Today was the actual day of Lara's birthday. We woke up and sang her the birthday song, much to her delight, and when it was over she ran to the refrigerator yelling, "Now cake!" So clearly she's figured the integral birthday moment out. Sadly, after the excitement of school and a too-short nap, the day ended up mostly like this:
"Dada! Dada pick-a uppies! Dada pick-a uppies!" (Incidentally, have I mentioned that Lara seems to have somehow picked up the Italian accent of the Italian guy from the Simpsons?) She seems to be quite sick. A mildish cold has turned into a cough that is waking her up at night and making eating difficult. We'll see what he doctor says tomorrow, but I'm guessing we're about to get on the antibiotic express.
Of course, like at any time of even slight displeasure it's been all about Daddy. "Mommy go 'way!" she yells when I approach the couch where she and Misha are sprawled. "Mommy get off!" she demands if Misha and I hug. If I pick her up, there is instant hysterics, "Dada uppies! Dada pick-a up!" It is pretty clear who the favorite parent it - and honestly, it's pretty clear why. Daddy is scarce, but Mommy is a constant. Daddy makes pancakes, while Mommy makes veggies and says no to cookie demands. When Daddy is home he plays and plays, but Mommy is always home and more often than not is cooking or cleaning or doing some other boring thing. It makes sense.
Somehow in my head there is another issue tied into this. Daddy's work is mysterious, and Lara frequently experiences his absence due to it. She might not actually see him doctoring, but she knows the hospital building whenever we drive by - "Dada go wohk in hopital. Dat's Dada's wohk." Mommy works also, but so much more invisibly - after all, my dissertating is done when Lara is in daycare, so she is not actively missing a parent; and crafting is done when she is asleep, since it so heavily features scissors, sharp rules, needles, the need for precision and focus, and other toddler-incompatible things. So many of the things I make are specifically for her, and are for me a huge outlet of affection - but a two year old doesn't know that. Today she picked up the "Close Your Clothes" book and repeated what we had told her about it - "Dis a book Mommy made fo' you!" - but of course this is rote memory, however impressive.
Because she understands none of this, I worry about being a drudge in her perception. But maybe the things that are fun about Mommy will bloom once she is a little older. Let's cross our fingers.