Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Favorite Child

There was a study that came out last week about how parents have a favorite child.  It claims that if you say you don't have a favorite, you aren't being truthful.

I don't know the specifics of the study, but I think like most things that get attention on the news, it is inaccurate and silly.

Here is what I know.  I have favorites.  You bet.  My favorite child is the one that is being a good listener and most importantly, nice to me.

"You are awesome mommy," JT said with a huge smile on his face.  He was my favorite until I realized he was talking about the mommy wii character in golf that he was using for a perfect putt.  

"Let's play like we are prisoners and we have to sweep and clean up before they will let us go," said Lucy after I asked her to clean up the mess in the basement.  A little time intensive, but she was totally my favorite at that moment.

JT came home from school today and just melted into a puddle of "I've got the kindergarten blues" tears.  "I missed Peyton," he said in between sobs.  So, his big brother without me asking took him in his arms and consoled him.

"How was school today JT?" Peyton asked.  "Did you have gym?"  Patting him on his back he kindly told him, "It's going to be okay."

Peyton was my favorite for his moment of compassion.

And whenever Wade dances on the table or makes a crazy face, you better believe he is my favorite.

But just one all the time?  Who likes their kids all the time? 

As a mom, I get blamed for a lot--if the school bus is late (or early), traffic jams, rain on a field trip day, and so many, many things.  If kindergarten sucks you know whose fault that is.  And that is okay.  JT has been not so nice to me since school started and I wouldn't tell people he is my favorite, but that is okay too.  He needs someone that he can let loose and get it out with.  

When Peyton, my oldest, was a toddler he would come home from daycare and just meltdown and have terrible fits.  I apologized the to teachers for his behavior one morning at drop off.  "Oh he doesn't do that here," said one of the sweet teachers who I was starting to hate.  "He is a perfect little angel with us," she added as he ran to her with open arms.  I totally hated her and cried the whole way to work.

That night I scoured the baby/toddler books and found this was a very common problem.  Toddlers feel comfortable and safe with their parents and know they will still be loved even after their horrendous fits. Peyton must feel very, very safe I thought to myself.  Were those my favorite memories?  No way.  But they were important moments for both of us.

Just like the important moments that are just on the horizon.  I can see how teenagers and toddlers are comparable.  Just like Peyton needed that safe place to be a real jerk of a baby, he is going to need that entering these tween years.  Friend trouble, girl trouble, acceptance trouble, school trouble, sports trouble. Ugh.  He may not be my favorite again for like 10 more years.  

I am kidding of course, but I am sure there will be those moments.  Those moments of compassion, humor, helpfulness that make my heart swell with pride and love.

Now those are my favorites.

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