Is it OK to have a favourite child ?
Is it possible to have a favourite? Anything is possible I suppose, but a favourite. Surely not.
Or so I thought .
“Who do u want to put to bed tonight. Max or Zak ?” my wife asked
The speed of my response had the Olympic drug committee on their toes
“Max” came rocketing out my mouth. I stopped what I was doing.
Wow that was quick, do I really have a favourite.
I don’t have to answer that. I know the answer.
There are no favourites. Loving one more than the other. Not in my family.
I wonder if it’s one of those sub-conscious don’t-go-there questions that pop into a parent’s head at some point. If you had to pick one in a life or death situation which one would it be.
I don’t allow myself to go there, it’s the kind of insane scenario that could turn you insane. A thought process that sends shivers down my spine and brings tears to my eyes at the very thought of it.
Yes, one day one child might be more irritating than the other, or one of them might be in a particularly bad mood, but it’s swings and roundabouts. One also may be more loving than the other on any given day.
The kids often ask me;
“dad, which drawing is better”, or “who do you like better”
and I always answer the same.
“I will not pick one, I love you both exactly the same”.
“Oh da-ad just pick one”.
Maybe the question is not really about favourites. Perhaps it’s about division of time, equality of love, and avoidance of angst. I love my children equally and unconditionally. (even though their love for me is dependent on whether they get ice cream for desert). Is it ok for me to favour spending time with one over the other? I think so, as long as I make up that quality time with the other.
Taking one child bowling or swimming when the other is at a party is a great way to connect and engage. These are some of the best times, uninterrupted talks, sushi and treats and a bonding between father and son.
As I worked through my inner demons of being a terrible father by favouring Max over Zak I came to the conclusion that the speed of my response was simply because Zak and I had been clashing over the past few days and we just needed a break from each other.
I did not end up putting Max to bed that night. During our nightly game of Uno Max showed some unsportsmanlike conduct and received a one game penalty. It was to cost him the match. As I strutted my pouting Mick Jagger-like victory dance around the house declaring myself Monday night champion, Max became Mad Max. He quickly became the 2nd favourite child, within an hour of being the favourite.
I said to them just before they went to bed. “Boys you used to wake up and come into our bed for cuddles. You have not done that for a long time. Can you do that tomorrow, even for 2 minutes.”
“yes” said Zak with a beaming smile ”but what if I forget” his eyes welling up.
“You won’t forget”.
The following morning I get 5 minutes of the best cuddles from Zak.
I definitely prefer that child………this morning.