Over the last six months or so I haven’t been apart from Annie for more than a day or two. In that time I’ve changed lots of diapers, prepared tons of baby meals, and watched way too much “Yo Gabba Gabba.” Thankfully, my hard work has paid off. Annie and I are buds, so much so that when Annie gets hurt she sometimes runs to me instead of Heather. When this happens I smile and say, “Aww, I was just closer, Hon. It was no big deal. I promise.” On the inside though I cackle like a madman and think, “Mwahahahaha! Point to Daddy! Daddy is the favorite! Daddy shall rule the world!”
My streak of not being away from Annie for more than a day or two ended last weekend when I went to San Francisco to visit my parents. On the way to the airport I suddenly became overcome with worry that Annie would decide Mommy was WAY cooler than me while I was gone, so as I kissed Heather goodbye I tried to make her promise not to make Annie like her more than me.
Heather just smiled and said, “You’re crazy.”
Then, not half an hour later, Heather texted me this photo:
“What the…?” I thought. “A toy store? I haven’t even got through security and Heather’s already taken her to a freakin’ toy store?!”
I slumped through the metal detector muttering, “That is low, Heather. What do you have planned next? Lunch with Elmo? A trip to Disneyland with the cast of Yo Gabba Gabba?” I was suddenly so surly I’m surprised TSA didn’t flag me as a suspicious person.
Things got better for “Team Daddy” though when, that night, Heather texted to say Annie had been screaming for ten minutes straight and that there was nothing she could do to console her.
“I don’t know what it could be,” I text-lied. “Teething, maybe?”
The truth is I DID know what was ailing little Miss Annie. She was missing her Daddy!
The next morning I woke up to another text that only confirmed Annie had been driven mad with longing for her dear old dad. It read:
“Things are bad here. Annie went behind the couch to poop, took off her diaper, and poop fell everywhere.”
Annie had never done that before (thank goodness). She was CLEARLY acting up because of her absentee father. I started to get cocky and thought, “Girlfriend might as well get a tattoo that reads ‘Annie heart Daddy.'”
Oh, but it got even better. Later I called home and heard Annie hollering in the background while a flustered Heather yelled, “Get down from there!” “Leave Rigby alone!” and “That’s not food!”
The next day on the plane ride home I spent the whole time imagining the incredible reunion that awaited me at the airport. Annie would probably sprint through the baggage claim screaming “Dada! Dada!” as she pushed aside people with tears falling from her face. I would then lift her into the air and embrace her as everyone cheered, clapped, and chanted our names. You know, that or something a little more dramatic.
But the joke was on me. Upon getting to the car Annie not only acted shy like she didn’t know me, but she – daggers in my heart – reached for Heather and cried, “Mama” when I pulled her out of her car seat.
Et tu, baby?
“Aww, I was just close by, Hon,” Heather said. “It was no big deal. I promise.”
“Why is she so attached to you?” I asked. “What happened to her crying and pooping all over the place?”
“It wasn’t all tears and poop. Between those hiccups there were lots of cuddles, hair combing, and girl talk.”
Unbelievable. I go away three days and it’s like everything I ever did went right out the window. As Loudon Wainwright III sang, “In the end every kid wants their mother.”
I’m not giving up though. This week Heather is out of town at BlogHer, and I’m going to go all-out to win Annie back to “The Daddy Side.” I’ve even got a call in to Justin Bieber. So Heather, when the Bieb shows up at our door carrying a life-size Elmo doll in one hand and a “Yo Gabba Gabba” cake in the other, you’re toast.