It may be taboo to admit that you have a favorite, or you may insist that the love you have for your children is equal. I would argue that there are shades of truth in the land of favoritism, in the sense that one child can make you laugh in the midst of a tantrum, while the other can melt your heart with a gesture of a pinky. So if I can’t choose between my girls (which I really can’t do), then they should not be allowed to pick a favorite parent.
You might think this talk of favoritism is about The Fun Parent v. The Mean Parent, but it’s not. I can be both of those things. I can also be the Relaxed Parent, the Artistic Parent (if you count stick figures), the Dancing Parent, the Bad Singer Parent, and the Don’t Bother Me Before I’ve Even Smelled the Aroma of Java Parent.
I won’t go so far as to say that Jocelyn has a favorite, but she’s my girl when it comes to waking up in the middle of the night, lounging around for the first fifteen minutes of the morning, and storytime before bed. There was a time when I was her second choice. But then it happened. Aja. And Aja makes it known that she has one true love: Daddy.
The moment that it became clear where Khary fit in the order of Aja’s heart, Jocelyn chose not to play the parent-tug-o-war and snuggled up to me on the couch. Now I know that Aja loves me. She smiles her toothy little underbite smile when she sees me in the morning, she climbs on my lap and throws her arms around me neck for a baby hug, and she grunts and babbles and claps when we toss a ball back and forth. But then Khary comes home, and she forgets I’m in the room. She’ll insist that only he feed her, rock her, and cuddle with her. Some nights that’s okay. If she’s going to fight me, he can have her. Take her. Make googly eyes at one another, I don’t care. I’ll relax and drink my wine or just curl up and go to sleep.
I stopped taking it personally months ago. I just find it humorous that Aja chooses to periodically remind me that I’m second best (or third, if you count her adoration of Jocelyn). The other night she screeched and screamed and fought my efforts to feed her. I stopped, put her down on the floor, and she screeched and screamed some more. So I tried the bottle again, to no avail. Enter Daddy. He picked her up, put her to his chest, and she looked over at me and smiled.
It’s amazing how much her little face speaks to me, even when no words come out of her mouth. Just the other day she got her 15 month shots. Through spilling tears her eyes clearly said, “You bitch. You just let that man stab me in the leg. THREE TIMES!”
I’m sure that she told Khary all about it during their cuddle session that evening.
Do you believe in favorites?