I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… Nowhere, NOWHERE in the rule book of parenting, does it say that you can’t have a favourite child or that you have to like all of your children, all of the time.
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And if the illusive Parenting Manual does exist and says anything to contradict me, well I will choose to ignore it! I want to like them all the same. I know that I dislike them all equally. Surely that counts for something?
The occasions when the Kindles aren’t charged, it’s time to practice the Ocarina, swimming lessons and homework schedules clash or Baby Annabel is crying as much as an actual new born does… Or worst still your weekends consist of back to back bloody parties… Urgh man. Kids can make or break a weekend!
I often wonder, why a single day can’t go well and without an incident. One day is all I ask. Just one day to go smoothly and without a meltdown (please note the meltdowns are usually mine!). Can you even imagine a whole 24 hours where you’ve not had to count to 3, send someone to the naughty step, or you’ve not have to raise your voice or even as much as an eyebrow? Just imagine you’ve not had the shit irritated out of you with constant tale telling?
It’s unimaginable for me!
Imagine not feeling utterly frustrated for an entire day. I often wonder how many times in a 24 hour period I hear the word ‘Maaaaammeeeeeeee’. I’ll bet next month’s mortgage payment it’s not nearly as much as I say ‘For Fucks Sake’ under my breath, in one day!
Today, the smallest is my favourite. She slept through (rightly bloody so, seeing's she is gone 3), she’s dry day and night with next to no issues and did so as quick as a flash once she decided she wanted to stop wearing a nappy. She jumped up out of bed, smiling as soon as she opened her eyes with a reet chuff on telling me she’s kept her bed dry. Canny little thing she is.
Yesterday my eldest was my favourite, he sang to me and showered me with kisses and cuddles. Absolutely lovely. It was a proper CBeebies parenting moment. It was just like how those liars on TV portray parenting. All be it for 10 minutes, it was perfect.
My 2nd son was my favourite the day before, simply because he told me he loved me which in all fairness is a rarity for him. The gesture was unprompted I hasten to add!! Even though he was our token naughty child, he’s turning into a real sweetheart and a pleasure to be with. Christ I never thought I’d say that about him! I’m thoroughly enjoying his company and our conversations about space, nature and the big wide world. He’s an outdoorsy kid and thrives when he’s up a tree or running with the dogs. He gets this being a kid carry on. He loves to play and is full of energy.
Not last night, but the night before, my eldest daughter came into our bed having had a bad dream and squeezed me so tightly I thought my heart would burst. It still amazes me how much love you can feel for these small people we own! She moulded into me and I could feel her relax, lying in my arms, knowing she was safe and that if I was holding her nothing would try to eat her!
Parenting – it isn’t always shit! Who knew?!
Yet, how come our children, our precious offspring, can piss us off so much?
My kids can get me to the point where I have to walk out of the room in fear of battering them with my new Tefal pan (that’s only because I don’t want to damage my pan rather than them I hasten to add!). As an only child I suppose I’ll never really understand what it’s like to have a brother or sister annoy me. Nor how hurtful being ignored or left out of a game can be. When you’re a kid, your sole purpose is to play and learn through play. To create memories that you can laugh at and reminisce about in years to come. And admit to your parents what actually happened to their favourite vase, or expensive perfume.
It’s understandable how heart breaking it can be when you feel you aren’t included or worst still deliberately excluded. I watch my kids, observe them as it were, and I can see how a comment or a gesture can create World War III, a little face crumbles and yup.. Here we go ... Tears... Bloody wonderful!
All sounds a bit dramatic really doesn’t it? It’s just child’s play, right? It’s like a bad American soap in our house. The drama, the theatrics, the hysteria! Yet they wonder why and seem so confused as to why I end up screaming at them?! After they’ve thrown missiles at one another over the coffee table or tried to lock their sibling in the shed? They’ve shot one another at point blank range with those bloody Nerf guns for the 20th time!
People also wonder why I’m trying to get Pinot Grigio on prescription, well this shit is real! When the shit goes down in my house, the bar gets opened (earlier than normal) – record breaking 3pm last weekend (it was very nearly 2.30pm but I managed to hold my shit together for another 30 minutes)!!!
They’re all unique and lovely in their own way.
If you’re going to press me on the subject then, aye, go on then, they’re ok.
Well, they can be.
They can be as equally nice as they are awful. Each has a talent, a charm, and or a lovely trait unique to them. Each one of them knows, as young as they are, how to play me like a bloody fiddle. They can do me up like a right kipper in a blink of an eye. They know to give me that look that melts me, or sets me off, like a blue light. I love each of them equally overall, but some more than others depending on what day it is, what time they slept until, what they ate, or it could be down to what they played.
You can’t like everyone all of the time, every day… Christ, I don’t like my own company some days let alone anyone else’s!
I’m starting to enjoy the colourful debates with the boys. They’re growing a mile a minute and I revel in a chance to negotiate and compromise over bedtimes, whether or not we should go to the park or which is the most age appropriate video game to play. I love how they tell me that when they move out I’m not allowed to go to their house and they’re going to play / stay up / do whatever they god damn please.
I laughed so hard at the girls, having opened their Baby Annabel from Santa no more than an hour previous one Christmas, they dragging said dolls by the leg behind them asking me, begging me to share the secret as to how to switch them off to stop them crying. I actually, quite cruelly, enjoyed watching their frustrations of trying to look after their little screaming dollies.
I adore it and feel really special when one of them asks for a cuddle or actively seeks my approval. I feel like the kid who was picked first for the sports team back at school. I see that my opinion does actually count for something (sometimes). When one of them asks for me to bunk up so they too can curl up on the bed and watch the television with me, or when they want to help cook lunch, its little moments like this that makes me go all gooey.
I love their innocence, like when my son asked me to buy a back garden to put in our yard so that he can have goal posts, when my youngest asks when our house grows a bit, can she have her own room or maybe bunkbeds!
It’s like parenthood is giving you a reminder that yeah its bloody hard graft but these small people make our lives so much more rich and enjoyable. Yeah of course a bath without an audience or a pee without an interrogation would be nice but in time we’re going to wish they were back at home asking questions like ‘Does Jack frost make ice-cream?’
I don’t think that anyone does have a favourite child in all honesty.
I think each day you’ll have favourite moments with a particular child (bedtime shouldn’t really count either though admittedly, the kids’ being in bed and knowing they’re sound asleep is a bloody lovely feeling!!)
If like me, you have more than one child, I think your favourite or worst moments can blur more than most. You miss bits. You might miss a smile, a glance, a quick quip. Sometimes it’s the small things that make the difference. I actually feel guilty at times not giving each of them the time they deserve to showcase their incredible humour and whit downright cheek, stubbornness, selfishness and all of the other crap they can be good at too.
As I chased my 6yo around the coffee table threatening to send him to bed with no tea, no pudding and no tablet time, whilst my blood pressure rocketed, he stopped mid-flight and gave me the most amazing grin with a twinkle in his eye. Honestly man… That little shit… I melted there and then and all was forgiven and the pair of us started to laugh.
I use the term ‘Don’t sweat the small stuff’ and ‘choose your battles’ frequently. I do this to remind myself of small victories. What could have turned into a tantrum (mine) and tears (mine again) was saved by a glint in the eye and a display of unconditional love and utter frustration. I used to listen to parents like me recalling stories just like that one and think ‘Righto! I’d have tanned his arse and sent him to bed for being so cheeky’.
And then I became a parent… Reality bites! And so, please do try to choose your battles wisely. Relish bedtimes. And try not to send them to bed on an argument. Even if you have to wait until they’re asleep before you can bring yourself to tell them you forgive them and kiss the shit out of the little cretins.
Let’s face it, they can all be as equally awful – no matter who they belong to or how many you might own. That’s why alcohol and Nick Jr were invented. When their favourite programme or film is on or during quiet time in preparation for bed, I kick back and have a good look at the lovely little cretins … sitting there all bright eyed and beautiful… (goes all gooey and Cbeebies parenting on your ass)
So, do I feel that I have a favourite? I’m not fussy, I’ll drink Gin and Vodka