For some time now, Oli, at twenty one months, has been consumed with Daddy Love. This is a love that cries 'Nooo', like a character in slow motion trying to prevent someone falling off a cliff, as Daddy leaves for work every morning. It is a love that careers full tilt into Daddy's knees when he returns at the end of the day. It is a love that whispers his name at the slightest hint of his presence, a foot on the step, a key in the door; 'Da-dee?' it asks in hushed tones that I have only otherwise seen him reserve for diggers.
Quite remarkably my four year old still loves me and tells me so with urgent spontaneity. He tells me 'You're my best friend' and asks if I'm his best friend too. Sometimes he tells me he loves me and then asks if I can make the lego loader that's too complicated for a four year old's dexterity. Sometimes he tells me he loves me and asks for ice-cream. But often he just sidles up to me and says 'I love you Mummy' and it seems to come from nowhere. I know it will not last. When I pitched up at his school last month during circle time, the friend next to him nudged him and said, 'Aren't you excited, your mom's here?' It was the time I brought cupcakes for his birthday. He was grinning as he looked at me and while his friend spoke to him, but then he turned back to his friend, shrugged, and carried on listening to the circle time story. No, it cannot last and it seems Oli's 'Mummy stage' too may already be over.