I have a favourite child. There I said it. At any given point of time one of my kids is my favourite, I just can’t tell you who because in about 10 minutes that’ll change and I’ll be forced to pick one of the others as my favourite. My favourite kid is ever changing. And there might even be a point in the day when I actually like them all equally or not at all. I am fickle like that. I’ve got to keep them on their toes. You see once one of my kids know they’re my favourite they’ll try and milk it. They know with a simple sweet smile or an “I love you” that I’ll let them have a sneaky chocolate or extra time on the iPad. I’m a pushover. So, I like to make a point of switching it up.
To be my favourite it helps to eat your dinner and let me brush your hair without screaming. You go right to the top if you scratch my back or give me a foot massage, but this is rare. Sometimes I’d happily accept a quick game of “guess what I’m drawing on your back” but that requires a bit work on my behalf, you know guessing and all. Generally, it doesn’t take much to be my favourite – a kiss, a cuddle, a funny joke, smart wit, successful sneakiness, trying hard at something, overcoming fear or simply sleeping with that overwhelmingly gorgeous look of serenity on your beautiful face.
My kids are seriously all my favourite, but as I have been forced to say on a couple of occasions: “I might not like you very much at the moment, but I will always love you for eternity”. Kids are hard work sometimes and life is not always happy families, but you never love them less.
We play this game at home where we have to rate the favourite members of our family. These lists change from kid-to-kid and day-to-day, but we do it mainly because I want to reinforce a few things to them. Firstly, I want them to remember that our family is a strong unit and, no matter what’s happening on any given day, we’ve always got each other. Secondly, it helps them realise that you have days when certain people annoy you and you can change you order around. Thirdly, it gives them some power to blow off some steam at us, their parents. They switch our order around depending on who is playing the role of “good” parent and “bad” parent on any given day. And lastly, and this is the most important point, – I’ve told all the girls they must always put themselves first on the list. They must always be their most favourite person in the world. Self-love is vital for a happy life.
I do the same when I catch my girls looking at their reflection in the mirror. I tell them to remember that it’s what’s inside that counts and that it’s your brain and heart and actions that matter most, not what you look like. And then I get them to kiss themselves in the mirror because, frankly, they are awesome.
They’ll always be my favourite girls of all time, to the moon and back and around the entire universe a squillon times into infinity.
* This post was first published on Kidspot. It was my second challenge post as a finalist in the Personal and Parenting category of the Voices of 2014 competition. You can read the first challenge here.