I am pleased to introduce you to this week’s Whiteboard Wednesday guest blogger, Irene Karras. Irene is a Calgary-based communications specialist, pop-culture critic and writer. She has a Masters in Communications Studies from the University of Calgary, which she lords over her children when they dare question her yelling. She blogs at Misplaced My Sassy and tweets at @irene_karras.
Playing Favourites (a.k.a. getting played)
It’s the noise mostly.
No one mentioned just how loud three kids would be, and just how tiring so much noise pollution was. There were warnings of course: “Three’s a crowd”; “The third wheel”; “Bad things come in threes.” Sure, there were threesomes, which some people apparently find fun, and of course the Holy Trinity is a miraculous example of threes getting along, but these were exceptions. Threes often just don’t seem to work.
My three kids are generally pretty awesome except when they are fighting, which is constantly, which means they’re generally not that awesome a lot of the time. But they’re mine, and I love them fiercely. And I love them equally. Of course I do! It’s a horrible mother that shows overt favouritism towards one child. Like Mommie Dearest horrible. Like future psychiatrist’s pay-dirt horrible.
I read an article before I became a parent about a dying mother who wrote each of her three children a letter confessing that he was her favourite, but swearing them to secrecy. “That’s nice,” I remember thinking. “How nice to leave each one feeling so loved.”
Mine would bust me before the will was even finished being read. The middle child – finally vindicated! – would lord it over the oldest (who always has to do everything!) and the baby (who’s always last!). They would in turn whip their letters out and eventually someone’s hair would get ripped out while someone else would get a bleeding nose and sooner or later everyone would end up a sweaty, snotty hot mess of rage and repressed inferiority complexes.
So, I try not to play favourites.
Except for that one time when we were in a busy mall at a busy time of year being busy and the whining and shoving and name-calling were getting to me. My older children begged for popcorn and ice cream and Lego. I ignored them. Then my youngest quietly demanded French fries. I knew this tone. I knew he would lose it if he didn’t get those fries and then I would lose it and everyone would lose it and the day would just be utterly lost with nothing accomplished and I’d just have to put everyone through it again next week. I couldn’t do this again next week! So, I said yes to the French fries.
Thus began the refrain: “Why does he always get everything he wants? Why don’t we ever get anything we want? It’s not fair, it’s not fair, it’s not fair. Why does he get French fries?!”
I heard myself coldly reply:
The elderly couple in line next to me was aghast. The new mother with her one sleeping fat baby was appalled. The seasoned mom with three kids laughed out loud and high-fived me.
The older children were momentarily stunned into silence. And then: “No really, Mama, why why why why…”
I bought them all French fries. Of course I did.
How many kids in your family?
Did your parents play favourites?