It’s obvious by now I can’t count on my memory as the useful knowledge-servant it once was, but I’m pretty sure that Dylan is much more snuggly than Riley used to be when he was the same age. Riley was Exceedingly Suspicious Of All Things, as some of you may recall. He’d reluctantly come in for a hug, but first had to furrow his brow and scan his surroundings for any objects that required his glare-services.

Dylan, on the other hand, loves to be cuddled. Well, when he’s not throwing a fit and furiously attempting to bash you over the head with a soup ladle, that is. His obsessive activity of late is to snatch up a picture book and come bustling over, saying “Mo’? Mo’?” (more) before turning himself around and plopping his hind end into one of our laps in order to nestle in and and yell “DAH!” over the photo of the Dalmatian for the frillionth time.

He also loves to be picked up and held, and he often squirms around to tuck his arms underneath his chest while lying flat with his little chin resting on one of our shoulders. It’s no easy feat to carry him around like this, since he has the curious ability to exponentially increase his density every millisecond he’s not touching the ground, but aside from the agonizing tendinitis it’s quite pleasant.

He runs in at top speed for hugs, and will even plant gooey, slobbery kisses upon request. I’d say he’s a lover, not a fighter, but uhhh . . . let’s just say he’s ambidextrous in those arenas.

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If this is your first time at Baby Fight Club, you have to fight. With the base of the sofa. Using your head.

Dylan maybe prefers his father a little, but not so much so that it smashes my heart with a mallet, the way it was when Riley was little. I think the worst of Riley’s daddy preference happened when he was around 2-2.5 years old, so there’s still plenty of time for Dylan to decide—hopefully temporarily— that I’m a piss-poor JB substitute, but dear god, I sure hope we skip that stage this time.

If it’s true we tend to bury or sugarcoat our memories of the worst parenthood moments, the part of my brain that contains data of that painful rejection phase didn’t get the memo to do so, because I can remember it all too clearly. What a suckfest that was, having my own child howl in dismay when I picked him up, his little arms stretching beseechingly for his father. If you’ve ever endured a stage like this, you have my deepest sympathies, and the feeble yet heartfelt statement that this awful period will in fact come to an end, and balance will be restored. If the situation is reversed in your household—if your child only wants you—let me tell you something, don’t offer your story to someone who’s living the opposite scenario. I say this with kindness and the knowledge that you’re just trying to help, but no, you DON’T know how the other shoe feels. I’m sure it also sucks to have a child suction-cupped to your body all day long, a child who refuses Daddy’s loving embrace in favor of following you around sobbing to be picked up, but oh man, it’s just not the same. I’d rather be preferred than rejected any day—wouldn’t we all?

Who knows what stages lie before us, but I’m hoping Dylan’s equal-opportunity lovebug nature hangs around for a while. Right now my lap is as good as JB’s, and perhaps even more encouraging, it seems equally satisfactory to rabbit-kick either one of us in the stomach, Houdini-death-style, during a diaper change. I’ll take that.

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