I am sure we’re a disgustingly sappy family to some – we make it a point to say, “I love you” multiple times a day. Clay and I say it to each other, we both say it to Weston and Violet, and Weston never hesitates to toss “I love you, Mommy. I love you, Daddy” into the air, especially when trying soften our frustration with him when he is being punished. Smart kid, that one.
So when I told Weston that I loved him the other day, I was stunned to have him respond, “No. You love Violet. I love Daddy.” My stomach dropped. I was on the couch nursing Violet (my typical daytime position 99% of the time, or so it feels like) so the first thought that ran through my head was, “I haven’t been giving the little guy enough attention. He thinks I love Violet more than him. I am failing as a mother of two. Please oh please don’t let him grow up thinking he is unloved and therefore joins a gang and starts wearing a safety pin in his cheek (obviously I imagined Weston as a late 70’s/early 80’s-era London punk kid in this scenario).” After silently humming a few bars of ‘Anarchy in the U.K.”, I asked Weston why he thought I didn’t love him and why he thinks Mommy only loves Violet.
“Daddy is a boy. I am a boy. You and baby Violet are girls.”
My fears of Weston becoming Johnny Rotten quickly faded with his overly-simplistic three-year-old response. He wasn’t expressing disdain for losing my undivided attention. At that moment in time, he was just assigning some arbitrary rule (as preschoolers tend to do) to gender and love. Like many other parents, I tend to overcomplicate things and forget to look at the world sometimes through the eyes of young children. And like 99.9% of all older siblings, Weston is not going to experience any lasting effects by losing his only child status. He is going to be just fine. We’re going to be just fine.