changing, bathing, dressing, undressing, cooking, feeding, playing, comforting, kissing, reading, walking, carrying, soothing, singing, putting to bed and getting up in the night? Not to mention 100% of the breast-feeding? ME. MUMMY. NOT DADDY. MUMMY. And I am beginning to feel quite miffed about the fact that I am clearly not as interesting as Daddy.
Yesterday I was sick. Literally. Some sort of tummy bug that knocked me out for the day and left me lying in bed with parched lips and a blue washing-up bowl by my bed. As I lay there shivering and hating the entire world I could hear Léonie calling out over and over again DAA DEEE! DAAAAAA DEEEEEEEEE! And SuperDaddy would reply “Oui! J’arrive, ma belle.” And I felt quite redundant. The kids had barely noticed I wasn’t around, they were having such fun with SuperDaddy. The cold weather broke and the sun came out so they all went out to play in the garden, for the first time in 2 weeks, whooping and laughing together. The smell of sausages wafted up into our bedroom and made me feel even worse. I wondered when, and if, Léonie would want to see me. Having spent the last 2 weeks hankering for some ‘me’ time, I now had it but was too ill to enjoy it, plus I wanted my little baby girl to come and see me. She did eventually miss me – just around naptime – so we had a cuddle and I gave her a feed and she was out for the count. “Great” I thought. “So I’m a milk bar. She only wants to see me for her milk fix. That’s all I am. A milky, comfort thing.”
It always amazes me how bleak things look when I am ill.
Today I am better, if a bit wobbly and only capable of eating small bits of toast. L’Homme is away on his training course. Léonie has called me “Yayyeee” a couple of times and she is very affectionate, but as SOON as L’Homme walks back through the door I can bet what little I have in my bank account that she will be shouting DAAAAA DEEEEEEEE all evening. I am not sure how to deal with my jealousy. Because that’s what it is, if I’m honest, sheer jealousy that I am not Number One ALL the time, like I was with Tommy. L’Homme reckons it’s the father-daughter relationship phenomenon. Yeah, yeah, whatever. I am loathed to accept that even though I do so much of the parenting, he should reap more of the rewards. Quite frankly, it’s just not fair. I know I am being childish. I know that Léonie loves me. I WOULD JUST LIKE HER TO SAY MUMMY.
Ah, I can hear her waking up. Off I go. I am going to repeat Mummymummymummymummymummymummymummymummy non-stop all afternoon until she is brainwashed.