I’m the favourite child. With just four words I have made sure that my sisters, mother and other assorted relatives are already reading this. Who would do something that click-baity though?
Most parents won’t tell you they have a favourite, it would ruin the careful equilibrium of any family. You never see Kris telling Khloe that Kendall is her favourite (I need to stop reading the Daily Mail).
Now that I have two children this is a trap I need to avoid falling into. After this ‘news’ report (albeit from a publication that claims wine both prevents and causes cancer) it did make me think how the ideal of treating all my children equally is likely to fail as it is to be unfair.
To begin with one commentator pointed out how the term ‘favourite’ was not really an accurate way of ranking your children. If someone was to ask me for my favourite meat I would say steak, but my favourite food is a bacon sandwich. To make it more confusing I’m not overly fussed about a steak sub. How can bacon not be my favourite flesh, but tops the overall list.When you look at lists of best albums they very rarely contain best songs. So it is with children.
At the moment Feliciraptor would be my ‘favourite’ in the sense of the one I want to spend most time with. That’s mostly because A-Rex is a pooping pile of fuss, when you have the choice between curdled diapers or reading a Mr Men story I will happily go with Mr Nosey.
This makes me worried that I spend too much time with my daughter to the detriment of my son. To compensate I try to spend as much time as I can with him, but is this then pushing the little lady to one side. Without one of those chess clocks to equally divide my time betwixt the two.
I will fail to treat them equally not only because of the time I spend with them, but they will become two very different individuals. There will be times when I like one more than the other, but one will never be loved more.
If one child grows up to be England Men’s Cricket captain and the other the Women’s team leader I won’t view them any differently, the same if one is a batsman and the other an offspin bowler. Each will have different strengths and different needs, just as me and my sisters demand from our parents varying levels of attention.
This is why treating them equally will not be fair, they won’t require the same attitude of parenting. A-Rex is a much chiller infant than Feliciraptor was, and if this extends through childhood and beyond then we can’t be the same with him as his sister.
As they get older we will not tell them we don’t have favourites, instead we’ll tell them that there are times when we want chicken and times when we want lamb.
I’m still the bacon sandwich though.